Alex Smith could set records despite short season


Alex Smith could set records despite short season

Alex Smith hasn't seen the field since he suffered a concussion against the Rams on Nov. 11, but that doesn't mean his stellar start to the 2012 season will be swept under the carpet. In fact, Smith has a chance to enter his abbreviated campaign into the NFL record books.

Smith has attempted 217 passes this year, seven shy of the 224 attempts the league requires for eligibility in yearly records (14 attempt-per-game average). It's significant because Smith is on the doorstep of two NFL honors.

The 49ers backup quarterback has a chance to finish the season with the highest QB rating in the league, and he is within striking distance of the NFL record for single-season completion percentage set at 71.2 last year by Drew Brees.

Aaron Rodgers currently owns the top QB rating in the league with a 104.7 mark. Robert Griffin III is close behind him at 104.2, followed by Smith at 104.1. If Smith qualifies with another seven attempted passes this season, there are numerous scenarios in which he surpasses Rodgers and Griffin for the title.

In their final two games of the season, Rodgers faces the 19th- and 23rd-ranked passing defenses of the Titans and Vikings, while Griffin faces the 13th- and 14th-ranked passing defenses of the Eagles and Cowboys.

Smith has connected on 152 of his 217 pass attempts this season, giving him a clean 70.0 completion percentage that falls 1.2 percentage points behind Brees' NFL record, even though Brees attempted significantly more passes with 657 attempts.

As the New York Times points out, an additional nine completed passes would give Smith the all-time record with a completion percentage of .71238, barely besting Brees' .71232 mark. Duplicating his last full game -- an 18-for-19 effort against the Cardinals -- would be more than enough to do the trick with a dominating completion percentage of .72033.

The 49ers have their playoff berth clinched, but they are still jockeying for standings superiority and the all-important first-round bye. Head coach Jim Harbaugh won't throw Smith out there just for the pursuit of records. And you shouldn't expect him to tailor his play calls towards breaking the records if Smith does end up in the game.

As long as Colin Kaepernick continues to play at an Offensive-Player-of-the-Week caliber, that might not happen.

"The only thing I did to lose my job," Smith said, "was get a concussion."

It's true, Smith didn't do anything to lose his job. But football is a business, and the brutal reality is that Alex Smith is only one play away from once again being the 49ers starting quarterback -- with a pair of records in reach.

New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown

New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown

The New York Giants released placekicker Josh Brown, the team announced on Tuesday.

The NFL suspended Brown for the season opener in Dallas for violating the League’s Personal Conduct Policy.  That suspension was based on his May 22, 2015 arrest on domestic violence charges, which were dismissed approximately five days after the arrest.

Brown served his suspension, returned to the Giants on September 12, and subsequently participated in five games. 

Last Wednesday, approximately 24 hours before the Giants were to depart for London, new information was released by authorities in Washington State.  The new materials disclosed a history of alleged domestic violence by Brown.  On Thursday, the Giants announced Brown would not accompany the team to London, where they played the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. 

Last Friday, the NFL, at the Giants request and citing the documents released two days earlier, placed Brown on the Commissioner Exempt List. 

Today, the Giants released Brown.

“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” said team president John Mara. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided.  We accept that responsibility.

“We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father.  We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution.

“We have great respect and feel strongly about our support for the good people who work tirelessly and unconditionally to aid the victims of domestic violence and who bring awareness to the issue. We have been partners with My Sisters’ Place (a domestic violence shelter and advocate based in Westchester, New York) for nearly 20 years. The leadership of that organization has provided invaluable insight as we have considered our decisions in this matter.  We value and respect their opinion, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

Statement from Josh Brown:
"The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life.  My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man.  I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way.  In the coming days and weeks I plan on telling more of the pain I had caused and the measures taken to get help so I may be the voice of change and not a statistic.  In the interim I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down."

New York Giants media services

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

SANTA CLARA -- In the early afternoon Monday after the 49ers’ day-after-game meetings concluded, the players were excused for the next seven days.

Coach Chip Kelly opted to give the 49ers a week break, rather than going through a couple days of practices before providing the players with a mandatory four consecutive days off during the bye week.

The 49ers on Sunday dropped to 1-6 on the season with a 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there will be no extra practices to attempt to sharpen their performance.

“They’ve been at it since July 31st,” Kelly said. “They haven’t had more than one day off in a row. So I think at this point in time that’s what our whole MO has always been.

“They’ll meet with our strength and conditioning coaches. They have their lifting programs in terms of what they can do and what they have to do. And I think at this point in time we need to heal up. I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do and that’s the way I’ve always done it and our teams have been fresh coming out of the bye week.”

While the players will be off for a week, Kelly said the coaching staff will continue to work through Friday in an attempt to identify areas in which they can improve and snap out of their six-game losing streak on Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’ve got a lot of self-scout that we have set aside,” Kelly said. “We’ll be in here all week kind of looking at what we’ve done in the first seven games, what have our opponents done to us in the first seven games relative to what we thought going into the game based on the break downs. Did they change?

“If they were 60-percent pressure going into our game and they were only 30-percent pressure in our game, trying to delve into how people are defending us. How are people attacking us from an offensive standpoint in terms of attacking our defense and what their tendencies were going into the game and then what actually transpired in the game. So we’ve got a lot of film work and a lot of studying to do here during this week.”

Kelly reiterated on Monday that he is not looking at leaving the 49ers after this season. He said he has not heard from any schools with coaching openings or potential openings. Kelly said he has tried to remain focused on his job through the longest losing streak he has ever experienced as a coach.

“No one’s happy, so I don’t know if the word’s anguish, but I mean obviously you try to keep it consistent in terms of your approach to everything that you do,” Kelly said. “I don’t think being consistent and being even-keeled means that it doesn’t bother you or that you’re not frustrated in terms of what’s gone on.”

Kelly said the 49ers have the talent to win games. When asked why the coaches have not been able to extract more victories, Kelly placed the blame for the team’s poor play on himself and his staff.

“That’s on us,” Kelly said. “I agree 100-percent in terms of what you’re saying. But our job is to put our players in position to make plays and we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”