As we rapidly approach the NFL’s week 7, there are two undefeated teams in the league. Of course anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows they are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Broncos have gotten to their position on the “record breaking” arm of quarterback Peyton Manning and perhaps the best wide receiver corps in the league. The Chiefs, as Addicts know, have won the last six games thanks to a violent and relentless defense who are on track to break a few records themselves.
Because the Chiefs are winning there haven’t been many calls for Alex Smith to head to the bench. 2011 this is not and there aren’t planes buzzing Arrowhead calling for the resignation of quarterback. Aside from the handful of fans who were against the trade from the beginning and continue to voice their level of frustration at the Chiefs rookie general manager, John Dorsey for paying such a hefty price for Smith (a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft and two wins away from a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft) most are content with Smith’s “game manager” style of play. This includes unspectacular statistics such as 221.7 yards per game, 6.2 yards per pass, seven touchdowns and a sub-standard 56.5 percent completion rating.
Since Alex Smith is the “weak link” on this team in many fans’ eyes, I thought I would look at three younger passers who many think are the future of the NFL. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck and San Francisco 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick define the quarterback position for many fans. So, which one would you want under center on your team: Luck, Wilson, Kaepernick or Smith?
I discussed this very topic with the staff here at Arrowhead Addict and believe it or not, most of them picked a quarterback not named Alex Smith. Overwhelmingly, the staff said they would take Andrew Luck. A couple picked Russell Wilson. Nobody picked Colin Kaepernick and I’m pretty sure I’m still the only guy that works here that wants Alex Smith as the quarterback.
In fact, here’s a quote from our former editor, Patrick Allen on the subject:
Andrew Luck. Wilson is also quite good but Luck is playing on a much worse team than Wilson. If Luck was on the Seahawks, they’d be Super Bowl favorites. “
There are a lot of Chiefs fans out there who love the trio of Wilson, Kaepernick and Luck. These three, perhaps more than any other QBs in the league, are looked at as the future of football and quarterback position.
All three have their unique stories.
Andrew Luck was the No. 1 overall pick of last year’s draft. He took the Colts from “worst to first” and didn’t play at all like the rookie he was. Moving forward into this year, he has shown no signs of the “sophomore slump” as he continues to run his team at a high level.
Russell Wilson was the huge surprise of last season, being drafted in the third round and then beating out the “sure starter” Matt Flynn for the starting job in Seattle. Moving into this year, he continues to lead one of the best teams in the NFL on the quest for a Superbowl.
Colin Kaepernick has become quite infamous as well. As he was drafted in 2011, he was the only non-rookie of this group last year when he took the starting quarterback job away from an injured Alex Smith. Through his flashy play and explosive style, many viewed him as the “next superstar” quarterback from San Francisco. He even “led” his team to the Superbowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
So, other than being winning quarterbacks, what else do these men have in common with Alex Smith?
They’re all game managers.
And boom goes the dynamite.
If you look at the numbers and statistics and what all three of these quarterbacks have accomplished this season, they are identical to Smith. Identical. The same. In some cases, a bit less than what Smith has done.
Most of my fellow staff writers and editors here at AA said they would take Andrew Luck, hands down, if given the opportunity for any of these four QBs. This year, Luck’s team is 4-2. Luck has completed 115 passes for a total of 1,346 yards (only 16 more than Smith) and thrown for seven touchdowns. He has completed 61.8 percent of his passes and only thrown three interceptions. His average yards per pass is 7.2. That’s only one yard more than Smith’s average.
Russell Wilson is the next best choice, according to everyone I asked. The NFL is extremely high on this kid, and my Twitter timeline wouldn’t stop gushing about him last night during Thursday Night Football. However, if you look at his stats, it’s much of the same. (Note: these stats are prior to the game last night against the Arizona Cardinals.) Wilson has only thrown for 1,254 yards this season through six games and is averaging only 209 yards per game. He’s thrown 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions and completed 61.4 percent of his passes. His average yards per pass is 7.9, so still in line with the “Alex Smithian” type passing game. Through all this, he managed to lose a game to the Colts, bringing the Seahawks record to 5-1.
The final quarterback in this “Magnificent Three” is Colin Kaepernick. CK7 as he’s affectionately known on the internet, will forever be the “quarterback who stole Alex Smith’s job.” It wasn’t by design, it’s just the way things work out in the business of football. After his first offseason as the starter, many expected Kaepernick to come back this season and destroy the record books and blow up the stats. Not so much.
Kaepernick has completed only 55.9 percent of passes – fewer than Smith. He’s only thrown 1,221 yards – fewer than Smith. He’s thrown eight touchdowns and five interceptions – a much worse ratio than Smith. Finally, his average YPG is 7.6. Being touted as “the next great thing” in the city by the bay, Kaepernick has led his team to a 4-2 start only good for second place in the NFC West.
Perhaps the biggest stat of all, is the “big play” stat. Alex Smith detractors continually complain that he won’t throw the deep ball or come up with a big play. Looking to the other quarterbacks, many say they are all capable of making these plays multiple times a game.
Through six games, Alex Smith has had 18 plays that went for over 20 yards and three that went for over 40. Comparatively, Luck is at 17 and three, Wilson is at 19 and three and Kaepernick is at 17 and four. That’s pretty interesting, considering that most Chiefs fans would take one of these three young men over the guy currently leading the team.
Now, many of you will come back and say: “but these guys are young and have a higher ceiling than Smith.” I can’t argue age. But I’ll retort and say this year, in the systems they’ve all had a full year learning, they’re still putting up the same pedestrian numbers that Smith is. He’s played six games in his system, under his coach. They’ve all had a full year and a full offseason with their teams.
Perhaps it’s the way their teams are built. In addition to being in the upper echelon of NFL teams, the Colts, Seahawks and 49ers have something else in common with the Chiefs. They have a strong running game and stout defenses. That definitely helps take some of the pressure off of your quarterback. Plus, when you’re not playing from behind most of the game, you don’t have to pass as much.
Still, as you look at all four of these teams and their quarterbacks, Smith still has the one stat that sticks out.
There’s a stat you can’t argue with.