Nov 16, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) rolls out to pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Smith was drafted number one overall in 2005 by the San Francisco 49ers and was immediately baptized into a losing culture. During his first five years, he was coached by Mike Nolan and then Mike Singletary, played under five offensive coordinators, and sported a 19–31 record in the games he started. He was immersed into losing, and it seemed he would be the next David Carr or Matt Leinart: another product of a losing environment.
Then, like the sun breaking through the darkest of storm clouds, everything changed when the organization hired Jim Harbaugh. Immediately the team started winning, and Smith was playing better simply due to a coach that knew how to use his players.
Jim inherited a great team that had drafted well despite its losing tendencies. Smith played behind arguably the best offensive line in the league in his years under Harbaugh. The team had one of the best defenses in the league, so Smith wasn’t forced to compete in any shootouts. Alex Smith went 19-5-1 under Jim Harbaugh, and threw for 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Prior to Harbaugh, Smith threw 51 touchdowns and 53 interceptions in his first six years — a night-and-day comparison simply due to a coaching change. Alex Smith made me a believer when I watched this drive a few years ago:
We haven’t witnessed it with Alex Smith in a Chiefs uniform yet, but this is proof that he can win against a good team with the ball in his hands at the end of a game. There are some throws here that I remember sitting on my couch going, “wow,” because I didn’t know he had that in him. There may be even more in him than we all still realize, and Kansas City is a great environment for him to thrive.
Andy Reid is an excellent coach with a great track record in developing quarterbacks, the defense was ranked in the top 10 in scoring and yards allowed, and hopefully the offensive line is improved with the new players joining the Chiefs this season. All indicators point toward Alex Smith and the Chiefs having a solid 2015 season. In Alex’s first season under Reid, he threw 23 touchdowns, a personal best for his professional career.
This quarterback is still being fixed from his early years. You can see that he hates to take risks, he doesn’t want to lose the game. He’s going to calculate and make the safest throw possible, not the biggest play possible. I’m not saying taking care of the ball is bad, believe me. I’ve seen enough interceptions from Chiefs quarterbacks to last me a long time.
I’m just trying to convey that he needs to balance out and show more consistency with going for the jugular, like the Saints game in the video, or the playoff game against the Colts in 2014. In those games, Smith showed some fearless competitiveness that has been missed all too often during the regular season. If he can get more balanced in that regard, the Chiefs have one of the top quarterbacks in the league.