Ever since the dawn of the 21st century the Kansas City Chiefs have had sporadic success that has prematurely ended in several early playoff eliminations. After these periods of success the Chiefs usually succumb to a few years of deflating failures, often severe enough to force them to waddle in the depths of inadequacy. Most recently, the Chiefs were once again condemned to an unwanted existence of being a franchise that was lucky to be ahead after halftime game in and game out. Since then, the Chiefs have made monumental decisions to elevate their teams reputation back into its former desired relevancy to give their loyal fans something to be proud of rather than loathe.
With the acquisition of former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith; the Chiefs look to reboot their organization with a stellar passer who can fully utilize the offensive weapons that have been placed around him. While it would be understandable to be concerned with how Smith will fair in Kansas City given how Matt Cassel failed to make the transition from New England, Smith has proven that under the right leadership he can be one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the game.
The latter sentiment can’t be stressed enough as Smith struggled to perform under the 49ers former head coach Mike Singletary. While his passer rating wasn’t horrific from 2009 to 2010, it wasn’t nearly respectable enough to establish Smith as a consistently sound passer. In fact before the inauguration of Jim Harbaugh, Smith had a chronic tendency to crumble under pressure often throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in critical games. However, in the last two years Smith evolved into a phenomenal passer who hardly resembled the mediocre athlete that had been an utter disappointment since he entered the NFL in 2005. In his last two years with the 49ers Smith threw for thirty touchdowns and only ten interceptions. His completion percentage likewise emulated a Herculean performance as he complete over 70% of his passes which was a dramatic increase from two years previously when he completed a mere 59.6% of his passes.
Without question, under the right guidance Smith has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league who can pick apart nearly any adversary that attempts to impede his success. However, if Smith wants to make the next step to truly being an all around hall-of-fame quarterback he’ll have to do more than simply put up astronomically impressive numbers. Rather than Smith’s head coach using him as a catalyst to implement a desired form of attack, the gifted athlete will have to step out of his comfort zone and transform into a supreme leader who can make the big plays while being able to casually shake off the bad performances. Whenever Alex Smith threw a single interception, he typically found himself in an irreversible slump as he either only managed to throw for one touchdown or threw several more interceptions. Luckily, Smith had more memorable moments than he did irreconcilable tragedies but this streakiness could hurt him in the long run especially when he has to play with an entirely new squad and head coach.
With that being said, Kansas City should be an attractive location for Smith as it has all of the working parts that allow Smith to have a solid receiving core while playing in a familiar offense. Between Andy Reid’s west coast style of offense and standouts such as Jamaal Charles at the running back position with Dwayne Bowe as a solid go to receiver, Smith has the desired tools in hand to establish himself as the Chiefs new leading man. While Smith will have tremendous pressure from his team and the die-hard fans to reinvigorate this franchise to prevent it from repeating the atrocities it committed last season, he has the talent and the experience to forge a new path for his career and the Chiefs organization as a whole.
In the end, it’s hard to say for sure if Smith will flourish in this foreign environment or if he’ll succumb to his previous failures as a passer who was on the verge of being an unmitigated bust. Fortunately, Smith now was a solid repertoire that served him well in San Francisco and should carry over smoothly to this brand new environment. If Smith can build off his most recent successes, he’ll have the chance to be an influential leader who will give long time fans of this storied franchise something to cheer for once again.