The folks at Football Outsiders conduct various charting exercises to help develop more detailed information about what we see on the football field. Their latest release of information is a rundown of quarterback sacks for each team. Thanks to Ougadas for pointing it out in the Fanshots. They went through and determined how many sacks took place in the first 2.5 seconds or less of a play and how many sacks took 3 or more seconds to develop.
49ers QB Alex Smith has been sacked 14 times through four games, which is third among NFL quarterbacks. Based on FO's game-charting, two os his sacks were long sacks and eight were short sacks. That would leave four sacks in between 2.5 and 3 seconds. His eight short sacks were the most among any QB and came on 6.61% of his pass attempts plus sacks (pass attempts do not normally include pass plays ending in a sack). His two long sacks came on 1.65% of pass attempts plus sacks.
While Alex Smith has had issues in the past of holding on to the ball too long, that would not appear to be the case this season, at least with regards to sacks. It's not a perfect stat because QB pressures and QB hits that don't result in a sack are not included. However, I'd say it's still useful information. Alex Smith's short sack rate is three times the NFL average. It may not tell us everything we need to know, but I think that says something about the performance of his blockers, whether it be the line, the running backs or whatever. It's not a perfect stat, but it helps add a little context to the always popular Alex Smith discussion.