Sep 29, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs fans shows their support during the second half of the game against the New York Giants at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3 Things I Think I Think About The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs

The first quarter of the regular season is over and the Kansas City Chiefs still have a donut in the right column of the NFL standings. The last time Kansas City opened 4-0, they were being led by another former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles — Dick Vermeil. There’s plenty I still don’t know about the new-look Chiefs, but here are three things I think I’ve learned about them through the month of September.

1. Two members of the Waiver Septet have become key to Kansas City’s short-term success.

Sean McGrath, affectionately known as “Duck Dynasty,” has been a godsend for Alex Smith and the Chiefs’ offense. Coming into the season, tight end looked to be one of the strongest position groups on the depth chart. That was before the team’s top three tight ends were all sidelined with injuries. Kansas City claimed McGrath off waivers just one month ago. The second-year tight end out of Henderson State came into the NFL in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in two games for the Seattle Seahawks, but failed to record a catch.

McGrath’s filled in admirably for Anthony Fasano the past several weeks. He’s shown the ability to get separation and has run well with the ball in his hands. He had a breakout performance on Sunday afternoon, catching 5 passes for 64 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. His presence and productivity gives the offense another reliable pass-catcher. It also gives his fallen teammates a chance to heal.

Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper is another castoff the Chiefs acquired following the NFL’s final round of cuts. He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th Round of the 2013 NFL Draft (252nd overall). Cooper, like McGrath, has also seen playing time over the past three weeks, but his big opportunity came on Sunday afternoon. He got his chance early in the second quarter when veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson was beaten by Victor Cruz for a 69-yard touchdown. Cooper was targeted a half-dozen times, but surrendered just one reception for nine yards. His performance received a +1.8 grade from Pro Football Focus.

The two of them figure to have their numbers called again next week if there aren’t significant improvements to the injury situations of Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce, and Brandon Flowers. General manager John Dorsey did a masterful job of adding talented players to the bottom of the Chiefs roster. Weathering injuries in the NFL requires quality depth and that’s something Kansas City now has.

2. Alex Smith is getting comfy.

On Sunday, the Chiefs’ first-year quarterback appeared to be more comfortable in this offense than he’s been through the first three weeks of the season. Smith attempted five or six low-percentage passes on Sunday, albeit with mixed results. What’s noteworthy about his performance was his willingness to continue taking chances even after tossing twin interceptions.

The first came on Kansas City’s first drive of the second half. Facing 2nd & 20, Smith fired a pass at Dwayne Bowe on a quick slant. Prince Amukamara got inside position on Bowe and came away with the pick. The second interception came later in the third quarter when Smith threw behind Jamaal Charles on a drag route. The ball went through Charles’ hands, bounced off of Spencer Paysinger’s forearm, ricocheted off of Charles’ leg, and eventually fell into the arms of Antrell Rolle.

Smith wasn’t shaken by his earlier miscues. On a 3rd & 9 play with 3 minutes to play in regulation, Alex Smith threw into a tight window on a back shoulder throw to Dwayne Bowe (he broke free from Terrell Thomas and went on to score). He also took vertical shots on pass plays to Kevin Brock (a 25-yard completion) and Donnie Avery up the left sideline (long incompletion). Pressing the issue downfield should continue and become a bigger part of Reid’s offense as the season progresses.

3. Sean Smith was an excellent acquisition. 

Do you remember seven months ago when I said that signing free agent cornerback Sean Smith should be one of the team’s top priorities? If not, I’ll spare you a 1700-word read:

26-year old Sean Smith will be an attractive option in free agency. The kid is 6’3″, weighs 218 pounds, and has a 40 time that hovers in the mid-4.4 range. Smith is also durable, making 32 consecutive starts for the Dolphins the past two seasons. Miami’s in great position to retain Smith, but it’s been reported that they may not be keen on his contract expectations. There will be plenty of help available in free agency at the Corner position, but Smith is still likely to find a team willing to pay him what he wants. He’s an ascending young player who has made a name for himself by consistently drawing (and handling) an offense’s #1 receiver.

Thus far, he’s been the Chiefs’ best free agent signing not named Alex Smith. Coming into Sunday’s game, Smith had allowed only 7 catches in 17 plays where he was targeted. He’s flashed the ability to be a shutdown corner at times this season (ask Riley Cooper). Having him in Kansas City, gives defensive coordinator Bob Sutton options and the freedom to play a significant amount of man coverage (where Smith thrives). Smith should be assigned to teams’ #1 receivers until Flowers returns. Dunta Robinson’s declining skill set makes him a liability in press coverage.

If Smith continues to play this well, he’ll turn out to be one of the biggest steals in free agency for 2013. John Dorsey brought 26-year old Smith to Kansas City on a modest three-year, $18 million dollar deal. Chiefs Kingdom can finally move on from the loss of Brandon Carr. Eat your heart out, Stanford Routt.

It’s likely that we’ll revisit “Things I Think I Think” as the season wears on. That is until I get a cease and desist letter from SI’s Peter King. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about the team now that the first quarter of the season is over. Have your take below in the comments section. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • berttheclock

    Man, is it hard to post over at Arrowhead Pride.

    That said, it brings up how well Dorsey evaluates talent. His waiver wire pickups after training camp were superb. Ron Parker had a great strip and plays well on Special Teams. McGrath and Cooper have been huge. Dezmon Moses is playing well on ST. But, this brings me to a point I noticed in checking out the standings of MLB. Look at several teams which, either, won their respective divisions or made the playoffs or even vastly improved and you will find they are among the lowest payroll teams in MLB. Many of the highly paid teams have washed out. The huge difference is player evaluation by their respective GMs.

    Now, the Chiefs are far from cheap and Mr Hunt has been opening the vault. But, this vast improvement of the Chiefs is not about just hurling money asunder. It is due to the evaluation by Dorsey and his staff. Yes, Reid has changed the atmosphere and he has brought in excellent assistant coaches, but, Dorsey and his crew have supplied Reid, Taub, and the DCs and OCs with new talent who fit the new system. Plus, look at Dorsey. Last week, he worked out several other players in case he needed to add anyone down the line. Great to see Dorsey’s door open and the light always brightly shining as he keeps working to make the Chiefs even better.

    Articles in the Seattle Times spoke of McGrath being well liked by other Seahawk players. It must be very refreshing for the veterans to see such as McGrath come into the locker room. That locker room must be a very happy place this season.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’m excited about the Dezman Moses acquisition. He’s only playing ST now, but he may later figure into that MLB conversation. He played well in spot duty for Green Bay last year.

      • berttheclock

        I read a comment from the Green Bay Gazette that he had been expected to make their roster, but, turf toe held him back in training camp.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He 4 sacks last season in spot duty. Kid can play.

  • berttheclock

    Was it my bleary eyes or did Avery hold up just a nano-second on his fly pattern? It looked as though he expected the pass to be coming in a bit closer. But, that near miss did raise huge expectations of future TDs. I had kept wanting to see Avery used on a fly pattern. One thing about the CB who defended Avery. He jammed him every time Avery left the line of scrimmage and was on him like a glove. It was classic bump and run.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I thought the same thing. Avery might’ve been conservative because he’s unfamiliar with how deep Smith can throw the ball.

      • hipnetic

        I think you nailed it there. I watched that play and thought Avery got a bit of bumping, but he also didn’t seem to go full-speed. Then, he saw that the ball was headed deeper but by then it was too late for him to catch up to it. Had he run full-speed from the start, I think it would have been a TD.

    • Chris Tarrants

      Personally I thought that Avery was getting bumped a lot past the five yard line without a single flag being thrown

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I felt the same way, but there wasn’t anything over-the-top so I knew there’d be no flag.

  • ArrowFan

    I’m wondering if, Romeo’s D would have been this good with Poe’s new dominance? I wonder how long we are going to keep our current coaching staff in place. Our punter is getting hit to much.

    Things I do know, I’m happy BA is still a Chief, I’m happy AS11 is a Chief, I’m happy Dorsey is our GM and that Reid is our coach. Philly is going to be watching Reid from their living rooms come playoff time for awhile.

    • Chris Tarrants

      Colqiutt has only been hit once. He had a blocked punt the same week that we cut half the special teamers and brought in a bunch of new faces. They are coming together now. Patience is a godsend

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Would’ve been better, but still not as good. 2-gap allows offenses to dictate to you. 1-gap dictates to offenses with pressure. Romeo’s the old defensive guard. Sutton’s in keeping with the new pass-heavy NFL.

    • BigGil

      Romeo’s D required the NT to stand-up his blocker at the line, then diagnose whether it was a run out pass and, if pass, then try to generate pressure (after the NT already lost the advantage of power/leverage coming out of his stance). That Sutton runs a more aggressive D (that allows the NT to use his force from the get go) to a large part of why Poe is exhibiting so much dominance this year. The downside is that this allows are greater chance for RBs to get fairly successful runs up the gut (as we have seen numerous times thus far). Having guys like DJ and Berry to roam and keep an eye on that help mitigate the weakness, so the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

      • steve james

        Exactly different jobs for most of the defense. Berry was midfield or deeper and never blitzed with Romeo he lives close to the line spying now and waiting to pound the rb. I am curious if Sutton changed his scheme to fit these players or if he coached them to his scheme. The way they are excelling I think he is smart enough to coach to each players strengths and conform to minimize their weakness. Pretty much what you just said. I think all of these coaches can read their respective areas talent much better than anyone before and Dorsey has fostered an environment that allows them all to blossom. They are making him look like a talent scouting genius when I bet every coach had a wish list. He is just smart enough to get it done. Not to take away from his obvious talent scouting ability.

    • BigGil

      I live in central Pennsylvania, asking Eagles fans what they think of Chip Kelly and then pointing out my Chiefs’ success thus far under Reid has become a new favorite pastime… because I’m evil apparently… :-)


    Of the many pluses that can be seen on the Chiefs, it all started at the top. I don’t know exactly how Hunt finally came to the realization that huge and sweeping changes were needed immediately, but how in the world was he able to select exactly the right people to implement those changes. Once he was able to acquire the right head coach in Andy Reid, things really came together with the addition of John Dorsey. As we all know, Scott Pioli never looked past getting his front line players on the team. He never had any reliable back-ups to fill in when injuries took there toll. Dorsey has done a magnificent job in filling out this roster with players that can be counted on not only come in and play, but play to the point that they are not a detriment to the team. I know it’s early, and as has been pointed out we have beaten not what what would be considered top tier teams. But 4 and 0 is still 4 and 0. Every one in Chiefs Nation can look forward as Reid and the coaching staff continue to show progress with the team that Dorsey has assembled.

    • Chris Tarrants

      I’m going to guess that it had something to do with 20,000 black shirts in arrowhead with planes flying banners over the stadium mixed with people refusing to renew their season tickets that got the attention of the Hunt family. They legally own the chiefs but they belong to us the fans

      • Stacy D. Smith

        And another season where the team lost 12 games under that old regime. Losing 12 games in a season TWICE in five years? Yep. Time to clean house.

      • TAZMOSIS

        Ya’ think! Good call.

  • Chris Tarrants

    Stacey, just out of curiosity do you think Routt would have been a good corner with this regime? He had good years in Oakland. Water under the bridge either. I also think Robinson did a good job Sunday, similar to flowers when Bryant burned him, they both made adjustments and they didn’t give up the big play after that

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I think he would’ve been better had we been playing more man coverage (like we are now).

    • berttheclock

      He was a better CB for Oakland when he was their Number 2 guy. After Nnambi left, he was elevated and Al D gave him a huge raise. But, when, he had to cover the Number 1 receivers for the other teams, he started getting flags.

      However, one telling point against him is after the Chiefs cut him, no other NFL team has picked him up. For whatever reason, he appears to have lost a step. Actually, on a separate side of him, I know a very good friend who tried to help him relocate to KC. She said he was impossible to deal with as he came in with a huge chip on his shoulder and didn’t trust anyone. This same lady said in dealing with McCluster and his girl friend, they were two of the nicest people she had ever met.

  • Kyle ferguson

    Funny haven’t seen any Alex smith haters recently, I didn’t like the trade at first, started to warm up to it by camp was excited about him taking the field by week one and now I think for two second round picks he is a steal. He fits perfect with this team and progresses each week and although the offense hasn’t played a full 4 quarts IMO the are always ready to put a to grind it out and get the W at the end of the game. And I think that is a reflection of Alex’s leadership. After four games I believe this team will only get better and will be the type of team that can make a strong push come January, just look at the teams to do it in recent memory the giants, steelers, ravens, and even the ninners last year (even though they didn’t win it all). All these teams made a run with solid defensive play, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but I don’t see a clear afc Super Bowl team right now especial considering Payton doesn’t play well in the playoffs. It’s wide open once the postseason starts and these team is built like a team that has a shot. Well get to know them better these next 3 weeks with a division rival and two teams pushing for wildcard spots on the schedual. We have the number one scoring d in the league and a qb who just wins and I honestly think we could bring the Lamar hunt trophy back to KC this year and maybe even a second Lombardi. Call me crazy but I’m glad to be drunk off koolaid rather than jumping off the liberty memorial after the first for weeks of the season

  • Michael Shaw

    Another nice post Stacy!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, Michael!

  • Calchiefsfan

    You’re right on Stacy. Do you think Cooper might replace Robinson as the #3CB? I know it’s only one game but this kid is a baller!

    Got to love what Dorsey is doing. Talk about an upgrade. Most of us believed that the way to fix the Chiefs was get a new HC and a QB. We forgot to add GM. What a difference! Can’t even begin to imagine what this team is going to look like in 3 years.

    I’ve learned Sutton is one heck of a DC. I didn’t have high expectations for him from the start. I actually thought that Reid had made a bad choice in Sutton. Boy was I wrong! And happy to say it. This D is what gives me confidence that the Chiefs are the real deal. I see playoffs plus a win or two this year.

  • [email protected]

    I have to hand it to Dorsey he has come up very big in his first year. Teams always talk about the next man up when an injury rolls around. He has found guys I’ve never heard of to fill spots when guys get hurt. Yet it seem like these guys could be starters they performed so well. Cooper and McGrath have been great.
    I am still worried why it is so hard for us to run the ball early in the game and why Bowe gets so few looks. They are paying him too much money for 1 or 2 catches a game. I am hoping it is a trust/chemistry thing with Smith that works it self out sooner rather then later.
    Good read now bring on the Titans!

    • steve james

      Why do you think Bowe was smiling a couple weeks ago? He has bought into the team concept and knows that he will draw the double teams opening up Avery etc and still help with the team win even with one or two catches a game. He is earning his money. Make no mistake a lesser receiver that they would put into man to man wouldn’t get Avery his wide open looks. The run game as Reid is using it is just to establish enough respect early in the game to open up the passing game. Get some points on the board then run clock with the run game. Keep Charles fresh for the second half when he can do more damage with a wore down defense. It is very obvious to me what he is doing and I am a dumb fan. It must be frustrating as heKK for the opposing defensive coordinators when they know what he is doing but Smith is just too good and finds the open man on whatever look they give him. Carve them up! That and Sutton is a master at calling defensive plays. That swinging gate stop against the Eagles was absolutely stunning to me. How long has it been that we have had a defense that was a step ahead of the opposing offense, much less coached well enough to execute. I do think we will have a heck of a game with the Texans it will take a flawless game from everyone to get over that hump. I just watched that game and they owned the Seahawks most of the game. In case you didn’t know it the Seahawks are a heKK of a good team and without a doubt our match on defense and better than use with a crazy gifted quarterback on offense. Props to special teams you can’t understate what they have done. When the offense catches up to the rest of the team we will have real depth and ability to go deep in the playoffs. I hope that Manning pulls a Manning and chokes again. I would love to go deeper in the playoffs than Manning and horse face. My prediction if we get our Tightends back and gelled. Sweep Radiers. Split San Diego and Denver, loose to Texans and Seahawks. Should be good enough to get into the dance. Way Way better than I every hoped for. Doresy, pay Reid now and lock him up for 10 years with another 5 year option, make Sutton and Toub deals they can’t refuse for the next five and lets unseat the Cowboys as an NFL Dynasty! GO CHIEFS!! GO BIG RED!!

      • BigGil

        Agree with you on Bowe and his significance to the offense. But if Sunday’s game was any indication, AS11 might throw his way more now despite his tight coverage (just a sign that the offense is starting to gel more, and part of what I thought displayed a significant leap in the offense’s progression… all aspects of the team improved each week in my eyes, but the offense really seemed to take a larger step this last game compared to Week 1-2 & 2-3).

        Also, I think I vaguely recall reading a quite from Bowe somewhere where he said something to the effect of “he’s put up big personal stats in the past, and even though he isn’t exactly doing that now, he’s happy to be a part of helping the team put up the most important stats: wins”. While I earnestly believe he’s stoked to be a part of a winning team, I also have to acknowledge that this is coming after getting a big payday, and should maybe be taken with a grain of salt.

      • Suzi Conger

        Very well said Steve

      • steve james

        Stupid me brain fart on Seahawks. Igot bbeating them on decibels at the Raiders game on the brain.

  • Mark Bustamante

    Me Dorsey is one of the BEST acquisitions that the CHIEFS made this past off season. He is the GM OF THE YEAR!!!! Alex Smith, Sean Smith, Sean McGrath and Marcus Cooper were steals. Throw in Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray and he is a genius.

  • Danny W

    It did seem Smith finally settled down, had a good game. I don’t care about the picks he let the ball go.