Thursday, September 13, 2012
Syncing up head coaches and QBs
By Mike Sando
Sometimes it takes a while for head coach and quarterback to come into alignment.
Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith clicked right away in San Francisco. Smith has become an extension of the coaching staff, as reflected the way he manages risks.
Smith has zero interceptions in his past 253 attempts, counting playoffs. That is the NFL's longest active streak.
Elsewhere in the NFC West, Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is still working with John Skelton and Kevin Kolb to minimize turnovers. Coaches and quarterbacks in Seattle and St. Louis are just getting started together.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson appeared tentative at times in his first regular-season start Sunday. The Cardinals' defense was one factor with its frequent pressure. I also wondered how coach Pete Carroll's emphasis on ball security, typically heightened for defensive-minded head coaches, might affect Wilson. Two years ago, Carroll and then-starter Matt Hasselbeck needed about half the season to strike a balance.
Carroll, speaking Wednesday, on Wilson against Arizona:
"There was a couple times where he didnt take advantage of the preparation, when he had a look that he could've gone to that was easier than the one he chose. He went to Sidney (Rice) a couple of times when he could’ve gone to Braylon (Edwards), when Braylon had a better look on the other side. There are a couple of times he took off when we had the protection, and he felt like maybe we didn't. Those will come when he trusts and understands that we do have the right call and we got the guys that are picking things up and he'll sit in there a little bit better, but that was only really two plays."
The balance has already been struck in San Francisco.
Consider this note from ESPN Stats & Information: "Including the postseason, Smith has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions over his last eight games. Prior to his current streak, Smith had never gone more than three consecutive games without throwing an interception. The eight consecutive starts without an interception are two more than the previous franchise record held by Steve Young and John Brodie."