Podcast: Trust, timidity and how the Chiefs lose to the Giants

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Alex Smith
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Alex Smith /

From the offensive line to Alex Smith to Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs have a serious trust problem.

Andy Reid is a very good head coach. Flawed and embarrassed by Ben McAdoo on Sunday, yes, but a very good head coach. Reid is exceptionally good at managing expectations and giving players an appropriate amount of responsibility. Reid doesn’t ask players to do things they may be incapable of doing. This is almost always a good thing.

Across the offensive line, struggling linemen are rarely hung out to dry. Reid draws up plays for Tyreek Hill that few other players in the league would be asked to attempt. Travis Kelce is asked to play like the best tight end in football every week because Reid knows he can do it. Again, this is almost always a good trait in a head coach, and Reid exemplifies it.  Which makes me wonder about Alex Smith.

The first five weeks of the season were magical. Andy Reid was a wizard, Alex Smith was an MVP, and the Chiefs were Super Bowl contenders. In the last five weeks, Reid has been outcoached by inferior opponents, Alex Smith has been the 27th-graded QB in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and the Chiefs are in a nosedive. What changed?

Alex Smith has lost faith in his offensive line, and Andy Reid has lost faith in his quarterback.

When Alex Smith trusts his offensive line, keeps his feet steady and holds his eyes downfield, he’s shown MVP-caliber performances. When he gets rattled, the castle crumbles. The offensive line hasn’t been a dumpster fire in the last few weeks, but it also hasn’t been the moat that Smith would prefer to rely on.

As Smith gets less confident in his line, Reid gets less confident in Smith. Smith has spent most of the Steelers, Cowboys and Giants games tossing screen passes and checkdowns. On Sunday, even his judgement was poor, and he was inaccurate at a terrifying pace. This is where the problems collide.

Alex Smith becomes more timid as he gets more concerned with his offensive line. Andy Reid asks Smith to do less whenever Smith’s margin for error slims. This is when a gun-shy quarterback meets a gun-shy playcaller to create a nine-point effort against a team who had surrendered 84 points in the two games prior.

What about Mahomes? Would Reid trust him with more? What about the other problems that showed up on Sunday? What’s next? We talk about all that and more on this edition of Roughing the Kicker.

(Almost) Entirely Sports | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | BlogTalkRadio | PlayerFM

Want to catch up on previous episodes or make sure not to miss one in the future? Make sure you check out the show on any number of these outlets and tune in for (Almost) Entirely Sports, weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on ESPN Kansas City: 1510 AM, 99.3 FM and 1510.com.


Have ideas or questions for next week’s episode? Tweet @jbbrisco or send a Facebook message to facebook.com/rtkshow.

Subscribe to RTK on iTunes, get the show early, and never miss an episode. Roughing the Kicker is a Kansas City Chiefs podcast on Arrowhead Addict RadioTo support the show on Patreon, click here for more information.