Quarterbacking The Chiefs In The New Era

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I may be sounding like I work for the Kansas City Chiefs in several of my recent pieces but, you can’t blame a guy for liking the way it feels when the organization is a perfect at 3 and 0.

While I’m crazy excited about the progress the Chiefs have made so far — and about their potential going forward this season — I am also aware that many fans believe that the Chiefs still have a problem at quarterback stemming from Alex Smith’s unwillingness, or inability, to throw and/or get the ball deep downfield.

Is that a legitimate criticism? Have we seen the full potential of Alex Smith yet? Is there more to come, that we haven’t seen yet, which involves getting the ball deep and into some of our speedy receivers hands?

After all, Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs best receiver, who signed a long term multi-year deal this past offseason, is averaging 3 catches and 30 yards per game this season. That’s not what Bowe was bragging about or predicting for his personal production prior to kicking off the regular season. I believe his statement was that, “Once the season begins it will be bombs over Baghdad.” And… he said he would lead the league in receiving.

So, are the Chiefs getting what they bargained for this off season in Alex Smith?

Up to this point Alex Smith is:

1. Taking what the defense will give.

2. Waiting for his receivers to get separation.

3. Scanning routes then going to his check down or crossing route receivers.

Many times when we speak of quarterbacks and what they are accomplishing we narrow our conversation to them alone. While we might say “Alex Smith will need to do more than he’s doing so far to lead the Chiefs to the playoffs and then “win” once he get’s them there”… it would be more appropriate to begin that sentence with, “Alex Smith and his receivers….”

While I can tell you that I have seen plays when I believe Dwayne Bowe was open, I don’t know how often that’s occurring and we also know that many teams double Bowe and set traps (for interceptions) based on where Bowe is heading.

Even so, the criticism I hear of Alex Smith seems mostly unfounded to me because of what it means to be a QB in the new era of athletic QBs… which doesn’t really apply to him.

Yes, Alex Smith has athleticism and legs that can get him out of trouble in the pocket and make positive yards up field. However, Alex rarely places his body in harms way, to make those yards (with his legs) that need to be made to gain a first down.

Look at the greatest QBs ever. Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Roger Staubach (list provided by Men’sFitness). Now, think about their body types. Here, let me help,

Joe Montana, 6-2, 200

Tom Brady, 6-4, 225

Johnny Unitas, 6-1, 194

Peyton Manning, 6-5, 230

John Elway, 6-3, 215

Steve Young, 6-2, 215

Terry Bradshaw, 6-3, 215

Dan Marino, 6-4, 224

Brett Favre, 6-2, 225

Roger Staubach, 6-3, 197

Is there anything to be learned from evaluating the height and weight of a QB? Enough evaluators place value on these stats to nearly disqualify shorter players like Russell Wilson or even Drew Brees when in reality they are both excellent QBs.