One of the more frequently discussed stories the last few weeks has been the report that 49ers QB Alex Smith worked with pitching coach Tom House to improve on his mechanics. We have not had many pictures from workouts, so it is a bit difficult to sort through the changes. I shot House an email with some questions, but never heard back, so we've sort of been flying blind.
Thankfully we've got something we can work with for now. Matt Maiocco put together an article about the mechanics issues, with an interesting before and after shot. Here is the picture (thanks to CSN's digital folks for allowing us to post it):
One of the common questions about Alex Smith's mechanics has been the locked front leg. As Maiocco pointed out, Ron Jaworski has pointed to the locked leg as being a significant issue in Smith's accuracy. The "after" shot shows Smith throwing the ball with a distinctive bend in his leg.
Smith does not always have the locked leg, but it has been enough of an issue that hopefully this will lead to more bending on a fairly consistent basis. Smith will need to carry this over to the playing field and not slip into bad habits. Smith is getting plenty of coaching from across the 49ers coaching staff, but Coach Harbaugh will need to continue working to enforce these good habits.
Will it be enough to improve his accuracy? We'll just have to wait and see. However, I might take more time keeping an eye on the locked vs. bent leg once the season begins.
On a related note, Tom House will be on Chronicle Live on CSN Bay Area Thursday evening at 5pm PT and again at 11pm PT.