Alex Smith has played under seven offensive coordinators in seven NFL seasons since being drafted first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Whether it meant learning a new playbook, memorizing new terminology, getting on board with new expectations, or grasping any of the myriad of nuances and changes from one coordinator to the next each year, it meant that some things had to be pushed to the wayside. One of those things that Smith set out to work on this during the relative calm of this offseason (after re-signing with the Niners), was his accuracy and delivery. In a chat with fans on the 49ers official website (via Comcast SportsNet Bay Area), Smith wrote:
"I saw a mechanics guru, or specialist down in L.A.. I went there to kind of clean some things up with my motion. I'm really focused on getting my fundamentals better. Really didn't have time last offseason to do it."
As for the mechanical issues at hand, Matt Maoicco explained (with the help of Ron Jaworski):
The first issue is something former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski has talked about for several seasons. Smith locks his front leg (left leg) as he strides during his throwing motion. Jaworski has said repeatedly that without a flexed knee and cushion, Smith's accuracy and velocity suffers.
The second flaw that the current coaching staff identified centers around Smith's drops, the source said. 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. Without perfect balance, the accuracy and velocity of Smith's throws are impacted -- especially on throws to his left.