Hey Alex, Can We Talk?

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The NFL has reached its tenth week and your Kansas City Chiefs are still undefeated. Kansas City is perfect through nine games. They’ll stay that way for at least 12 more days. In case you’ve been in hiding, the Chiefs’ next game is with the Broncos at Sports Authority Field on November 17th. This week, they’re sharing a bye with the Browns, Patriots, and Jets. Sunday’s 23-13 road win over the Buffalo Bills was a fitting end to the first half of their regular season schedule.

Defensively, the Chiefs have the league’s best defense in terms of scoring. They’re surrendering just 12.3 points per game. No opposing team has posted more than 17 points all season long. No defense has sacked the quarterback as often as Kansas City (36 times). No defense has taken the ball away more than Kansas City (23 times). Couple that with being 8th in total defense and 3rd in pass defense and you’ve got the best defensive unit in the NFL. What could I possibly have to complain about this week? I’m glad you asked.

I told myself I’d reserve judgment of quarterback Alex Smith until the midway point of the season. It’d be dishonest of me to suggest I’ve been fully committed to that mission. I’ll concede that I’ve chided the nine-year veteran along the way. Today, I’m rolling my sleeves up and refusing to pull punches. It’s time for the unadulterated truth about Alex Smith!

Truth is, he’s actually a good quarterback that plays a style of football conducive to winning lots of games. Smith is 28-5-1 as a starting quarterback since 2011. It’s tough to argue with that kind of success. I’m prepared to plead my case anyway. When Kansas City’s season resumes, they’ll face much tougher opponents the second half of the season. Navigating the back half of that schedule is going to require a bit from more from KC’s transplanted signal caller.

Here are the areas where Alex Smith can improve:

1. Hit open receivers. 

Accuracy was touted as one of Alex Smith’s biggest selling points in the offseason. We were told, time and again, that his 70% completion rate in 2012 was a sure sign that he’d turned the corner in the NFL. I was one such person making that case. For the past several weeks, he simply hasn’t been as sharp. Smith is typically on the money on short and intermediate routes, but lately he’s had trouble with high-percentage throws. Balls that should be placed out in front of receivers have routinely been thrown to the back shoulder or completely underthrown.

There’s been no bigger issue than the points the Chiefs have failed to score due to Smith missing open receivers down the field. I can immediately recall about five plays that would’ve resulted in touchdowns had the ball been put in the right spot. The Chiefs’ next three opponents have scoring averages of 42.9, 24, and 25.4 points per game. Leaving points on the field is a good way to lose pole position in the AFC playoff race.

Kansas City has at least three offensive weapons who can score from anywhere on the field (Charles, McCluster, and Avery). They can only do that if Smith hits them in stride. Yards after the catch are vital in Reid’s WCO system. The Chiefs’ offense needs Smith to return to early season form.

2. Make quicker decisions in the pocket.

Each NFL season, there are typically three or four offensive opportunities missed that stay with me throughout the season. It can be tough for impassioned members of Chiefs Kingdom to forget those miscues. That’s what a 20-year playoff drought will do to you. Do you see what you did to this fanbase, Carl/Scott? Your failings turned Chiefs fans into unforgiving, grudge-holding brooders. You’ll have to pardon the tangeant, I had a moment. Where was I? Ah yes, Alex Smith’s “Greatest Misses”…

Does anyone recall the goalline play where Alex Smith made a late decision to throw to Sean McGrath in the back of the Texans’ end zone? I must’ve argued about that play for four days following the game. Despite the victory, I recognized that play as emblematic of Smith’s tendency to overthink things. Being an intelligent quarterback is a good thing in the NFL, but there are times when you have to make plays purely on instinct.

The typical pocket in the NFL closes in less than five seconds. The average linebacker or defensiveback can cover 10-15 yards in half as much time. You rarely have the opportunity to assess multiple options on a given play. Smith cost the Chiefs a touchdown because he tried to scramble for the corner of the end zone. When he realized the two defenders closing in on him would prevent that from happening, he threw to McGrath, but he was already out of room and unable to get two feet in bounds (despite making the catch). Good defenses shrink options quickly for quarterbacks in this league. The back half of this schedule demands quicker decisions from Alex Smith.

3. Take more chances down the field.

Big offensive chunks keep defenses honest in the NFL. The last several weeks, I’ve noticed that defensivebacks seem to be sitting on underneath routes. The quick slants that were so effective a month ago, aren’t yielding as many big plays. Defensive coordinators are cheating up because they no respect for the Chiefs’ ability to throw the ball deep.

Smith seems to have gotten much more comfortable with Dwayne Bowe over the past three games. Over that stretch, he has 13 catches (the highest three-game total of the season). Bowe had a season-high 7 catches on Sunday in Orchard Park. Kansas City will need even more from the Smith-Bowe connection as November wears on. Bowe has the 3rd-highest yard per catch average on the team. His ability to high-point the ball and use his body to seal off defenders makes him the safest downfield option available. If Smith truly wants to minimize the possibility of turning the ball over with deep throws, he should make Bowe his #1 option when he does go vertical.

Donnie Avery’s proven his value to this offense as well. How many times has he beaten a defender deep down the sideline? How many times has he taken a short slant up the field to convert a 3rd-and-long play? His breakaway speed helps the Chiefs’ offense stretch the field, but he’s a different kind of receiver. Bowe’s 3 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Avery. He doesn’t need a perfectly thrown ball because he’s a physical receiver who can fight for position and break tackles.

Avery just isn’t going to break many tackles. He’s most effective when he has space to operate. If you put a ball out in front of Avery, he’s as dangerous as most anyone on the offensive side of the ball. If you throw into a tight window to Avery, you risk a red zone fumble (like the one in the game with Oakland). I think the same is true of Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles. Give them a little room and they’ll have a chance to take it the distance.

If Alex Smith can shore these three things up, I think the offense will have a good chance to increase their scoring average the rest of the way. Before anyone gets started, I’m not laying all of Kansas City’s offensive woes at Alex Smith’s feet. He’s been a big part of the turnaround thus far. The Chiefs just need him to be a bit more than the guy who doesn’t turn the ball over. I’m not sure that simply avoiding negative plays is enough if the Chiefs want to stay atop the AFC.

Am I overreacting with these criticisms of Alex Smith or have you felt the same way about him? Are there other areas where he needs to improve to help this team make noise down the stretch? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support!

Until next time, Addicts!

 

 

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Jarad

    SPOT ON!! The improvement from last years QB situation is huge, but that doesn’t mean it cant improve more. With the opponents getting much better (offensively) in the last 7 games, Smith and the offense need to make those improvements you pointed out. Great Read! LETS GO CHIEFS!!! Im ready for some Special Teams TDs!!!

  • Ed

    Great post but I am no football guru but would like to hear from addicts if the OL has something to do with this also. It seems Alex is never in the pocket. He seems to run left or right looking for reciever. I have seen Hudson getting rolled over in the Houston game and don’t know if Allen is keeping up. We know Fisher thus far is a below RT. SO, Maybe they are too young. Regardless, they have had 9 games to figure the offense out. Listen, Baltimore won their 2000 SB with Defense. Trent+Smith. Both were similar. I am in Colorado and think we can keep the Donkey game close. Would like to here from Addicts on OL. GO CHIEFS!!!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      There are plenty of other factors, but these three things have consistently been problematic and I’m not sure they can be pinned on playcalling or protection.

  • phantomebb

    I have to totally disagree with you on most points. The chiefs recivers are in the top 5 in drops and the o line is in the top 5 in pressures allowed. Add in the fact there is no consistent big playmaker that has emerged and his stats become understandable.

    1. We knew his completion % would go down in Andy Reids system and drops and pressures dont help.

    2. How is he suppose to make quicker decisions, he isnt a one read qb he finds the open guy, and with unblocked d linemen coming in its kinda hard.

    3. Ive seen a least 5 catchable deep balls were either someone dropped it or the receiver just couldnt beat his guy to get it. Also its hard to throw deep with a guy in ur face after 2 seconds.

    • Curtis

      Sadly, I have to agree with you Phantomebb. I would add to what you said that Andy Reid does the playcalling. Not Alex. That could be your 4th point.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I don’t recall my having a complaint about playcalling.

        • Curtis

          That was more in response to the, “Take more chances down the field.” Not really up to him. More up to the playcalling.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I’d venture to guess that his reads are rarely pre-determined. He has guys downfield all the time. Mind you, I’m not a hardcore critic that needs to see him throw 40 yards down the field to be satisfied. 20-39 is a big play and fine by me too.

          • Curtis

            Agreed sir. You’re probably right. I just know that Reid’s system is very short play based. Would love to see him get down the field more with the ball.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            The offense prefers short and intermediate throws, but there are still routes that extend beyond 10-15 yards.

      • berttheclock

        But, Alex is allowed to call audibles, something of which Al Saunders refused to allow Trent Green.

    • Jarad

      Andy Reids offense is taylored for high completion percentages. Short to intermediate routes should have a % near 70.

      • phantomebb

        Except when you call passes 75% of the time then you become predictable. Add that in with bad o line and reciver play you get bad completion %

        • Jarad

          WR play has def been an issue. Its a combination of multiple things that are hurting the offense, but many times, a good QB can mask those things

          • Michael Shaw

            Brady couldn’t at the beginning of the season. QB’s only get good stats when their WR’s aren’t dropping easy passes. I think our WR’s are better than what Brady had, until Gronk came back of course. He is a beast!!

          • berttheclock

            The Pats lead the NFL in 29 dropped passes.

          • phantomebb

            I agree and what im saying is Alex is a good qb hes not top 5 but is top 10. Hes help mask an offense so bad it ranks with teams not even close to .500.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          The predictability comes from never throwing the ball downfield. Defenses are now sitting on those routes underneath. It’s time for Alex to start taking advantage of single coverage. At least with Bowe. Those quick slants were deadly earlier in the year. Now, not so much. Slants are almost impossible to defend when the ball is put in the right place. Thing is, if there’s no room to operate, it’s going to result in 6 yards. If you can keep defenses from cheating up to protect them, they go for 15-25 (with guys like Avery).

          • phantomebb

            Slants are hard to defend ur right, unless linemen get in that passing lane and we all know that happens way to much

          • Tony Parker

            You are so correct about that Stacy, too many times have I seen a guy get open and Smith throws to someone covered instead. dropped passes will continue throwing into coverage, hit the open guy, how can u not see him, not always is there pressure in his face. If you don’t force the D to back off some the offensive woes will continue to get worse. As great as our D is, you cannot expect them to win every game for you. We have some of the quickest receivers in the game, utilize them and hit them in the open.

      • berttheclock

        Then, please, explain Vick’s 58.1 % and Nick Foles 60.8 % from last season with the Eagles.

        • Jarad

          They arent good QBs.Explained! Everyone and their dogs know Vick isnt an accurate QB.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      There were three main points to this piece. It wasn’t strictly about overall completion percentage of his ability to go through his progressions. I looked specifically at his tendency to miss open receivers down the field (a criticism that has followed him throughout his career), how he relies too much on his football IQ (which often causes him to hesitate), and his reluctance to throw vertically. Those are all well-documented criticisms that are pretty well substantiated.

      Drops don’t excuse missing wide open receivers.

      • phantomebb

        No they dont but the way people beat Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees is to hit them over amd over and they start throwing bad passes. The amount of hits Smith has taken in his career is ridiculous.

        • berttheclock

          Actually, the high number of hits occurred in his first 3 seasons with the Niners and here.

          • phantomebb

            As of week 8 the chiefs had given up 119 pressures in 315 dropbacks thats 37% and terrible. Also as of week 8 smith had been hit 39 times 19 more than Philip rivers.

      • Michael Shaw

        Reach, this is true, but a doesn’t a QB’s mechanics get worse as they try to hurry throws due to pressure? I am likely wrong, but it seems to me that the OL play and the WR’s dropping balls also has a detrimental effect to everything you were pointing out as AS’s flaws. As the Dexter play in Buffalo proves, if he has the time, he can make those throws. In the game against the Browns, I think it was Avery, who had a DB beat down the left sideline and Alex had to step up to avoid pressure and that, to me, seemed to cause him to throw the ball deeper than he had to resulting in overthrowing a virtually wide open Avery.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          If he were only missing receivers when he’s under pressure I could understand, but even then… Quarterbacks get paid to hit receivers when they’re under pressure. If pressure were all it took, no one would ever excel at the position. You have to make teams pay for blitzing. You do that by hitting the open man (especially downfield). That’s a quick way to get them to to back off.

        • berttheclock

          On one other miss to Avery and that one was by inches, Avery held up momentarily. In SF for his last two years of play, he had the luxury of an excellent offensive line combined with a feared running attack which helped play action and the time to work with his receivers over that span. Just showing up at OTA, St Joe and 8 games isn’t really enough time to get your timing down with receivers, especially, when, Allen and Hudson can not block and the pass blocking of Eric Fisher has been a work in progress.

          • phantomebb

            Actually the fact that SF had a great offensive line is a bit of a myth. In 2011 SF was ranked 25th in pass protection and 21st in run in 2012 they were ranked 29th in pass protection (that includes Colin Kapernick running around buying time inflating the stats) and 1st in run as per http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol2011

            These stats don’t tell the whole story but they put a real dent in the broadcaster ridiculousness that is ,” Oh the 49ers have the best offensive line in football” the real difference between the Chiefs of now and the 49ers in the last couple of years is a explosive playmaker that is Vernon Davis. Also the 2012 49ers had a great wide receiver core.

    • berttheclock

      KC is tied for fifth with Buffalo with 20 dropped passes a piece. Charles leads the Chiefs with 9 of those. Terrible, why how could we possibly win anything with all of those. BTW, guess which team is only one behind the Chiefs and which team leads the league in dropped passes. If you correctly guessed Denver at 19 and New England at 27, you would be correct. Something must be done with both Brady and Peyton.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Missing open receivers and drops are two different issues.
        One of them is the fault of the quarterback. The other? The wide receivers.

        • berttheclock

          I really understand your concern. However, my concern is healing and practicing during the Bye period. I really want to enjoy this unbelievable nine game win streak and my worries, if any, will commence following the meeting with the Broncos. For myself, this is not a time for angst. Winning teams begin their ascent in December. This is still a time for coming together and meshing as units. I am not going to worry about what has been done in the first 9 games. I do have confidence in the teaching abilities of Andy Reid and his excellent assistants. One major difference with this team is how they improve in the respective 4 quarters of play. I expect the same with the remaining 7 games.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            The gap between concern and angst is big and wide, my friend.

      • phantomebb

        Its about drop %. Of course denver has more drops they have more throws. And I do agree before gronk got back the new england pass catchers were terrible. Charles leads the team jn catches so of course he leads in drops. Idk what ur point was.

  • micah stephenson

    Cue the Alex Smith Sucks comments from Micah!!! Lol

    • Michael Shaw

      Let me guess, you think Geno Smith would have done better??? Now cue the NO HE WOULDN’T have comments because he turns the ball over as much as he gets it into the endzone!!!

      • micah stephenson

        I’ve ALWAYS said Alex wud b better than Geno this yr. But what about next yr? Geno is getting better. Alex is getting worse.

        • Michael Shaw

          I am not so sure about that Micah, I thought you have been complaining about Alex all year? Maybe I am wrong…..it happens!! LOL!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’ve been waiting patiently!

  • chris

    The 3 fames before the bills game . Overthrew a wide open receiver down the field, againat the bills he overthrew fasano when he was open on an intermediate route. However, he had at least 2 nice looking passes deep that were dropped by mccluster qnd caught one hanfed by bowe out of bounce (3rd and 27 beginning of second quarter, I honestly thought it was real close to pass interference, the defender had bowes left arm and I fully believe that if bowe couldve made the catch in bounce had he been able to catch the ball naturally)

    • phantomebb

      Bowe didn’t have a clue were the sideline was tho. Plus hes suppose to be able to fight through light pi

      • chris

        Im not to upset by the noncall it was pretty good coverage but the pass was nearly perfect… the chiefs have been taking more and more shots down the field and smith is gettin his having better downfield accuracy. More and more each week… I was just saying that I think the chiefs are about to have a passing game and thatll open up the running game which is ridiculous to think about considering Charles you’d one of the top rushers in the league. . By playoff time the chiefs will be a better rounded more complete team… it good to know that the 9-0 chiefs can, and I believe they will, get much better

  • Priest4Prez

    I’m patiently waiting for that Alex Smith who was slinging it down the field against the Saints a couple years ago. I put a lot of this on pathetic play calling; really it hasn’t been impressive or acceptable. I’m still waiting for the best to come from this offense; hopefully it shows

  • chris

    Furthermore, I thibk our players will be mentally focused against the donkeys ab d will get a few of the same oppertunities and not make mistakes

  • Michael Shaw

    Everyone has some good points. REACH my man, I feel your frustration, but as some have already stated, Alex has hit guys perfectly and they just dropped the ball. I saw two major examples of this in Buffalo with Dex and DBowe. I know there have also been plays where Alex throws the ball way in front of the receiver and it looks like he was pressured to throw sooner than he wanted to and maybe overcompensated with more heat on the ball, which caused it to sail on him. I am, of course, concerned about the lack of completed deep balls, but that was something we were warned about when we first heard he was coming to KC, so why is everyone up in arms about it???

    There is another point I want to bring up………….Is it possible that Andy Reid has kept a LOT of plays out of the current 9 game stretch on purpose?! We all know that teams scout each other during the season, so is it possible that some of the “bombs over baghdad” plays that DBowe referred to in the preseason have not been shown yet and saved for the next 7 games we play??? I mean after all, why give division rivals a look at our best plays if we really don’t need to?? The play to Dexter on Sunday really ticked me off and you could see in Dex’s reaction that he KNEW he blew a TD for the team. Bowe did the same thing on a potential first down play that he bobbled and dropped. One of two problems I have with Alex in week 9 was 1. He threw a ball down the sideline to DBowe, who actually caught the ball, but because of the trajectory of the throw, the ball was out of bounds and couldn’t have been caught by DBowe or the great Megatron. I think that play there personifies the play of Alex Smith for this team. He is so concerned about turning the ball over, that he is over thinking some throws, when he should just be letting it rip. If he had thrown the ball more to the inside and up a yard or two further, DBowe likely gets a huge gain or maybe ever a TD as he was in front of the Defender and had to stop to actually make a play on the ball as it was going out of bounds. 2. He waited too long to run. A couple of the sacks he took in that game were simply due to him not seeing the rush was too much for his line and he didn’t do his usual and get out and run for a short gain fast enough. Another example of him trying to think too much maybe.

    BOTTOM LINE: The offensive line has been down right offensive. Either they need to sit Fisher and let Stephenson or one of the other veteran guys play RT or they need to start leaving a TE on that side of the field more often than they do. I have been unimpressed with Branden Albert. I hope he doesn’t think his current play warrants a big contract, because it doesn’t. IF he wants top LT money then I shouldn’t see as many false starts, holding penalties or plays on his side of the field where a mediocre DL bull rushes him and interrupts Alex’s play progression. The wide outs need to do better at getting open and STOP DROPPING EASY DAMN PASSES!!! On the flip side to that one, Alex needs to trust them enough to rifle it in a tight spot. He has shown he can do it, but he needs to do it more often than he does.

    GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • phantomebb

      Bowe could have caught that deep pass. Jordy Nelson has made at leat 5 catches far harder then that this year.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        In Sunday’s game? Looked like he was out of room to come down in bounds.

        • phantomebb

          It was a perfect pass high slightly out of bounds so the defender couldnt get it. Bowe couldnt beat his man, jump, extend, or keep his feet jn bounds

          • Michael Shaw

            Phantom, I have to agree with Reach on this one, that ball was just about 6″ to a foot too far out of bounds. Had Alex thrown that ball more inside and about 2 ft deeper, it would have been a TD because Bowe had separation on the DB. DBowed had to stop and try to grab it going out of bounds, so that was a mistake on Alex’s part in my opinion.

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • Michael Shaw

            Guess I should start recording the games so that I can analyze them better!! LOL!!!

          • phantomebb

            I actually pay for NFL Rewind because I can’t always see the games live. But even if it was inches out of bounds c’mon thats suppose to be a catch for a 56 million dollar receiver!!!!

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

          • phantomebb

            Go back and watch the play. The ball is thrown so it lands just in bounds and at chest level. The ball could be 3 feet higher or 3 feet out of bounds and good receivers will still catch it. Bowe has just a step on the cornerback not that much separation. He does many things wrong on this play.

            1. Doesn’t realize where the sideline is and doesn’t drag is feet
            2. Doesn’t go up for the ball and attack it at its highest point.
            3. Decides to go for a one handed catch instead of using both hands.

            Bowe is suppose to be a tough physical receiver that can go up and get high balls and break tackles. If you freeze the game replay right at 00:30:50 you will see both he and the cornerback have their arms on each other while both looking up at the ball, this is the point Bowe has to make his decision how he is going to catch the ball. He can’t fight there some light interference by the cornerback to catch the ball and instead of dragging his feet does a small little hop as the ball comes in.

            I can’t imagine a much better 40 yard pass but i can imagine a bunch of way to catch that ball better

        • D forte

          i think he positioned himselfpoorly on that play.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Nothing about that play was particularly solid. The position at the top of the route or the throw. That I wouldn’t say much about. That’s a miss I expect to happen.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Alex Smith isn’t responsible for well-thrown balls that the receivers drop, but that’s also NOT what I’m talking about here. This offense has a number of problems that Alex Smith isn’t responsible for. None of them excuse his personal contribution though.

      • Michael Shaw

        Good counter-point Stacy. I was not meaning to imply that Alex had nothing to work on because he really does.

  • JDInOregon

    I think the team overall was somewhat beat up and fatigued at Buffalo. All sports have momentum, and it can be difficult in the NFL to get it going on the road. Perseverance and a good attitude is such a fine but intangible quality that you just never know what is going to happen. Clearly they hung in there and good things happened, even if they were the result of good fortune.

    As for Smith, the lack of accuracy on short and intermediate throws is a bit puzzling. Anyone who has ever played darts, golf, or thrown a baseball knows how this can happen…you “get in your own way.” Maybe Smith has always had this tendency, I have no idea.

    That being said, watching the carnage in the NFL this year, and what happens when backup QB’s start slinging the ball, well, maybe we should be glad Smith is the Chief’s QB. It’s frustrating to watch at times, but the results are the results.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      We can’t expect those results to continue against much tougher opponents just because. To succeed in the NFL is to get better everyday.

  • ArrowFan

    I think some of you have nailed it with play calling in general. I don’t think our O has opened it up yet because they haven’t had to. Then again why wouldn’t an offense want to score as many points as possible? I can think of more than a few games where we where better served by just running the ball and eating up clock in the 4th quarter. What I think would be telling about our Offense’s true potential would be to, not look at our 4th quarter drives. I would look at anything that constituted a 2 min. offense just before half. At least this would help define our ability to move the ball quickly to score fast. We all know we can grind in out with running plays and screen passes.

  • Michael Shaw

    Reach, Good read by the way!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, man!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, man!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, man!

  • Jim Harper

    Actually Stacy I thought your evaluation was right on target and far more tempered than some of your earlier posts on Alex. Furthermore I would venture to say that Reid probably agrees with you. I am still very high on AS from the standpoint of his leadership and intelligence when it comes to recognizing defenses in front of him. I do think his accuracy has fallen off as of late, but that may be in part to defenses not respecting the deep ball and they are playing much tighter short routes. Our offensive line is a work in progress and although I believe that they will only get better, right now they are not giving Alex much time, especially for the deep ball. Lastly he has had to deal with too many dropped balls. The one by McCluster on Sunday was unforgivable. He had nothing but grass in front of him to the end zone. Anyway I thought this was a great post and right on target and I like your new column graphic. It’s awesome.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, Harper!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      The McCluster play stuck with me for probably an hour. That’s the worst drop of the season by far. Though in fairness, I don’t think it was an automatic touchdown. There was a safety in front of him. He had plenty of real estate in front of him to use the field against the DB though.

      • John Palmer

        If my memory serves me correctly, it was a beautiful play design and a walk-in touch down. Avery took the safety with him on his dig pattern and the safety had his back to him….7 points all day long and that play is still with me, unfreakingbelievable! Your post is on point as most times Stacy. The other play that sticks with me is Jamaal up the sideline 5 steps behind the lineback and AS overthrew it AND placed it about 3-4yards out of bounds-dont remember the opponent, cleveland maybe?. You’ve gotta give your players a shot at the play. My biggest takeaways on the O going forward is straightforward….AS trust yourself and make the throw, WR catch the damn ball (sorry, im still hot about our drops) Fisher, continue to grow young man-you’ve a good two game stretch and your play is critical to our deep ball game. Chiefs playing good ball right now guys, they’re mentally tough and routinely punk the opposing O, even though they give plays-dont let that ball cross the plane, which is all heart and pride! If we make your much need adjustments Stacy, we’ll end up in the 30′s on points scored. GO CHIEFS!!!

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Does anyone else HATE the idea that the entire season has been built around the Denver matchups? You can’t wait until Week 11 to turn it on in this league. You can’t hold everything back with the hope that you’ll surprise the Broncos. You can’t just turn it on one week when you’ve been failing to execute all season in certain ways. Our season isn’t JUST about beating Denver.

    • toperspective

      No it isn’t, but since we’ve quickly gotten past the “we would be thrilled with finishing 8-8 stage”, Denver is critical to assessing whether this team is SB quality. It is the first real test for this team. It also seems that with the anemic offense that home field is going to be critical in the playoffs.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        They wouldn’t be if the team were firing on all cylinders offensively. We’d ALREADY know. That’s my point. You can’t wait until the eleventh week of the season to find out if you’re built to last in the postseason.

      • berttheclock

        Yes, remember home field is crucial. Why, home field was the one point which propelled the Chiefs past the Steelers to head for the SB. er, wait a sec. That was the year the Chiefs had home field and lost their first game to Indy. The year the Broncos and their 12th man ref defeated the Chiefs and went to the SB and won they beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

        • toperspective

          So you don’t think home field is crucial? Of course you can win on the road or lose at home but the odds are decidedly effected by location. Particularly if you’ve got a tremendous home crowd like Arrowhead.

          • berttheclock

            Yes, historically and statistically it is important, but, remember the Chiefs have lost when they had home field advantage far too often, and the NYG won the SB after winning their playoff games on the road.

          • toperspective

            And 300 Spartans allegedly held off a huge Persian army, but I doubt they would recommend it as a sound strategy.

      • toperspective

        Perfect analysis, BTW. The defenses have taken away the short routes and AS hasn’t been able to stretch the field. I think you hit the nail on the head with AS’s tendency to overthink and I also think his fear of turnovers results in overthrown long passes or passes thrown out of bounds.

    • sidibeke

      I really enjoyed beating Buf, our nemesis. And of course it’s always fun to beat the Raiders.

  • DoubleD

    Nice break down Reach. I think the winning formula for the Chiefs so far has been a combination of things. 1) Outstanding field position thanks to Special Teams and an unrelenting Defense, 2) Aggressive pass defense from the front 7, 3) Protecting the ball, and 4) luck.

    I’ll focus on the 4th item on my list first. The Chiefs have been very lucky to get turnovers that yield six points – the two last Sunday are a perfect example. The Chiefs have also been lucky to not have any of their key play makers miss games due to injury. The Chiefs have also been fortunate to have such a light schedule. Let me qualify that last sentence, while the Chiefs are lucky to have had a light schedule, they have also proven they are a good enough team to better lesser teams.

    All that said, it iseems unreasonable to expect that the luck they’ve enjoyed will continue. Barring the unexpected, there are several very good teams they have to face and the Chiefs are going to need to something other than luck to be successful down the stretch against the gauntlet that awaits them. That “something other” is an offense that is consistently capable of putting up 30 points or more.

    For starters, I agree with the comments that we need better pass protection.The OL has been playing too soft on passing downs and that has to change. I’ve seen (I think) some improvement from Smith in terms of accuracy but he needs to make his reads quicker and get the ball down field more often and more quickly. Receivers need to do a better job of getting open and catching the ball when it’s thrown to them.

    Another thing that I feel is getting overlooked is that it seems a little risky to essentially make Jamaal Charles our entire offense. Again, this starts up front where our OL needs to start making bigger holes so that guys like Kniles Davis can start getting more touches and take some of the wear (and dependency) off of Charles.

  • Mike Diel

    The media stresses too much on “skilled positions” Smith doesn’t get 5 seconds very often. Why did Tuel not get sacked all day? Is it because he’s such a good Quarterback? Is it because the Chiefs are so bad at rushing the passer? One fundamental of football has never changed. If you can hold a block you can move the ball. If you can get off a block you can stop the other team. This is as true today as it was a hundred years ago.

  • berttheclock

    Andy Reid wants high completions. Last year at Philly, Vick completed 58.1 per cent of his passes, threw 12 TDs and had 10 INTs. Foles had a sixty point eight percentage, with six TDs and 5 INTs. Alex Smith has completed 59.7 % of his passes and has thrown 9 TDs with only 4 INTS. The “problem” again is what??????

    • toperspective

      What was Philly’s record? The problem is 9 points and 210 yds versus Buffalo, 25th in red zone efficiency, 7 TD’s in last 5 games, ave completion of 4 yds, etc. If this team falls behind Denver by more than a touchdown would you feel confident that this offense can stage a comeback?

      • Jarad

        Thats my thought. KC is now going into a stretch of games where the opposing QBs wont be gift wrapping points for the Chiefs D. Dont get me wrong, i like the Chiefs chances, but its going to get much more difficult

    • Stacy D. Smith

      How about five games with ZERO touchdown passes?

    • sidibeke

      And the fact that the completion rate is still lower than what it has been for him in the past, what he’s shown he’s capable of. And we’ve seen why; so passes that are just off target. Point isn’t to lay blame. As you point out, blame for what? A 9-0 start. Instead, though, there is room for improvement, and how good would this team be if that improvement happens. Hell yeah.

  • D forte

    I don’t think Mr. Smith wouldnt disagree on his missed short passes. The deep ball is only hit around 40% of the time in this league, so when they are on the money you have to catch them. Some of his short misses have been on the run while others he just missed. 10 games into a new system for these guys is just not long enough to gel as unit. Year 1 to year 2 in a system is typically when you see the biggest jump in quality of football.

  • KCRedGold

    I appreciate the article by Stacy D. Smith. But, C’MOM On Man. There seems a common theme through-out these responses;

    1. Smith isn’t the QB everyone wants or thought he might be.

    2. Play calling maybe suspect and not what everyone wants or thought it would be.

    3. OL is horrible. It isn’t what everyone wants or thought it would be.

    4. The Defense, it is becoming a force to reckon with, however….it is not what everyone wants or thought it would be.

    5. Special Teams aren’t producing to the satisfaction of everyone. It isn’t what everyone wants or thought it would be.

    Lets see, Chiefs are 9-0 despite all of this. However, the team isn’t what everyone wants or thought it would be. We finally have a season that is the best we have had in recent memory, but still nobody including fans are satisfied. They want a Peyton style of scoring…mega points per game, a flashy offense that dazzles the human mind kinda of like the old “Greatest Show on Turf.” People, what if….this is the Chiefs we get….they do enough to win period!!! Does it really matter how you win as long as a win is a win?

    I just get really frustrated when so many people say AS needs to do this, AS can’t do this, AS is an average QB nothing more….a “GAME MANAGER.” The man is doing some incredible things whether you all realize it or not….he is winning and not turning the ball over. Granted along the way do people want razzle dazzle play? Yes. But It doesn’t matter in the big picture…if you don’t win it doesn’t matter how spectacular you are. You need to do the things that make you successful regardless of how it looks or what people think or say, A quote from another article:

    Finally, Alex Smith was asked on 810WHB about CBS Sports.com’s Pete
    Prisco calling the Chiefs “The worst 9-0 team I’ve ever seen.”

    To that, Smith replied:

    “I have no idea who that guy is. Nor, do I care.”

    That is cool and straight to the point by AS.

    Last time I looked you don’t get points for style. The one thing I know is whatever the Chiefs are doing, they are winning and creating a pretty successful product at 9-0. So…..we don’t win in Denver, and and SD, Oakland…is this a tragedy…no. It is a process for long term success. Do I want the Chiefs to lose…NO! I am just saying….enjoy the moment, be happy that the Chiefs are doing …something nobody else is doing in the NFL this year, despite what the Talking Heads say. And realize that what we are seeing by the Chiefs are what the Chiefs are..we need to accept this. This is only my opinion and nothing more. I appreciate this forum to express thoughts and opinions. GO CHIEFS…..DOWN WITH THE DONKEYS, BOLTS, AND FAIDERS…..!!!!!!!

    • BigGil

      ” what if….this is the Chiefs we get”

      “And realize that what we are seeing by the Chiefs are what the Chiefs are”

      Those two statements are signs of settling: as in “we’ve done enough, no sense in trying to get better because this is the best we’ll ever be”.

      They can be better, we know they can be better, they know they can be better, they’ve outwardly voiced that they know they can be better (so we know that they know that they can be better). And they should strive to be better. We should encourage them to strive to be better. The moment anyone stops striving to become better is the moment they start to do worse.

      A Paterno quote comes to mind:

      “The minute you think you’ve got it made, disaster is just around the corner.”

      ^That pretty much sums it up. We and they shouldn’t take anything for granted; the moment we out they do, the wheels could very likely fall off.

      Another Paterno quote I just think is awesome and pretty much sums up what their mentality looks to be this season:

      “When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”

    • Stacy D. Smith

      He’s not even playing up to his own standards right now.
      Smith has failed to throw a touchdown pass in 5 of 9 games this season. That’s comforting to you?
      The fact that we’re 9-0 in no way means there aren’t areas where we can improve. If Reid and the Chiefs think they’ve arrived, they’re destined to fail. The NFL is about getting better week-to-week. The three areas I identified aren’t just wildly imagined. They are REAL concerns that need to be addressed.

      I’m not Pete Prisco, but that shouldn’t mean that I can’t take a critical look at this team’s weaknesses.

      If ANYBODY should know better, it ought to be Chiefs fans. We’ve seen this movie before. 2003, anybody? The weakness of that team got exposed when the postseason showed up. Unless we see improvements, that will happen again in 2013.

      Alex Smith has an average of 1 touchdown per game. When he’s clearly missing opportunities for more, that’s a PROBLEM. It doesn’t mean you aren’t satisfied with where the team is as a whole. Should the Chiefs and their fans be content? Absolutely. This team has won more than four times as it did last year. Should the Chiefs and their fans be satisfied? No, because the ultimately goal is winning in January/February. That’s probably going to call for more from Alex Smith…all I’m saying.

  • sidibeke

    Seems about right. I do wonder about the quality of the D’s we’ve seen and will see. In terms of yds/gm, Houston is 1, Cle 4, Tenn 11 and Buf 20.

    Our next opponents: Oak 18, Den is 24, SD is 28, Indy 22 and Wash 30. Some of this is that SD, Den and Indy get into shootouts and yards come quickly on both sides, but I wonder what the ball control/clock eating style will do against what are arguably weaker defenses (I know, Von Miller is playing now and that could change a lot for Den, but we will have to see).

  • BigGil

    Before reading the article, to answer your opening question, I liked last week’s red washed banner more.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Okay, thanks!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Okay, thanks!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Okay, thanks!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Okay, thanks!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Okay, thanks!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Okay, thanks!

  • Bosco Cletus

    I couldn’t agree more with 1 and 3. Up until this point Alex has made juuuust enough plays to get us wins, and a few have come from behind, which is not a bad thing. I don’t think many will argue the 22 drop last week was a td even if he jogged after catching it. I like that Alex takes off and runs, he’s the best running QB I’ve ever seen in KC, but in saying that I wish he would slide a little sooner, he has taken a couple extra shots this year (one bouncing his head off the ground reminding me of Trent Greens concussion) that weren’t really necessary. Most times he’s really smart about it, but you have to agree he’s trying to draw that 15 yard flag. I don’t think anyone on here wants to see Chase play after the preseason he had.

    It seems more and more every week in the league this season and the injuries to qbs that you either A. have a qb that’s a winner, or B. have a crappy backup. Alex is a winner.

  • disqus_hJe6GJzEpp

    Yes, you’re overreacting. Alex could do as everyone else does and throw deep and succeed less, ruin our defense with more 3 and outs. Or he can continue to play smart football, win the field position battle, not turn the ball over and put the game in the hands of the defense (our strength).
    If you’re looking for perfection, 9-0 is about all you can ask for.
    Before anyone can say it’s luck or it’s not sustainable, Alex is 29-5-1 with his style of play. Best in the league since 2011.
    Quit looking the gift horse in the mouth. Just enjoy the ride.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      This offense is already going three-and-out quite a bit.
      Playing smart football should never prevent you from hitting open receivers or making quicker decisions in the pocket. Hell, stay risk-averse and just do those two things and this offense improves. Still…NOT taking chances from time to time shrinks offensive options. We’re seeing the effects of that right now. Those high-percentage throws aren’t so high anymore because defenses are sitting on those slants, digs, and screens.