Alex Smith: 'I got carried away' calling out Cam Newton


Way back in May, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith created one of the more surprising media brushfires of the offseason when he said 300-yard passing games like the ones authored by Cam Newton were overrated.

And we did not hesitate to stoke said brushfire with a little help from Patrick Willis, Newton's Carolina Panthers teammate Jon Beason, and pretty much anyone else with a microphone.

Smith seems to regret bringing Newton's name up.

"Obviously I got carried away there," Smith told Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday.

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I made the point initially that Alex Smith was essentially right: Passing yards are overrated. Yards-per-attempt is the better stat. And wouldn't you know, Smith agrees.

"I was going after more of the passing-yards statistic and I don't really believe there's a great correlation to winning in the NFL," Smith said. "I don't. I don't buy it. If you're looking for a statistic that has a better correlation to winning, it's probably yards-per-attempt."

From Smith's mouth to God's ears. For the record, Smith finished with a career-high 7.1 yards-per-attempt last year. That's an above-average number. Newton was at 7.8, which ranked him 10th in the NFL.

The stat Smith continues to worry most about is in the win-loss column.

"For me it's about winning games," Smith said. "I'm trying to score more points than the other team. I don't really care how we do it. ... That's our philosophy: We've got a lot of ways to get it done. I don't really care how many yards I throw for; as long as we score more points than the guys we're playing."

Life is going to get tougher for Smith and the 49ers this year. The NFC West is improved. The schedule is brutal. We suspect Smith will need to throw for more yards -- and yards-per-attempt -- to get back to the NFC championship.