Chiefs’ ceiling contingent upon the fate of Alex Smith
Throughout his career, he’s affectionately (or perhaps pejoratively) been called a “game manager.” The past several years have been marked by efficient — though unremarkable — play. He’s not particularly adept at carrying a team, but had been excellent at staying out of the offense’s way and playing a blemish-free brand of football.
Lately, he’s been a shell of his former self and may possibly be suffering from the aftereffects of a pair of brutal hits that gave him twin brushes with the NFL’s concussion protocol. In recent weeks, Smith’s seemed timid, has had little pocket presence and has missed a number of open receivers in key situations. He even appears to be hesitant to run the ball given a window to do so.
Football is the ultimate team sport, but the fortunes of the most successful franchises are invariably tied to quality quarterback play. Offensive warts are tough to hide under playoff lights. Kansas City appears to have a defense conducive to making a postseason run, but without a mildly complementary offense, the Chiefs could be headed for another two-and-done trip to the tournament.
It’s possible that the Chiefs will have to travel to Oakland or New England in the divisional round. We know defense travels in January/February, but can Smith orchestrate enough offensive production to keep pace with superior quarterbacks like Derek Carr and Tom Brady?
Much of what transpires over the next month rides upon Alex Smith’s ability to return to form. He’s lost his swagger lately and his body language bespeaks a quarterback lacking confidence. Smith appears to be hanging his head on a much more regular basis in response to offensive ineptitude. He also seems to be missing a real feel for the pocket lately.
There were at least two occasions in Sunday night’s game in Denver where he surrendered seconds before a defender took him to the ground. It’s tough to produce quantifiable in-season change for an NFL player, but Reid will have to find a way if he’s serious about sticking around for late-January football.
Have you lost faith in Smith’s ability to get the Chiefs to the promised land or is this just an inevitable rough patch that every NFL quarterback hits? Should Reid consider a change at quarterback or are the Chiefs in too deep with the Sixty-Eight Million Dollar Man?
Would you put Smith on a short leash if you were in Reid’s shoes? Use the comment section below to begin what I’m sure will be raucous debate. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.
Until next time, Addicts!