Slotting the 2015 Chiefs PART I

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This is Part I of a two part series.

Part II will publish today at 5:00PM

It may have felt like a slaughter last Sunday in Cincinnati, because it was. Kansas City was nowhere near making a game of it against the Bengals. That is, until you consider who the Chiefs really are… and to understand that… you must “slot” them appropriately.

Like many a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs this past offseason was a joy ride on the chair lift up to the top of the NFL Matterhorn. There was no hard lifting or treacherous climbing about it. We just jumped on the John Dorsey express this offseason: the fun free agent signings, a magic trade-a-poulza, and a draft day celebration of picks and pretty soon… almost all of us were… gee gosh golly giddy about the Chiefs chances to win Super Bowl 50.

Now, after a 1-3 start, admittedly against some stellar foes, the meteoric preseason ride has come crashing to some rather sobering and earthly reality laden conclusions.

Instead of a top three defense that many of us were hoping to watch take the field each week, what would be “giants among men” have been shrunk down to Smurf sized wanna-bees.

It’s not just the defense either. Almost every position group… and coach… on this team is under performing, for a team thought to be ready to vie for a championship.

So, to get a more up to the minute, and realistic, view of who this team is, and where they are at, let’s take a look at each position group and slot… or approximately rank… them to get a much better understanding of what to expect of them by the end of the 2015 season.

Where does Alex Smith slot, approximately, among all other NFL quarterbacks?

Let’s begin with the Kansas City QB, Alex Smith. As Matt Verderame pointed out in his piece this week called, “Alex Smith on pace for a career year” he could end up with over 4.400 passing yards if he continues at his current pace. However, Verderame also points out that,

"“Of course, the fly in the ointment is that Smith has only thrown four touchdowns with three interceptions. If that keeps up, we are looking at 16 touchdowns and 12 picks, something which would be unacceptable.”"

The question is, where does Alex Smith really rank among all NFL quarterbacks?

Before this season began, in July, former Chiefs quarterback, Ron Jaworski ranked and rated all quarterbacks placing Alex Smith at #14. Admittedly, I’ve been an Alex Smith supporter and consequently an Alex Smith apologist. However, after the first four games of the season, I have to side with Stacy D. Smith about the current Chiefs quarterback. In his most recent offering for Arrowhead Addict called, “Chiefs 2015, Arrowhead must address elephant in the room” he states

"“… [Alex] Smith exacerbates protection problems like few quarterbacks in this league. Even when he has time to throw, he rarely makes defenses pay for failing to get pressure on the quarterback… I believe Smith can win with the right pieces surrounding him, but I’ve lost faith that this regime will give them to him before it’s too late. Smith, for all intents and purposes, has 1.75 seasons left in Kansas City.”"

During the remainder of Alex Smith’s time in Kansas City I believe it’s wise to not expect more from him than he is capable of delivering. While Ron Jaworski had him at #14 in July he was placing him ahead of other quarterbacks like Andy Dalton at #16, Cam Newton at #18 and Carson Palmer at #19.

Although I’m not immediately ready to rank the Raiders Derek Carr in front of Alex, I can certainly see his progression pushing him ahead of Smith by the end of next season. Even if you only vault Dalton, Newton and Palmer ahead of Alex Smith, it means Smith should no longer be considered a top tier QB as I have believed for years now. He’s not even a top half QB.

So, I am slotting Alex Smith at just below the average line among all NFL QBs… and we shouldn’t expect anything more out of him than that. Even though he plays in Andy Reid’s QB friendly system which appears well suited to him.

The only question now… in my mind… is whether or not Andy Reid will 100% attach his fate to that of Alex Smith and go out when he goes out? Between now and the end of 2016, we’ll find out the answer to that one.

Having already mentioned the defense, first let’s take the front seven.

Next: Where Are the Seven Dwarfs… I Mean the Front Seven?