Every time Alex Smith drops back to pass, it looks like a scene from World War Z. The only differences are that his life is spared, and zombies don’t follow assaults with Ravishing Rick Rude tributes (purportedly).
The Kansas City Chiefs offensive line is offensive to the word “offensive.” Is Smith conservative? Sure. And hundreds of people will point that out by screen-grabbing a video still that shows an open receiver, all the while negating how progressions work and the blitzkrieg of pass-rushers flooding the pocket like The Purge.
As ESPN notes, Smith, at least on paper, is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league:
"According to ESPN Stats & Information, among the 31 projected 2014 starting quarterbacks who have a reported Wonderlic score, the average is 29.4. The Chiefs’ Alex Smith has the highest (40)"
Obviously, Wonderlic scores are far from the end-alls as it pertains to football IQ. That being said, when you watch Smith on tape, the intelligence translates.
What he’s not is a superhero.
Here’s the thing, in sports—especially in football—people tend to draw lines in the sand. They pledge allegiance to a team, self-identify with said club, and when their Sunday optimism goes dumpster diving, they scour the sideline for a scapegoat.
Not unlike most franchises, the Chiefs quarterback, especially on the heels of a loss, is a popular target at the firing range. In the echo chamber that is local Twitter, Kansas City critics will blast Smith’s conservatism and compare his arm to generic ramen, because they’re original like that.
But when it comes to last week’s Sunday Night Football woes, particularly the sacks, No. 11 wasn’t the problem.
Let’s take a look at the first three takedowns from Week 13, all of which occurred on 3rd-and-long.