This was a question posed by NFL Network in their 32 in 32 series, which examines all 32 NFL teams in 32 days. While this wasn’t the only question asked about the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s the one I found the most interesting. After all, both are very important to the Chiefs success next year, and while Alex Smith has a more direct impact on the team’s performance on the field – since, you know, he’ll be on the field – but the importance of Andy Reid’s coaching cannot go understated.
The NFL Total Access team was split on the question. Shaun O’Hara, the Giants offensive lineman who is trying his hand at the media gambit, went with Alex Smith, citing the Chiefs -24 turnover differential last season as the reason. NFL Network contributor, Brian Baldinger, went with Andy Reid because he is installing a new offense in Kansas City and it’s up to him to teach Smith that offense. While Smith has to execute the offense, there’s a lot of work that goes in to just getting to that point.
While O’Hara is right in saying the Chiefs turned over the ball far too often last season – Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined for 30 turnovers last year – and that Alex Smith should help in that aspect of the game – in Smith’s last full season he only accounted for 5 interceptions and 5 fumbles – I have to believe that Andy Reid is more important to the Chiefs success.
Chiefs fans saw what bad quarterbacking combined with bad coaching looked like last season. But I’m going to side with Baldinger for a reason less obvious than the fact he’s the head coach. Alex Smith has only played all 16 games in season twice since entering the league in 2005. Many of these seasons were shortened by injuries. So teaching Alex Smith the offense isn’t Andy Reid’s only concern, he has to make sure his backups know the offense just as well incase Smith follows his career trend and misses games this season due to injury.
I’ve always thought the impact of one player on a football team is overrated when compared to coaching, and this is no exception. But what do you think Chiefs fans? Who’s more important to the success of the Chiefs this season? Fill up the comments section with your opinions!