OC: Smith is the best QB in the NFL

BY Sam Gardner • August 1, 2013

Alex Smith was a good quarterback before Colin Kaepernick supplanted him in San Francisco last season, but to give the former Utah signal caller and most-sacked quarterback of 2011 any more credit than that would probably be overstating his qualifications.

Don’t tell that to Doug Pederson, though, because Pederson — the offensive coordinator for Smith’s new team, the Kansas City Chiefs — thinks he has the top QB in football under center.

“Ultimately, every team has to have a quarterback,” Pederson told the Kansas City Star Wednesday. “I think we have the best in the league.”

Say what now?

“There are a lot of great ones,” Pederson continued, “but over time, Alex has proven he can get it done. He’s a sharp guy, he brings a wealth of knowledge, he’s experienced, he’s a proven winner the last couple of years, and he needs a team to embrace him.”

Now, I’m all for a guy backing up the leader of his offense, but someone needs to talk a little sense into Pederson. Just last season, Smith lost his job because he got hurt, and then it turned out he wasn’t as good as the guy who filled in.

And there’s also the matter of, oh, I don’t know, the other 10 or 15 quarterbacks in the league whom any coach would rather have.

Among the 21 NFL quarterbacks with at least 40 starts in the last four seasons, Smith has the 11th-highest quarterback-rating. (And that, of course, doesn’t take into account the league’s newest QB stars, including Robert Griffin III, Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and others.)

Smith’s 62.1 percent completion rating is 10th among those players — we’ll call them “veterans” — and his 62 touchdown passes are fourth-worst among that class, though his 32 interceptions in that span is tied with Aaron Rodgers (an actual elite quarterback) for the best mark.

So, yeah, Alex Smith is a fine quarterback, and has even been great at times. Remember how he dominated the Cardinals last season in his final full game as starter? But to say he’s the best in the league? That’s just foolishness.

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