Now, don’t get too fired up. I am talking about competition to be the Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback. The Chiefs currently have a big question mark in that position.
Alex Smith is the clear starter. In the 2015 season, Smith accomplished career-bests in several offensive passing categories. He had the best completion percentage of his career at 65.3 and passed for a career-high in season yardage with 3,486. His passing touchdowns (20) and QB rating (95.4) were the second-best of his career. That QB rating was 10th in the NFL.
While there won’t be any competition on replace Smith, there is certainly room to improve. Ken Goit tracks quarterback production and consistency with his QPR metric. The Quarterback Productivity Rating goes beyond the passing attributes and takes running quarterback and ball control into account when measuring the production of the quarterback.
Ken Goit joined the podcast this week. We discussed Alex Smith and how the defense was able to defend top quarterbacks in 2015. Here’s the podcast:
Smith came up just a little under average production. Had he thrown a few more touchdowns, he would have easily climbed above that mark and into the region of Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Philip Rivers. Fans want more production from Smith, and rightfully so. Smith’s upward trend over the last three seasons must continue.
Luckily, the QPR research shows a very promising aspect of Smith’s evolution. He is among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks in terms of his consistency. Of all the quarterbacks who were more productive than Smith, only Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer were more consistent in their performances. With more weapons at his disposal, Smith’s options and steady play are a solid platform to see his production climb in 2016.
Out on a limb
In truth, the Chiefs are just one play away from being the 2015 Dallas Cowboys.
An injury to Smith could derail the 2016 season. Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray have a combined zero passing attempts between them. They are an unknown quantity outside the building. Reid and Dorsey need a fierce competition to let Alex Smith’s backup emerge.
Andy Reid has been comfortable with young inexperienced quarterbacks. In 2007, he drafted Kevin Kolb in the 2nd round. Kolb sat for two full seasons before he got his first start. He then went to Arizona as a free agent. In 2012, Reid drafted Nick Foles in the third round. Foles backed up Michael Vick, but started 6 games in his rookie campaign for Andy Reid.
John Dorsey helped select Matt Flynn in seventh round in 2008 to backup Aaron Rodgers. Flynn sat for two years before he started for Green Bay. Flynn got two starts before signing a big free agent contract in Seattle. Unfortunately, these three backup quarterbacks Kolb, Flynn and Foles struggled. They had a combined record of 5-10 coming in as backups.
Are they satisfied with the backup battle? They recently had Paxton Lynch in the facility for a visit. He would be in the bottom of the top tier in this QB class. The second tier of draft quarterbacks includes some developmental, but athletic prospects reminiscent of the “K, F & F.”
Cardale Jones, Dak Prescott and Cody Kessler are guys that could develop into backups in the Reid system. If they are the the best option when a Chiefs selection comes up, the team could have a new quarterback in the mix. Pro Days are winding down.
April is ‘Draft Science 2016’ month and its going up a notch this year! Check it out in the next weeks.