Two years removed from a jaw dropping 15 touchdown season, Bowe has dealt with a handful of different issues resulting in his drop in play.
In all actuality, while Smith had a complete career revival in San Francisco last season, he was still nothing more than a game manager. Some may take that as a slight – it’s certainly not. The 49ers asked Smith to control the tempo and to play smart. Don’t force feed the ball. Don’t turn it over. Play smart. That’s what he did and the 49ers were effective because of that.
When the 49ers were behind (which wasn’t very often) and Smith did have to pass the ball, his quarterback rating dropped nearly 30 points. His interceptions were up. It wasn’t a good look.
Make no mistake, the 49ers weren’t a downfield team with Smith at the helm despite a very small handful of deep connections you may recall. In fact, Smith struggles throwing anything over 25 yards as he’s a much more effective quarterback with dump off passes.
Smith attempted 21 passes in the 20-31 yard range in 2011, connecting on 8. He connected on 6 of 19 in 2010.
Not only does Smith try to avoid throwing long passes, he’s not very effective when he does so.
While I certainly don’t think having a stable quarterback will hurt Dwayne Bowe, temper your expectations – though through no fault of Bowe himself.
The big play is going to be rare and teams will lock on Bowe in the red zone. He’ll probably get closer to 1,000 yards this season and snag another touchdown or two, but at his inflated price is that worth it? Not for me.