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Managing Alex Smith And Other Offensive Expectations

We’re just one week into the NFL preseason and I’m already certain of at least one thing Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs offense will be in 2013 — polarizing. Where Smith is concerned, he posted a completion rate of 87.5% and a passer rating of 102 on Friday night in New Orleans. His performance wasn’t well received by everyone in Chiefs Kingdom. Not even a highly efficient game was capable of shielding Smith from criticism.

Many of Smith’s detractors were dismissive of the 14-play, 80-yard drive he led Kansas City on in their first offensive series. That drive ended in a touchdown, but Smith’s contributions were reduced to checkdowns and other high-percentage throws.  Fans should be cautiously optimistic about scoring on the opening possession of a new regime. It’s a positive sign, but it’s also the first live action situation for both the Chiefs and Saints.

It’s tough to know what you can truly take away from early preseason success. Some skepticism about Alex Smith and the West Coast offense, even after Friday night’s game, is warranted. Such is life in an NFL town starved for quality quarterback play and improvement upon the 32-ranked scoring offense of a year ago. I’m okay with the skeptics, I just think there are a few things they should try to keep in mind:

1. Alex Smith isn’t the league’s best quarterback.

I hate to make a liar out of offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, but I think it’s time you knew the truth. I discount double-checked the game tape, and Alex Smith is no Aaron Rodgers. He’s also no Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees. I’m sure you’re shocked, but try to compose yourself long enough to finish the article.

Smith has an average NFL arm at best. Thing is, Alex Smith wasn’t brought to Kansas City to sling the ball downfield 40 yards at a time. At least not with any regularity. Reid chose Alex Smith because he’s a smart quarterback who is well suited to his offensive philosophy. If you’re expecting to see him make the Joe Flacco throw from the Divisional Round of the playoffs consistently, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s more to a quality NFL quarterback than a live arm. Precision, good decision-making, the ability to quickly read and assess defensive coverage, and accuracy are all more important keys to long-term success at the position.

 

2.This isn’t the Air Coryell system. 

The Chiefs aren’t going to have the quick-strike offense that defined the Dick Vermeil era in Kansas City. Reid’s WCO system is going to plod along at times. Alex Smith is going to take what defenses give him. The offense will attempt to stretch a defense vertically every now and again, but it’s just as likely that Smith rolls right and hits Anthony Fasano on a simple 11-yard flat. Judging Reid’s offensive system by a Don Coryell standard is a mistake. We should judge the offensive system on its ability to extend drives and put points on the board.

 

That’s what was so bizarre about the criticism I heard over the first team offense’s lone possession. Alex Smith didn’t target any pass catcher deeper than 10 yards, but the drive ended in 6 points. It’s tough to argue with positive results. This fan base was forced to watch the league’s worst offense languish through 17 weeks of the 2012 season.

I believe this football team will have offensive success this season. I’m even comfortable with the idea that they’ll get chunks of yards through the air. Fans may want to curb their deep ball enthusiasm though because that won’t be a featured part of this offense.

 

3. There are several NFL teams running some version of the West Coast offense successfully.

Here are a list of teams who’ve recently had success with WCO schemes:

  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Houston Texans
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Washington Redskins

Some of those teams are stricter adherents of the philosophy than others, but all of them incorporate elements of the offensive system. More importantly, Andy Reid has been a disciple of the system since working with Mike Holmgren in Green Bay. When he eventually got a head coaching gig in Philadelphia, he took the offense with him. The Eagles had a Top 10 offense eight times under Andy Reid. Philadelphia went to four straight NFC Championship games between 2001 and 2004. During that stretch they fielded the 9th, 4th, 11th, and 8th-ranked scoring offenses in the NFL.

It’s also important to note that Reid (like the aforementioned teams) will incorporate other elements into his offense here in Kansas City. The hirings of Chris Ault and Brad Childress open the door to contributions from the Pistol and Spread formations. On paper, the new-look Chiefs offense figures to be more dynamic than what we’ve recently seen from Andy Reid-coached teams.

All of that said, Friday night’s opening offensive series could be an aberration. The San Francisco 49ers may descend upon Arrowhead Stadium and bring Kansas City back down to earth. They certainly have a better defensive group than New Orleans. We’ll get clearer signs of where this offense is later this week.

In the meantime, revisit/revise your expectations, get clear on how this offensive system works, and cut Alex Smith some slack.

Until next time, Addicts!

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Brennan Ransdell

    When is the last time a team won a Superbowl and the QB didn’t have an arm? If they KNOW they don’t have to worry about the deep ball, the offense will go NOWHERE. Not a focus of the offense and NOT CAPABLE are two totally different scenarios!

    • Clint Moran

      The last time? Probably the bucs in ’02 with brad Johnson, I would guess off the top of my head. They had a good running game and a stellar defense. the chiefs defense up to snuff with those bucs of a decade ago? No, but I’d say the rushing game is notably better. I don’t think anyone is under the delusion that the chiefs are Super Bowl bound this season, anyhow. Lets just get back to the playoffs before we complain about things that might keep us from winning the big dance.

      • Brennan Ransdell

        I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they will NEVER be SB bound with Smith at QB. Not that I don’t like the direction they are going, but he’s not much more capable than Cassel. I’m not complaining. I was responding to the article. My point was that not capable and not using are two separate issues.

        • Clint Moran

          Ok, but you said… ” If they KNOW they don’t have to worry about the deep ball, the offense will go NOWHERE.” What did you mean? You need 10 yards for a 1st down and you get 4 attempts to get there. If you are CAPABLE of getting 6 on every drive, why do you need the low percentage deep passes. I’m sure smith can air it put when the game is on the line, watch the playoff game against the saints a couple years ago. The 9ers were against a wall and he marched right down the field, firing a strike to Vernon Davis to win the game. Smith can win, that same year, his 9ers were a muffed punt away from the Super Bowl. Are you telling me that it’s impossible? I hope not, we just need to get the tools around him and he will do the rest on the field.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            When there is no threat of a deep ball, the defense can simply stay tight, play short and stop the short ball, whether run or short passes. Smith might be able to throw deep, but he can’t do it accurately and CONSISTENTLY. He’s a “decent” QB, no better, no worse.

          • JordanPollock

            Wait wait wait…. hold up. So now we are making the argument that he has the arm strength and not the accuracy? This is some sort of twisted. Man, I’m tired of all the half fans. If you have been watching the Chiefs for the last 10 years than you should be thrilled to have Alex right now. He is a top QB in the NFL. Not THE top, A top. He has taken the 49ers deep in the playoffs. Idc if you want some flashy name Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers as our qb. Some people can never be satisfied. Why can’t fans just be excited and support no matter what? Criticism is perfectly okay, but taking it to the level of arguing for arguing’s sake is ridiculous.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            Talk about calling the kettle black there, bub!YES, I THINK SMITH IS INCAPABLE OF CONSISTENTLY THROWING COMPLETIONS DOWN THE FIELD! He hasn’t proven otherwise. I am not a half fan either, but I’m not going to call a QB elite who isn’t! I’m perfectly content with Alex Smith as our QB and with us even getting to the playoffs. I’m just saying he’s short term, not long, unless he proves otherwise. His record as a QB is not that stellar. He had ONE GOOD YEAR.

          • JordanPollock

            “This whole alex smith can’t throw the deep ball myth is ridiculous. Look at the stats. It’s not Smith can’t throw the deep ball, it is he chooses to do so on fewer attempts. When he does choose to throw it deep, his stats are actually on par with the top QB’s.
            Look at his 2011 stats including playoffs of throws 20+ Yards: 21 of 51, 723 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT QB rating of 111.4
            Compare that with Matt Schaub: 14 of 37, 499 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT QB rating of 125.3
            How about Tom Brady: 23 of 73, 746 yards, 10 TD, 4 INT QB rating of 87.7
            Joe Flacco: 25 of 88, 816 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT QB rating of 81.8″
            You say he’s not elite? He can’t throw the deep ball consistently? Stats say otherwise. He was on par for that in 2012 before being injured also.
            I don’t get it? You say he had one good year? So getting to the Divisional playoff round and losing for things outside of your control is not enough? So Joe Flacco is not an elite QB because he only had one good year and won the Superbowl?? I don’t get people like you “bub”. Never satisfied. If we won the Superbowl this year you would say it’s a fluke and you bet we couldn’t do it again. Get a grip.

          • Justin R Groth

            Ok, I was going to just read this disagreement however. First because a fan disagrees with you does not make him half a fan, or not being impressed with a player that hasn’t been consistent mean he hasn’t watched the chiefs in 10 years, just means that for 2 2nd round picks he expects the some one who has consistent over multiple years. Yes Alex has done good recent however right now we are not sure if it was because he finally became good or just a perfect storm. I personally am on wait and see mode. I was impressed by his first drive but I still see Alex a middle of the pack qb.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            THANK YOU! That’s all I was trying to say. People act like simply because I don’t think Smith is an elite QB that I’m not satisfied. I’m satisfied with an even record this year! I just don’t think Alex is that great of a qb, and not looking to just one year of stats (in which the offense had more depth than ours mind you), he hasn’t done jack since he left the Utes!

          • micah stephenson

            I concur

          • Brennan Ransdell

            Again, that’s one set of stats from ONE year.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            And come back and tell me to “get a grip” when Smith does play how your hopes might want him to. Until then, take your attitude and shove it where the sun don’t shine, BUB.

          • Jim Harper

            Well said!

        • jdilla415

          49ers were 2 fumbles away from superbowl. Never say never.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          You think Smith is incapable of throwing the ball downfield?

          • Brennan Ransdell

            Consistently, yes. He’s never proven otherwise. The guy had one good year and now he’s an elite QB? Hardly. Am I happy with where we are and Smith being a decent QB? Of course! But I’m not gonna live with blinders on either.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Nobody is expecting you to drink the kool aid but there is absolutely no comparison between Smith and Cassel. Cassel never had a QB rating in the 100′s in his wildest dreams or was ever capable of leading a team to the NFC or AFC championship game, ( which Smith won but his punt returner gave it back). Smith has not earned the title of “elite” yet but he is very good, that much he has earned in the last 1 1/2 years.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            Actually, yes, he did, in New England. That offense made Cassel LOOK elite.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Cassel had a QB rating of 89.4 that year and didn’t make the playoffs with all that talent around him. Cassel’s best year was 2010 with the Chiefs when he had a QB rating of 93 and won the AFC west with a 10-6 record. No substitute for good coaching. Good but hardly elite.

            Having watched a lot of tape on both Smith and Cassel, Smith reads the D better, finds the open man and hits him in stride. Cassel doesn’t have near the accuracy nor can he read the defense nearly as well as Smith.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            I didn’t mean for the whole year. You said he never had a QB rating in the 100′s. That’s not true. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t take Smith over Cassel any day of the week. I’m simply saying that proof-wise, he hasn’t done much better. Look at his career, not one year.

          • Priest4Prez

            I sense a jaded Chiefs fan who’s sick of mediocre QB’s bouncing in and out of Kansas City. A fan who looks around the league and wondering why so many teams have hit their turn around franchise point; but not yet the Chiefs. Why not Arrowhead? Why not now after all these years? I believe Mr. Smith makes us all on edge because we’ve been through so many has-beens and shouldn’t ever be QB’s. What option do we really have but to sit back and HOPEFULLY be surprised.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            And no offense, you can’t get the title of “very good” in one year. I hope he proves me wrong. I would LOVE for him to prove me wrong, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            This offense isn’t going to call for him to throw the ball downfield consistently. That’s partly what I was trying to get across with the article.

            I don’t think anyone has blinders on about Alex Smith. If anything, I think I’ve taken up the moderate position. I acknowledge his limitations, but also recognize he’s made a signifcant turn in his career and was the best man for the job.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            I don’t even know if I would go that far. We’ll see come game day. And again, I’m not saying that the offense will call on him to throw the deep ball, but if defenses know he can’t, then they only have to play one angle.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I don’t think he’s elite either.

          • kgm

            If teams know that he can’t throw deep, and only have to play against the short pass, how did Smith manage a 104 quarterback rating in 2012? How did he complete 18 of 19 passes against the Arizona Cardinals, who, bad as they were, had one of the best pass defenses in the league last year? How did he manage to complete 7 of 8 last week? Whether teams think he can throw deep or not, he gets the job done. I don’t care whether people call him good or elite. He’s proven that he can win over the past two years. Whether or not teams think he can throw deep, he manages to complete a high percentage of passes, throw a low percentage of interceptions, and move the ball effectively. To say that he can’t be successful because teams will shut down the short passing game is saying that 13-3 and 6-2 records are not success.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            Again, takes more than a year to be successful. LOOK AT THE MAN’S CAREER.

          • Calchiefsfan

            When you look at his career my argument is when he finally had good coaching he developed into a good, (notice I didn’t say elite), quarterback. He has enough arm strength to go long he is just hesitant to do so. From what I’ve seen and heard Andy Reid recognizes that and is trying to instill more confidence in Smith in that area. It is the one part of Smith’s game where he can really show some growth. I’m confident in both Reid and Smith to improve Smith’s deep ball. Because of that I believe the best is yet to come for Smith. He’ll be good this year but if he can improve on the long ball he just might grow into an elite QB.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Also Brennan, please don’t consider any of my comments an attack. Just a fun discussion about something it seems we’re both passionate about.

          • kgm

            Really, it takes more than a year for NFL defensive coordinators to decide to move the safeties up? If Smith were as limited as you say, he wouldn’t have had two successful games let alone two years.

            I have looked at the man’s career. It’s been one of constant improvement in the face of considerable adversity that has reached the point of real success (meaning consistently winning). Your original point was that he couldn’t be successful because he can’t throw the deep pass. I disagree, but whether he can throw deep or not, and even if his skills are as limited as you say, he’s still shown that he is a successful NFL quarterback. The guy wins.

          • RepOurChiefs

            I’ll take 6-2 mid season for the win Alex! Lol

          • Harm Williams

            Dude I have no clue why you think Smith can’t throw the deep ball. Look at the first score if the 2011 NFCCG… That was a 35 yard strike.

          • Brennan Ransdell

            Um, look at his career. You guys keep quoting anecdotal evidence based on ONE YEAR! Show me! I’m not gonna say he has an arm until he shows it on a consistent basis over time. Give me all the protection in the world and I can throw it downfield for all that matters. AS has not proven himself, and I’m not falling into the hype. THAT’S WHY!

          • kgm

            Smith isn’t the best deep passer in the league, but he’s good enough. It wasn’t just in the 2011 Saints playoff game that he proved he could throw deep. The next week against the Giants, he threw a long TD pass to Vernon Davis for over 70 yards. A lot of the problem in San Francisco was that Vernon Davis was their only deep threat. Michael Crabtree doesn’t have great speed, and the rest of their wide receivers were mediocre at best. Smith knows how to run an offense, he’s accurate, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s consistently improved every year he’s been in the league with the exception of when he played through a shoulder injury. He’s plenty good enough to take the Chiefs to the Super Bowl once the team develops and adapts to the new coaching staff. I’m not saying that it will be this year, but I do believe that the playoffs are a possibility given a few breaks and not too many injuries (I don’t have as much confidence in the depth of the roster as I do in the talent of the starters).

          • Brennan Ransdell

            I didn’t say one game. I said one year.

          • Troy Utt

            Stacy I’m not sure what they seeing in-which I am not? I am not disillusioned believing we will win the SB this year, or that Smith is going to blow up all existing passing records! What I do know for a fact is that Alex Smith was the best QB available to run KC’s / Reids hybrid WCO… Not to mention that during camp when not repeatedly drilling either the sideline or endzone, Smith showed he was more than capable of throwing the ball deep, going downfield, & every pass in between!
            Having said that… the system Reid runs is a hybrid WCO, or as you pointed out, the WCO w/ influences from both the spread & pistol. Which tells us the offense is going to continue to take the short & inter-mediate pass’s until such time it deemed it necessary to go downfield or an absolute no-brainer as Smith has been thru his progressions & something was wide open!
            As always… WAR CHIEFS!!!

        • Suzi Conger

          Brennan, as an X-SF9er, you are dead wrong about AS11 and his lack of deep passes as well as his capability

  • jdilla415

    This whole alex smith can’t throw the deep ball myth is ridiculous. Look at the stats. It’s not Smith can’t throw the deep ball, it is he chooses to do so on fewer attempts. When he does choose to throw it deep, his stats are actually on par with the top QB’s.
    Look at his 2011 stats including playoffs of throws 20+ Yards: 21 of 51, 723 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT QB rating of 111.4
    Compare that with Matt Schaub: 14 of 37, 499 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT QB rating of 125.3
    How about Tom Brady: 23 of 73, 746 yards, 10 TD, 4 INT QB rating of 87.7
    Joe Flacco: 25 of 88, 816 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT QB rating of 81.8

    Perception is not reality. Alex Smith’s arm and deep ball are fine. He simply is a calculated, risk adverse quarterback. Meaning, the current game situation must outweigh the risk of throwing it deep. Stop the overreactions. The WR’s will catch plenty of passes. Go Chiefs.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Very well said.

      • jdilla415

        great article by the way. Haven’t heard the air coryell name drop in awhile.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Thanks! I miss those days.

    • Suzi Conger

      Thank you jdilla!!! Well said…

      AS11 has a very accurate strong arm,,, but the OL protection must allow the time needed for receivers to be open, which is a luxury that AS11 has seen little of; ’11 season, SF OL = NFL 29th QB protection, and ’12 , SF OL (under AS11′s tenure) nfl rated 26thTH…7th highest sack/rush/pressure; and shortest time to execute plays/passes…

      Consider, too the ’12 deep pass facts vs ck7 ‘strong-arm mythology’; AS11 = 4 passes over 40+YDs in 8.5 games / ck7 = 4 passes over 40+ yds in 10.5 games! AS11 has a higher /game deep pass average than ‘strong-arm’ ck7.

      As an X-SF9er, I’ve been posting facts vs fiction to dispell the ‘negative ASmith Mythology’ since his March trade
      Appreciate your accurate unbiased post… GO ALEX, GO CHIEFS!!

      • micah stephenson

        I didn’t see much zip on smiths passes nor did I see him push the ball downfield. He was accurate on his dump offs and 5-10 yard passes and I can see how he has never had a 4000 yrd passing season. This is the show me state. I’m still waiting on him to show me.

        • David Blanchard

          Well, he showed you six points. You do realize that in football, points are not awarded with passing yards, right?

        • Harm Williams

          LOL…. Compared to Manning, AS11 lots of zip.

        • Andy

          Is there no pleasing this fan base? Smith did more in one series than any QB we have had in many, many years. Smith has played ONE series, for a TD. Give him a break.

          • micah stephenson

            You do know the saint defense was history making bad last yr don’t you. Lets see what they do against big pat pat and them fri.

          • Andy

            I’m not ripping you. We all have been fed a bunch of BS from past coaches about this and that Chiefs team. This year is different…big. Just the actual, professional head coach, who has actually won…in a tough division. We have a QB who has won, and almost won a Divisional playoff game that he engineered late game drives in. I could go on about a new RT, CB, healthy C, but, I think this year, though probably not a playoff year, will be something we can build on.

  • Deaudrey Dre-Mac MacDonald

    I wouldn’t care if he’s Captain Check down Captain Kangaroo or Captain Crunch as long as he’s Captain Check Mate with playoffs wins and a Superbowl trophy I could care less what’s he’s labeled!!

    • Chris Tarrants

      Insert Captain insaneo also! Had to throw in a waterboy line

  • JordanPollock

    ” I discount double-checked the game tape, and Alex Smith is no Aaron Rodgers.”

    Stacy… that’s the best. lol

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks!

  • Casey Enyeart

    If Alex can manage drives like the one he did on Friday, we will not only win most games, but CONTROL most games. I would love to see drives that last half the quarter and give our defense time to rest. If our D is not on the field the whole game, we will crush people!! Throw all the 10 yard passes you want Alex. Eat up the clock, keep the Manning’s and Brady’s off the field and let’s score points consistently, while our D sits back and chomps at the bit to get back in there and turn the ball over!!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’m curious to see how Smith and the offense will adjust when teams start sitting on those swing passes and TE flats.

      • Calchiefsfan

        That’s what all the naysayers are pointing to, thinking he won’t be up to the task. I believe that D Bowe will shine under those circumstances and earn those big bucks the Chiefs are paying him. Alex will find him and hit him deep!

        • Calchiefsfan

          McCluster might come into play there as well.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I hope you’re right. Defenses will be vulnerable in one way or another. I just hope that when they do start sitting on certain routes that he can make them pay over the middle and deep.

          • Casey Enyeart

            That’s when we whip out the pistol.

          • RepOurChiefs

            Pistol..whip! Ha!

          • Jim Harper

            One of AS real strengths is his intelligence and ability to read defenses so they won’t be able to jump routes. Frankly I don’t get why so many are critical of his ability to throw the deep ball. He can because I have seen him do it. Yes, all of his passes in the last game were short because that is what they were giving him. The deep ball is exciting to watch, but it has a downside. It gets your defense back on the field much quicker. Alex Smith is extremely smart, has an average arm, and rarely turns the ball over. That is also a perfect description of another QB by the name of Joe Montana.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I can’t wait to see him again on Friday night.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Especially against San Francisco, that’s sweet. Plus it’s a real test against a top D. We should see Smith and the 1′s in a couple of series. Maybe they will air it out a little more. I know Reid wants Smith to take more chances down field. At least that’s what he said at the start of practices.

          • micah stephenson

            I said the same thing about Cassel. He can throw it deep but he ain’t accurate deep.

      • micah stephenson

        I was just saying that. The safetys played deep on every single play Friday becuase chiefs wur in the spread. Once they realize spread or not he is not going deep they will start squating on all that short stuff and taking the ball away.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          There will be other options. Defenses can’t take everything away at once. When they start sitting on the shorter stuff, it will widen the seam and also open up the intermediate routes. Question is, will Smith make they pay for cheating up?

      • David Blanchard

        Alex is one of the best in the league at making defenses pay for stacking in the box or blitzing. That’s the idea anyway, is to get the D to press so you can throw over the top and actually score with it. I think the real problem people have with alex is that he is the total opposite of Brett Favre..
        What I mean is that Favre was a cannon armed pain killer addled moron and everybody loved it. He would just sling the ball as hard as he can at ANY receiver. Everyone was open, according to Brett Favre. Check the slow mo on some of his passes and you can literally see him LOOKING AT THE GROUND on the release of his throws. Know what that means? He’s just throwing it as hard as he possibly can, uh, freakin anywhere. We’re talking about a guy here, who got his first starting job at QB without knowing what it meant when the opposing defense would sub out for their nickel defense. Just amazing. But Favre had the IT factor. He was playing in the back yard. He didn’t get frazzled or rattled. He was tough. He became a legend for throwing the last minute rocket for the go ahead TD… Problem is, it’s because of that last second TD everyone would forgive and forget that he threw 2 insanely stupid interceptions prior to that to get their team into that spot in the first place. Check the NFC championship Vikes vs. Saints.. you’ll see, CLASSIC FAAHVRA!!

        Alex Smith is so NOT Brett Favre. He’s cerebral. He understands the game. He has everything under control. He’s always calm and collected. He looks at his receivers when he throws. He doesn’t show his penis to the hired help. He will also NOT throw 4 insanely dumbass interceptions and singlehandedly beat his own team. The downside to that is that he is really not that fun to watch. You’re not going to see rockets away all the time. Almost never. He doesn’t have the IT factor. Everything he does on the field is something he thought about doing beforehand. There’s no improvisation. He’s a QB calculator.. So, even when he’s throwing for 300 plus yards and 3 scores with 99% accuracy it still somehow feels like something is missing. See, Alex tried to be Brett Favre when he was a rookie. He tried to do that because that’s what Mike Nolan wanted him to do. He was trying to please everybody and force every throw. Wouldn’t have been such a bad idea either, except for the fact that he and Frank Gore had just been drafted into a team that had spent the last 2 years getting destroyed by the salary cap. Check out the roster if you don’t believe me. Almost NONE of those guys from the 2005 niners are in the league at all today, much less playing for another team or starting. Adam Snyder and Brandon Lloyd. I’m pretty sure those are the only two.

      • Harm Williams

        It’s called Dex deep on the post. The Bowe show on a 20 yard deep slant finding space, and JC on a 35 yard wheel route after Alex pump fakes to Fasno sitting 5 yards deep in the middle.

    • Suzi Conger

      You are so right Casey! I think you will appreciate the following facts from ’12 season regarding Defense;

      *Under the AS11 leadership, SF D gave up only an average of 8 Pts/game.
      *With ck7 at QB, SF D gave up an average of 17 more pts/game

      Alex has expressed many times that he does not care about his yardage stats…. he cares about Wins! And as an X-SF9er, I can attest that AS has a very strong accurate deep throw when he chooses, Go Chiefs!

      • David Blanchard

        I think you’re stats are being misapplied here. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been an Alex Smith supporter since he was drafted. I have watched every 9er game since 1992. I think people are full of it these days because they sit and stare at fantasy stats and try to judge how good a player is based on that. However, I believe the 9ers sudden downturn in defensive production was more due to the loss of Justin Smith and less due to anything Kaepy or the offense was doing. I’ll give you a case in point. Go back and watch the patriot game from last year. The first have of that game we were handing the pats their lunch. Then.. disaster.. Justin Smith comes out.. defense sucks… Tie game!! Justin comes back in.. we get a touchdown and a few more stops… we win. Check it out, it’s amazing.. That guy is the most underrated player in football IMO. He’s a total wrecking ball on the line and opens it up for Aldon and everyone else to get pressure.

        • Brennan Ransdell

          M-I-Z!

  • JordanPollock

    Fun Fact:
    In 2012, Flowers held opponents to under 20 yards on balls thrown his direction in five separate games, including one against the Broncos during which Peyton Manning completed just one pass in Flowers’ direction. On the year, opponents completed just 40 of 80 passes thrown at Flowers, setting a new career low.

  • paul pace

    Smith obviously is not the best qb in the NFL but I am sure glad the Chiefs have him! San Fran will regret that they let him go one day and we the fans will be grateful that the Chiefs found a way to pick him up. He is a quality qb and has proven that he can take a team to the playoffs. I don’t put much stock in some of the negative comments being posted on this site about him. Everyone has a right to their opinion and some people will never be happy with what the Chiefs do or don’t do. But, I think the Chiefs are going to be much better than last year and we will be able to attribute that, to a large part, to having Smith as our qb.

    • Brennan Ransdell

      I’m glad they have him too! I’m happy, and wish people would quit putting words in my mouth. I’m just saying I would be happier with someone better. Satisfied and elated are two totally different things.

    • Harm Williams

      Smith could be the smartest QB in the NFL however…

  • Calchiefsfan

    Nice article Stacy. While AS11 might not be the best QB in the NFL I believe he is one of the best and definitely good enough to get a team to the Super Bowl and win it.

    I’ve watched Peyton Manning carve up defenses in exactly the same way Smith did to NO on Friday and it is a masterful thing to behold. Manning’s arm wasn’t what it used to be last year, (he claims its stronger this year), and they should have gone to the Super Bowl last year except for a bone headed play by Morris. Alex Smith has a strong enough arm to go deep and I suspect he will when needed. The thing is he plays it safe and as long as that works then fine.

    It appears Reid recognizes that Smith plays it safe and had him going long a lot at the start of the practices, wanting him to get more confidence in going deep. He’s got Bowe out there to make plays, let’s use that to make our offense even more lethal.

    Smith is sooo much better than anything we’ve seen in a long time, no comparison to Cassel. He is much more than just a game manager which we will see this year. I’m really looking forward to having an offense that can score in any situation including opening drives. Until last Friday I had forgotten what that was like.

    • Brennan Ransdell

      Think you’re third paragraph there is gonna be the key. Can Reid help Smith be a better QB? I hope so.

      • Calchiefsfan

        You and me both!

      • Suzi Conger

        Brennan, just for information purposes, it is ‘negative AS Mythology’ that he does not throw deep passes.
        Consider;
        ’12 AS11 = 4 passes over 40+ yds in 8.5 games
        ck7 = 4 passes over 40+ yds in 10.5 !! games

        AS’s ave/game deep passes surpass ‘strong-arm ck7′
        This is just one of many fallacies about AS11…
        SF’s loss, our gain! KCC has the superior QB.. I sure hope our OL can protect AS and afford him the Time needed to execute his great plays/passes

        • Stacy D. Smith

          That stat is misleading. They had the exact same number of attempts.

          What exactly is the argument? That Smith has a stronger arm than Kaepernick? If so, that’s patently false.

          • Jim Harper

            I think what she meant is that Smith is just as capable of completing the deep ball as CK7

        • micah stephenson

          Why did the coach say he is going with kopernick becuase he wanted to open up the passing game more? That makes me feel like if you got a strong arm QB(kopernick) can throw it all over the field and if you have an avg arm QB (Cassel/Smith) you have to try to ten yard pass them to death. After the defenses see Alex ain’t going deep they will cramp down into a 10-15 yard area and start to creat turnovers.

    • Suzi Conger

      Great post Calchiefsfan; In ’11 (and ’12) AS11 would have led SF to the SB if #10Williams had not handed the Win to NY with his two critical fumbles

      Yes, AReid is extremely familiar wth AS11; he has closely followed AS11 and coveted AS as a QB since his Ute days (AR is also close friends with UMeyer). AR and JD knew exactly what QB they wanted and why.
      Thanx for your great input!

      • Calchiefsfan

        I really think Reid is going to take Smith to the next level. I’m sure Reid believes that. Get ready for a fun year Suzi!

    • micah stephenson

      Soon as I seen you comparing Smith to Manning I stopped reading.

  • Hacksaw 46

    Stacy,

    You are just repeating what we heard by , what are they called ,oh yeah the haters, in San Francisco.
    When a real NFL coach finally arrived in SF, all Alex did was win, I beleive that is object in the NFL, win!
    Some of the home fans, I’m a life long 9er fan, were not satified by winning they wanted Big passing yards, I am sure that a lot of those people did not care about wining just yards, too much Madden virtual football.
    Alex’s game is to take long drives, keeps your defense fresh so they can stuff the other teams offense in the last half of the game, not make mistakes and get W s ! All the rest of this stuff, he can’t throw long is B.S.
    Chief people, why do you think there are so many 49er fans commenting and watching the Chielfs this year? I know I am because this guy is what being an NFL QB is all about! Winning!!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’m certainly not a hater of Alex Smith. I’m somewhere in the middle. NFL quarterbacks need to throw the ball deep to keep defenses honest. Arm strength is not one of his long suits. It’s reasonable to have some skepticism about his ability to stretch a defense vertically. I’m trying to present a more realistic set of expectations about Alex Smith and this offense though. He’s not going to be asked to chuck the ball 40 yards downfield as often as people think. Overall… If anything, this is a defense of Alex Smith.

      • Suzi Conger

        Hi Stacy, somewhere ‘in the middle’ seems to be a ‘skeptic’? As you know I’ve been posting little-known-facts to dispel the ‘AS11 Mythology’ since the trade completion in March. I’ve posted some facts regarding AS11′s deep pass capability and SF’s D with AS11 at center vs ‘strong-arm ck7′ at center here at this site.

        Though AS11 is very capable and accurate with his deep passes, he does not care about the ‘spotlight’ of yardage; AS11 cares about Wins
        Thanx for your article

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I’d love to see these facts.

          Whether he cares about the spotlight or not, throwing the ball deep is a necessity in today’s NFL. I’m not an extremist on the issue, I realize the offense will only call for so much of that.I also realize that this is not one of Alex Smith’s strengths. A few here and there will keep defenses honest and I think Alex Smith can handle that.

          • niner559

            We keep talking about the deep ball and alex’s perceived lack of arm strength…just look up all the deep balls alex threw to Vernon Davis. All right in his arms in stride. It’s not that he can’t throw the deep ball, it’s that he plays to win the game, not stats. If you cover the short stuff, he will go intermediate or long. Alex’s true strength is that he keeps the defense off the field with long drives, something CK could not do. But who cares how we get the TD??

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Let’s not pretend that Drew Brees and Tom Brady haven’t won a lot of games throwing the long ball. We keep talking about a vertical passing game as though it’s a bad way to win in the NFL. That’s simply not true.

            For the record though, I was quite pleased with the opening drive of the preseason opener. I don’t care how they score, but stretching a defense will be necessary in 2013 (on occasion).

            One last clarification, I’m NOT in the camp that thinks he can’t throw the ball downfield. I just realize he has only an average NFL arm. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Harm Williams

            Lets not pretend the Tom Brady isn’t also captain check down and hasn’t won most of his career wins the same way the smith detractors are fretting about on this board.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Come again? The Pats run the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system. Entirely different from the WCO we’ll be using in Kansas City.

          • Harm Williams

            They are doing a lot of the same things the WCO does except they are running it from the same formation and they plays / routes change from there. That doesn’t mean that a lot of Tom’s throws aren’t high percentage throws otherwise known as check downs…

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Every offense has high-percentage throws.
            Let’s not pretend that Tom Brady can be reduced to checkdowns though.

          • Harm Williams

            I’m not reducing. I don’t think there is anything wrong with high percentage throws. All the smith detractors do though apparently. Why do you think TE’s are such a necessity in New England. Tom likes the high percentage throws and then burns you when the defense cheats up….

            Not every offense and QB. You didn’t hear me argue for Brees in my retort. Brees is more in the Farve mold as a gun slinger.

        • Brennan Ransdell

          Love it….He needs all the protection in the world and you all are still citing ONE YEAR! Only an insane person is going to say he’s a great qb and capable of consistently throwing the ball down the field. Every dog has his day. I’ll wait and see before I make a call. Where’s the proof beyond a season?

    • Suzi Conger

      Thank you Hacksaw! As an X-SF9er, I totally concur with you. AS11 has a plenty ‘strong-arm’ and his ’12 deep ‘over 40+ yd passes’ actually surpassed ck7…this is actually another one of the many little known facts due to the ‘Negative AS11 Mythology’

      You are so right about the D; ’12 season; SF D gave up only 8 Pts/game ave. with AS11 at center
      SF D gave up ave. of 17 pts more/game with ck7 @ QB

      Alex does not care about ‘the spotlight’ via mega yardage; he only cares about Wins; he truly is a team player

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Kap had ten more pass plays of 20-39 yards than Smith did last year. That’s not me being a hater or a skeptic. That’s a fact.

        • David Blanchard

          That may be. But, the real question here is; Why on Earth does that matter???? Warren Moon and Daunte Culpepper could throw the ball over the nearest highway from inside the stadium. Neither one of them won a superbowl. Joe Montana wasn’t known for throwing deep balls. You should check out his sports illustrated cover where he’s got freakin 4 RINGS on his hand.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Couple things:
            1. Alex Smith is NOT Joe Montana. The fact that he has a similar skillset does not constitute him being a comparable quarterback.

            2. Winning the Super Bowl is a team effort. There are mediocre quarterbacks with rings. There are also legendary quarterbacks without them. That’s not the best barometer.

            The earlier factoid I cited matters in the discussion of who has the better arm between Smith and Kaepernick. Does it have any bearing on whether or not Smith can win a Super Bowl? Absolutely not.

          • Harm Williams

            How do you know he is not Montana? Montana played on a dynasty with multiple HOF’ers…. Free agency destroyed the Dynasty model. Smith played on perhaps on of the worst teams / least talented teams in NFL history in at least 3 of his first 5 years in the league.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Alex Smith has done nothing to prove he’s Joe Montana. Montana threw for more than 20 TD’s six times in his career. He has a career completion rate of 63%. Compare to with less than 60% for AS11. I like Alex Smith. I’m glad he’s here. Let’s not get crazy though.

          • Harm Williams

            Again your comparing apples and oranges. Dynasty age vs free agency age.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Tell me how the contrast between pre and post-unrestricted free agency explains away clear disparities in production between the two quarterbacks. And for your sake, please don’t make Joe Montana a product of his offensive weapons.

          • Harm Williams

            Absolutely not… What I am saying is Brady may have 6 rings had free agency had never come to be. Montana is the best QB in history and without question them most clutch, but it is tough to gauge recent QB’s against him when the players they have built chemistry with or protect them leave them for more money.

            I will say this. Smith had more comebacks (aka being clutch) in a single season than Montana or Young ever had….

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I’d actually put Brady ahead of Montana. JM had the benefit of a HOF WR for most of his career. Brady’s receivers were pedestrian until the back half of his career.

            As for comebacks… Smith is comparable to Young. Montana has three times as many fourth quarter comebacks and game-winning drives.

          • Harm Williams

            Not in a single season. Smith holds the title.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Career comebacks and winning drives be damned?

          • David Blanchard

            It seems like you flow back and forth between team stats and individual stats whenever it happens to suit whatever argument you are trying to make… which is also sort of unclear.. Are you trying to say you don’t think Alex is a good QB? Or is it that he is good, but not as good as Kaep because of the arm strength difference? My earlier point was not to say Alex is as good as Montana.. it was to say that arm strength is an overrated attribute when evaluating NFL QB’s.. and Joe proves that just like Drew Brees and Russel Wilson prove that height is an overrated attribute.. Matt Stafford has all the prototypical gifts you look for in a QB and isn’t nearly as good at the position as all three I just mentioned because he makes crappy decisions and turns the ball over.. and that’s with MEGATRON on the team..

          • Andy

            For crying out loud….Alex Smith is no Matt Cassel (or fill in the blank x-chief QB since Green) either. Smith fits Reids offense perfectly. Probably the toughest adjustment in training camp was that our receivers had to learn how to run after the catch, instead of making acrobatic catches from bad throws.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            You’re right, he’s nothing like Cassel. Smith is much more efficient. Who was making that argument though?

        • Harm Williams

          and Kaep also increased the time the D was on the field with his feast or famine type of play too. Defense production for SF went down and points against went up when Kaep took the field. Kaep also threw to receivers when he had no business doing so because they had a defender tracking them ready to lay wood. Look how bad crabtree got lit up in the NFCCG. I believe 3rd down conversion % also went down with Kaep at the helm. Alex protects his receivers in that regard and he keeps his D fresh by staying out on the field and wearing down the opposing D and not making mistakes. SF will rue the day they got rid of Smith in favor of Kaep when his knee looks like RG3′s after taking off for a scamper one to many times….

          No one in the AS11 camp is arguing that Smith could have done better than Kaep at digging SF out of the point deficit they were in in the Super Bowl. All we are saying is if AS11 was playing, the deficit would have never been there to begin with.

  • ArrowFan

    I agree that we don’t know yet or don’t preceive the true value that AS11 will bring to our team. What I do know is last if lasr year we just had the 25th ranked O we would have tripled our win total. This year we will see how important a QB like AS11 is . You know one who can hit a guy in stride. I don’t care how deep it is down the field.

  • BWrangler

    Good read, Stacy. I like Alex and think he will take this team to a Super Bowl. Not saying this year, but by three years out, the Chiefs should be talked about with the awe and respect they commanded in the early 90′s. More than anything, right now, I want him to retake Arrowhead. No more losses at home!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I hope you’re right!

  • tm1946

    Not sure what Smith is or isn’t but I do not see Denver trading Manning or NO Brees just so KC can have one of the elite QBs. So unless we are going “wildcat” all season, every play…..we might hope Smith does a lot more than Cassel et al. Constant banging on Smith is getting real tiring, could we at least wait for a real game or two before the lynching.

    • Jim Harper

      Here Hear

  • Justin R Groth

    Stacy i have seen a few comments that seem to apply this article was to diss AS11 (that’s his new nickname right). I however saw someone taking a logical, non-emotional take on our new QB. I will say this Alex has had a Very Boom Bust career hopefully for us its Boom. If not I am interested in what R+D do.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’m glad someone said it. If this article is ANYTHING, it’s a defense of Alex Smith. It’s also honest though.

      • Hacksaw 46

        Stacy,

        My point is Alex Smith is a Real good QB, I beleive that is why Reid choose him to come and play for you guys.
        I know that at the end of the day Chief fans are going to be happy to have him running your offense.
        Just give this guy an unbaised chance to play. There will be time at the end of the season for Chief fans to make their own determenation about what kind of QB Alex is, to do so now with out seeing him play for your team seems to be silly.
        As an aside, one of the things that became so difficult for me as a life time 9er fan, saw my first game in 1956, is how shallow and jaded so many 49er fans became. I think Alex became the easy scape goat for the fans disatifaction over losing year after year. You guys know by the comments of so many 9er fans here on your sites that the utter lack of coaching during Alex’s early years at SF (Nolan and Singltary Oh my!) was just devastating for any QB.
        Anyway I think you guys have a complete QB to run your team and you will have success!

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I’m not biased. I presented what I believe to be a balanced view of Alex Smith. He’ll get his chance to play. There’s several years worth of game tape available on the guy though. He didn’t just come into the league. I think we can draw a few conclusions right now.

  • 44WinMag

    It’s pretty sad that Chiefs fans are in their minds morphing the WCO with Marty Ball. WCO is MORE THAN Dump Offs to backs. It relies on timed passes to WIDE RECEIVERS. It is not “Taking what the Defense Gives”. It is dictating to and exploiting the Defense.
    Below is an article written by Bill Walsh, confused Chiefs fans should do themselves a favor and read it:

    http://www.westcoastoffense.com/bill%20walsh%20article%201.htm

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Who’s confused about the system?

  • Danny W

    Alex Smith reminded me of Rich Gannon. A guy who moves well in the pocket and finds a receiver in the open, not too far away but far enough away to hit them in stride and let them make a first down. So far he’s done that anyway. He could regress I suppose. What we’ve been missing so far is exactly that. Someone who can at least complete a pass to a wide receiver, tight end or tail back in stride. That alone will win us four extra games. The fact that he can scramble for some yards will help us out too.
    I would like to see some comeback type throws to receivers about twenty yards down the field on the side line though. I don’t want him to dink and dunk all the stinking time or that will get shut down. Smith has a bit of a reputation for playing it too safe and taking a few too many sacks. I’m not saying I want the guy to go all Bret Farve out there and throw five picks in a game but I would like to see some more confidence in his ability to hit open receivers. He left a few open when he could have hit them and took a slide or a trip out of bounds instead. I’m pleased with what i’ve seen so far but would really like to some improvement thought too. If he can show that then KC will have something to be really excited about. That’s a Rich Gannon pick up not a Grbac or Bono one.

  • DC

    I’m a 49er and an Alex Smith fan, you should not be concerned over deep balls or arms strength, although I do agree that deep passing is not one of his strengths. unless he has changed, you chiefs fans will at some point in the season be frustrated by Alex Smith’s true weakness, overthinking things or brain paralysis, especially if receivers aren’t where the play designs them to be or if everyone’s covered. the only hope is you have multiple receivers he trusts or he won’t throw the ball unless the are wide open. Like I said i’m a Alex Smith fan and I really want to see him do well, that’s why I’m on this site. But if you want to know what to expect from him there you go. Until he learns when to take risks, the rest of the team better be great you the chiefs are going to be champions

  • tm1946

    PS At least when he was “checking down”, he hit the receiver in the numbers. Not on the ground, not behind their back or the defenders back, not over his head by 4 feet. Did not all of us see enough bad passes for the last 4 year??

  • Andy

    WC offense uses the pass like a run. 5-12 yard plays. One of two things will have to happen. We will need Smith to throw deep so as to keep the Defense from jumping routes, and we will need the long pass for two minute drills and such. Until then, whether we chew the clock by running or throwing for 5-12 yards, does not matter to me. Sometimes the problems of scoring fast puts your D back on the field to soon or too fast. I think our D is better than when Trent Green was scoring for us, but as a rule of thumb, offenses try to wear down defenses, not the other way around.

  • sidibeke

    Deep ball is over-rated. Pisses me off when guys in ultimate frisbee only want to huck it down the field. Control, baby, control. Then throw the bomb every now and again; it’s often open then.

  • Hacksaw 46

    Stacy,

    Keep up the good work!
    I ‘m here to watch some good football.

    Go Chiefs!!!!!

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