Alex Smith has led the 49ers to a 15-3 regular season record since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach before the 2011 campaign. Much of Smith’s success has been attributed to Harbaugh, who has helped the 49ers quarterback become one of the league’s most efficient players under center.
Chase Stuart of FootballPerspective.com analyzed advanced statistics and metrics of Smith’s season along with other NFL quarterbacks of the past and concluded that Harbaugh had similar years during his NFL playing career. Stuart specifically looks at Smith’s low interception rate among other things, noting, “Since Harbaugh came to town, Smith has a 93.6 passer rating, the 7th best mark of any quarterback over that time frame.”
Today’s Morning Tailgate also features a look back to yesterday’s show of 49ers support from the San Francisco Giants and more.
Jaymee Sire of Comcast Sports Net Bay Area spoke to Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo about his Aldon Smith jersey and his love for the 49ers. Romo: “I know it’s not an Alex Smith jersey, but Aldon, you’re the man as well. Either way, got to show support. They love us and we love them. I’ll tell you what, we back you guys up all the way.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks down the 11-85 connection between Alex Smith and tight end Vernon Davis. Sando: “Davis has caught 29 of Smith’s 72 career scoring passes. The percentage (40.3) is the highest for any NFL tandem since 2001 (minimum 20 TD connections).”
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle discusses Alex Smith’s impressive stretch of throwing passes without an interception and where it ranks historically. Branch: “The 49ers quarterback still needs 143 passes without a pick to break Tom Brady’s all-time record and 62 passes to surpass Rich Gannon and break into the top five.”
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee analyzes the benefits of the 49ers staying in Ohio for a week in between games. Barrows: “There’s something to be said for the camaraderie that builds when a team stays at the same hotel, eats at the same restaurant, has beers at the same bar over a week, players said. There’s also a circadian advantage to this approach in that the longer the players stay in the central (Minnesota) and then eastern (Ohio and New York) time zones, the more adjusted they’ll be to the kickoff against the Jets.”
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com also discussed the week-long trip to the Midwest. Maiocco: “The 49ers’ ties to Ohio date back to 1977 when Youngstown shopping mall developer Edward DeBartolo Sr. purchased the 49ers and put his son, Edward Jr., in charge of the day-to-day operations. Denise DeBartolo York was an equal co-owner, though she remained far from the spotlight until she and her husband, John York, took control of the 49ers in 2000.”
Maiocco also looked at Kyle Williams’ role on the 49ers as the team’s top slot receiver. Maiocco: “Williams has been on the field, along with Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, whenever the 49ers go with three wide receivers. He is considered the team’s best fit as a slot receiver.”
Dave Feldman of Comcast Sports Net Bay Area spoke to 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs as he tries to return from his preseason injury. Jacobs: “I’m living and I’m on a good football team. Just trying to get healthy before I go out there. … I’m just taking it day-by-day.”
Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group lists 10 things to take note of this weekend when the 49ers travel to Minnesota. Inman: “The 49ers lead the all-time series against the Vikings 22-21-1. Neither team has posted a shutout, and the Vikings have never been shut out in 246 all-time games inside Mall of America Field.”
Branch looks at the stingy 49ers run defense. Branch: “In season-opening games against the pass-first Packers and Lions, the 49ers mostly played either dime (six defensive backs) or nickel (five) defense, which left them at least a man short up front. Still, they rank sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (63.5) and eighth in yards per carry (3.2).”
Barrows spoke to newly-signed linebacker Eric Bakhtiari about his odyssey through the NFL. Barrows: “Bakhtiari said no one ever had told him he was good enough to play in the NFL until Jim Harbaugh said so when Bakhtiari was a freshman at the University of San Diego and Harbaugh was his coach.”
Barrows also examined the NFC West, which went a collective 4-0 last week. “The NFC West went 4-0 Sunday for only the second time in the past decade and is the only division with two teams – the 49ers and Cardinals – with 2-0 records. What’s more, the one-time stripling has been beating up on the NFL’s pretty-boy franchises.”
49ers.com’s daily coverage included press conferences from Dashon Goldson, Vic Fangio and Greg Roman. We also looked at Goldson’s rise to become one of the NFL’s best defensive backs, the constant improvement of the offense and Alex Smith’s response to the Giants’ support.
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Tags: Alex Smith, Brandon Jacobs, Eric Bakhtiari, Jim Harbaugh, Kyle Williams, Vernon Davis
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