Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) calls an audible during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
It’s the day after, and if you’re anything like me, you are suffering from football hangover. The first week is always the worst, Addicts. Especially after a win. Especially after a win that was so dominant, the other team never had a chance. Raise your hand if you walked into your place of employment and guaranteed the Chiefs were Superbowl bound. Anyone? Just me? That’s embarrassing.
Well, perhaps the Chiefs aren’t headed to the big game just yet, but they did defeat their first opponent of the season in dominant fashion. Of course, when I mentioned that to my football loving coworkers (one is a Buffalo Bills fan and the other a Miami Dolphins fan) the first words out of their mouths were: “Yeah, but it was against the Jacksonville Jaguars.” Luckily, I read my fellow AA writer Lyle Graverson’s excellent piece this morning about why the performance wasn’t only good because it was the Jags, but just good in general. But in addition to learning that this defense is scary good, which Graverson covered in great detail, there are some other things we learned about the 2013 version of the Chiefs from yesterday’s game.
1. Alex Smith Can Throw the Ball More than 30 Times and His Arm Won’t Fall Off
This was a comment I’ve heard and read from some of the more pessimistic Addicts in the weeks and months leading up to yesterday’s season opener in Jacksonville. They were concerned that Smith wouldn’t be able to hold up with the constant throwing in head coach Andy Reid’s mid-West Coast Offense. While Smith only really went deep on the first play from scrimmage (which should have been caught by tight end Anthony Fasano, by the way – more on that in a minute) he still completed 21 of his 34 throws for 173 yards. That completion rate was good for just over 61 percent. And, Smith added two touchdowns through the air which were highlighted here, earlier this morning in an excellent tape breakdown by our editor, Andrew Kulha.
2. Alex Smith Seems Hesitant to Go Deep on Third Down
I cringe at writing this, because it will feed the rabid “Alice Smiff Haters” but Smith did seem very hesitant to go deep with the ball. The first play from scrimmage was a beautifully thrown deep ball to Fasano off of a play action. The ball hit Fasano in the hands and fell to the turf. After that, Smith seemed extremely reluctant to that deep down the field again. This could be by design, by play call from the sideline or just because the receivers running deep routes on the plays that were called were covered. We can’t really know that without being inside Smith’s helmet, but the fact is he didn’t go deep after that first pass. It turns out, he didn’t have to, as the team handled the Jags in short order. But against better teams, he may need to pull the trigger on some of those deep throws.
3. The Chiefs Drafted the Right Left Tackle to be a Right Tackle
One of the many storylines going into this game was who got the better draft pick; the Chiefs with Eric Fisher or the Jags with Luke Joeckel? I think after the dust settled on this one, the Chiefs were the clear winner, at least head to head. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston absolutely owned Joeckel, welcoming him to the NFL in style and beating him constantly, racking up three sacks against the rookie. On the other side of the ball, Fisher didn’t allow a single sack from his defender. While the season is young, and Fisher is sure to face better talent than what the Jags threw at him, the first round goes to the kid from Central Michigan University.
4. The “Tin Man” Finally Found the Wizard
Turning to the defense, there is so much to say, I don’t even know where to start. As far as the roster goes, there wasn’t much turnover. The base package only has three different starters from last year – DE Mike Devito, ILB Akeem Jordan and CB Sean Smith. However, this looks like a completely different unit. Under the leadership of Derrick Johnson, and the coaching of Bob Sutton, this defense is good. I said it earlier and Lyle wrote a column about it this morning, but they’re scary good. Tyson Jackson got a sack. That’s how good they are. Dontari Poe, who many were already to give up on last year got a sack and a half. That’s how good they are. This team put the QB on his back six times. They didn’t even allow the Jags to run a play in Chiefs’ territory until late in the second half. I get it, they’re the Jags, but they’re still professional football players. The Chiefs played lights out defense.
5. There is Still Work to Do
I’m not trying to end this thing on a downer, but I wouldn’t be a responsible journalist if I kept going up and up. Yesterday was the first step in the Chiefs’ 2013 campaign. There is still a lot of work to be done. The offense is definitely behind the defense. One thing we all tend to overlook is these men have learned and instilled a brand new offense, foreign to 95% of them, in just a couple of short months. There’s still learning that has to happen. I think yesterday was a hell of a start for this team. It was fun to watch a Chiefs game and hear the commentators say things like “the Chiefs have completely dominated this game.” It’s been awhile since we’ve heard that.
The Chiefs now turn their attention to the Dallas Cowboys who will come into an electrified Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday. They are also riding high off of a win, albeit not nearly as “dominant” as the Chiefs win on Sunday. While the Cowboys certainly shouldn’t overlook the Chiefs, the Chiefs have the advantage as they’re playing at home and they are the perpetual underdog. They have a great shot at being 2-0 this time next week. We’ll see Addicts; we’ll see.