Chiefs 2015: Five most important players for success

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Nov 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers won 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. Alex Smith

Smith divides the fan base like none other. Some love having the consistency that Smith provides, knowing he will rarely cost them a game. Others want Smith gone yesterday, hoping to find their own version of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Regardless of how you feel in the great Alex Smith debate, there is no contesting that he needs to play well should Kansas City make a postseason run.

Smith is not going to throw for 5,000 yards. Hell, Smith is likely not ever going to throw for 4,000 yards. All of that is alright. Russell Wilson doesn’t throw for many yards either, but he has a killer defense and a great running back around him. Sound familiar?

However, there is a notable difference with Wilson and Smith. Wilson is not afraid to throw deep and take some shots. Remember that beautiful throw in overtime of the NFC Championship game to Jermaine Kearse? Wilson took a chance, one that Smith has yet to prove he will take. Smith must be willing to throw the ball down the field even when coverage is tight if the situation dictates it.

At some point in 2015, Smith is going to be faced with a choice. He can take the safe throw on third down and likely accept a punt, or rifle a missile between two defenders and trust his guy – and his arm – to make the play. With Charles, Travis Kelce, Jeremy Maclin and the sure-handed Jason Avant on his team, Smith must gamble occasionally. If he doesn’t, the Chiefs won’t go deep into the playoffs.

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