Alex Smith

Alex Smith’s new mechanics imitate Joe Montana’s ‘Art and Magic’

You can call Alex Smith many names (especially if that name is “Steve Blake”), but you cannot call him lazy. If he’s not searching for missing teens, caddying for Jim Harbaugh, or business-tripping to Miami, then he’s mastering his craft.

Following the Pebble Beach Pro Am, Smith told CSN Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor that he was planning to spend the offseason working on “strengthening weaknesses, getting better, (and) analyzing where you need to get better.”

True to his word, Smith spent a week with pitching guru Tom House, who been referred to Smith by Drew Brees, who plays a pretty mean quarterback himself. House, apparently, stripped Smith down to analyze his body (something many a coach had me do in my youth). Once sufficiently analyzed, House redressed Smith and his throwing motion.

According to CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maoicco, House’s tutelage focused on one area: Smith’s lower body. Specifically, Smith would work to improve his drop-back footwork and his knee flex. By improving both, Smith stands to significantly improve his weaknesses, including his tendency to take sacks, throw high on crossing and out routes, and overthrow deep balls.

The Drop

The drops I am most accustomed to are those done in such a way as to suggest heat or hotness. Smith’s drop will be different, I hope.

Smith told CSNBayArea.com, “(I was) working on my drops, being more efficient with my movement.”

Sources elaborated on Smith’s inefficiencies to Maiocco, intimating that “When Smith takes a straight drop-back, he has a tendency to veer off the center line and his right hip flies open as he sets.”

The source continued, “Without perfect balance, the accuracy and velocity of Smith’s throws are impacted — especially on throws to his left.”

Efficiency of feet and alignment of hips are areas stressed in most books written on the subject, including The Art and Magic of Quarterbacking by Joe Montana, The Art of Quarterbacking by Ken Anderson and Complete Quarterbacking by Don Read.

In fact, Smith’s uncoordinated hips might explain his tendency to miss targets, at least if we are to believe Montana, who believes “Opening your hips too soon will cause overthrows.”

Smith’s poor foot coordination creates problems with accuracy and velocity with a quarterback’s footwork.  According to Read, “Accuracy and velocity are affected positively or negatively by the coordination of a quarterback’s feet and arm.”

Anderson takes it a step further, arguing “foot speed is the key (to quarterbacking).” In Anderson’s opinion, poor foot speed results in “lazy” or “slow” drop backs, which results in sacks—maybe even as many as 44 of them.

“(He) only has a few seconds in which to pass,” Anderson writes, “so the quicker (he) gets into position to throw, the more he will be able to see and the sooner he can take advantage of the defense.”

Smith certainly didn’t take advantage of many defenses. Nor did he do his offensive line any favors. As Matt Maiocco points out, “(Smith) did not ‘throw open receivers’ with regularity. And he often held the ball too long and took unnecessary sacks.” Both can be seen as symptoms of poor footwork. If his drop his bad, then he won’t be able to read the movement of the defense, which means he’ll hang on the ball and take unnecessary sacks.

Leg Lock

Team sources also told Maiocco that Smith is worked on correcting the bend, or lack thereof, in his left knee.

“Smith locks his front leg (left leg) as he strides during his throwing motion,” Maiocco reports. “(Ron) Jaworski has said repeatedly that without a flexed knee and cushion, Smith’s accuracy and velocity suffers.”

Again, Smith’s leg issues lead to problems with arm strength and accuracy. Whereas his drops were causing overthrows, his stiff leg were causing underthrows. Quite the paradox, I know.

“You don’t want to land on a stiff front knee,” Montana writes. “This keeps your weight from shifting through your delivery. It will cause you to throw short, while also putting enormous strain on your arm.”

Don Read confirms this, believing a flexed front leg is especially important for quarterbacks who lack arm strength — which many believe is problem Smith possesses. According to Read, if the quarterback is to add momentum to the throw, “he must keep his body low in the beginning, with his knees bent, well until push off from the back leg begins.”

Ultimately, Smith already stood to make gainful strides this season without these mechanical tweaks. The reasons for this abound. The weapons added and the offensive system point to Smith’s 2012 improvement. With these improvements, it is not unfair to suggest that many of Smith’s weaknesses could be remedied to certain degree. So if you want to call Smith anything, call him much improved.

11 Comments

Leave a Reply

11 Comments on "Alex Smith’s new mechanics imitate Joe Montana’s ‘Art and Magic’"

Notify of
avatar
  
smilegrinwinkmrgreenneutraltwistedarrowshockunamusedcooleviloopsrazzrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionideahmmbegwhewchucklesillyenvyshutmouth
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Gooselosgatos
Guest
Member
Gooselosgatos

Whether you like him strictly as a QB or not, Alex is a class act.

Professional and hard-worker, good teammate, grinder, bright and highly competitive.

Not to mention the fact that he is a classy human being. A few friends if mine saw him at the Search day for the missing local girl. He brought food and water for everyone and didn’t want it publicized or attract attention to himself.

Scott
Guest
Member

It seems impossible to not root for him, but some manage to find a way.

Gooselosgatos
Guest
Member
Gooselosgatos

Agree Scott,
With all the crap Alex went through with two offensive
illiterate morons for coaches, 7 Offensive coordinators in as many years, angry fan base that ripped him constantly, had to follow two of the greatest QB’s in NFL history (Young and Montana)

– 19 out of 20 other QB’s would have run for the hills but despite it all Alex stuck it out and succeeded in a big way last year with proper coaching.

And through it all he conducted himself with dignity and class.

One of the few professional athletes out there who is a true role model.

John Sports
Guest
Member

Not to nit-pick Goose but whenever you bring up the two prior QB’s before Alex (Young and Montana) you always leave out Jeff Garcia, who in many ways has similar skills that Alex has, especially the work ethic.

Gooselosgatos
Guest
Member
Gooselosgatos

John Sports,

You are totally right as Garcia was over-criticized and under appreciated as well.

Thanks for mentioning it because if Garcia had played in most any other market he would be much more respected and appreciated by the fan base but because he played behind two legends and a jerk/bound-mouthing/douche-bag of a star receiver he is relegated to secondary status.

topraman
Guest
Member
topraman
I have to admit I was a basher of Alex Smith due to my ignorance of all the factors included. He has done nothing but continue to try and improve, stuck by this team through it all, and is a complete class act outside of sports. No wonder his team mates have stuck by him through it all and defended him in the times needed. I cannot, in my memory, think of another player that has stuck it out like he has but kept a positive attitude and image in the community. My apologies Mr. Alex Smith for being a… Read more »
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

I always said his footwork is bad…he goes into a crouch and then gets happy feet at a hard rush. Then you know a premature throw-it-away-toss is coming.
Can all that be coached away with a 29 year old vet?
Lets say that Harbaugh is no dummy..and he STILL seeks a better QB.

John Sports
Guest
Member

Goose,
Funny how life turns out, Garcia seems to be happy and content at this point in his life…And the JERK Receiver…

Gooselosgatos
Guest
Member
Gooselosgatos

JS,
Thinking the same thing man when I heard about it. Karma is a bitch.

And TO isn’t going to have a broadcasting career unless its on Pros vs. Joes.

John Sports
Guest
Member

That old saying “what comes around goes around” is so cool when it happens, I love it in a spiteful way…my bad, but oh well what the hell.

trackback
Member

[…] Bay Area Sports Guy &#8211 ; Alex Smith&#8217 ;s new mechanics imitate Joe Montana&#8217 ;s &#8216 ;Art … Pretty good read if you skip or ignore the first few paragraphs (for me anyway). It&#039 ;s not a terrrrrible introduction, it&#039 ;s just the later paragraphs have more detail than the first. The first are a bit repetitive of what we&#039 ;ve read here. I&#039 ;ve copy and pasted the later part here: Quote: […]

wpDiscuz
What is Bay Area Sports Guy?

It is the top independent sports site covering the teams that play in the best sports region in the United States. BASG is not an ordinary fan blog. It is a place where sports news is broken and analyzed by writers with access who are not afraid to question the status quo, writers who also produce original content in the form of videos, photographs and podcasts.

Questions/Comments? Email basg@bayareasportsguy.com
Fill out my online form.

Copyright © 2017 - Bay Area Sports Guy. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use and BASG Shop Terms

To Top