Mike Freeman of CBSSports made the un-backed assertion that Alex Smith is a dink-and-dunk quarterback, wearing his captain checkdown cape on Monday night. Had he actually looked at the data, he would have known precisely the opposite was true.
According to Advanced NFL Stats.com, Alex Smith is tied for 5th in the NFL in air yards per attempt at 4.32 air yards per attempt ([yards - YAC]/att). He's also 5th in yards per attempt, and 13th in YAC per attempt. In YAC%, he's a paltry 22nd...hardly the sign of a dink and dunker. On Monday Night, Smith threw for 12.2 yards per attempt. And based on ESPN's quoted YAC figure of 107 yards, Smith had an excellent 6.6 air yards per attempt.
Ideally, you'd want to have a quarterback that leads the NFL in air yards/att and YAC/att -- you'd have a big arm that hits WRs in stride as they're breaking out of their routes, but we rarely see that. Aaron Rodger's historic 2011 season saw him #1 in Air Yards/att and #3 in YAC/att, that's close.
If you plotted AirYds/Att vs. YAC/att, the best QBs would be in the top right corner and the worst QBs would be in the bottom left corner, right? If we do that for 2011, you get Rodgers at #1 (by a mile) and Smith #16. In 2012? Alex Smith is 5th, Peyton Manning is first. Now, clearly, this is not the whole picture because it does not take into account INTs...that's why the adjusted yards stat was invented that subtracts 45 yards for every INT; For the record, Smith is 11th in adjusted yards per attempt.