- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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“I think if you look at the body of work -- and we’re going to talk about stats here since (Smith is) about stats -- I think [Cam Newton] is way ahead of Alex was as a former first-round pick," Beason said. “You know, going into a situation where you’re on the worst team in football, or in an offense that finished 32nd in scoring last year, to an offense that finished fifth, I think you should at least take your hat off to him and understand the situation and the type of pressure that Cam Newton was under this year.”
Smith was the first overall pick by San Francisco in the 2005 draft, but didn’t really have much success until leading the 49ers to last season’s NFC Championship Game. Carolina took Newton with the first overall draft pick last year. Newton set all sorts of rookie records and was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, but the Panthers went 6-10.
“I’m a big fan of stats, I think they tell the truth more than not," Beason said. “I think their defense was unbelievable last year. You know, I think 19 touchdown passes is, you know, not going to get you in a Super Bowl. I think five interceptions is an amazing stat, but it is just like in basketball, if you don’t shoot you can’t score. So based on what they were able to do and the parts around him, the coach, the defense, I think they did a great job. You win 13 games you’re the best in the league. I think that’s the right formula for them but that wouldn’t have been the right formula for us. So do you take your hat off to Alex Smith? Yes. Should he feel good about himself? Yes. Should he get upset about having to answer questions about him finishing 29th in the league in yards per game? That’s a stat. If you don’t like it maybe fix it but, like I said, in the meantime don’t take shots at other people or other players because you are tired of dealing with that question.”
You can hear the audio of the Beason interview here.