Let me preface this column by saying I like Alex Smith as a quarterback. He’s not flashy, and he’s not a highlight reel gunslinger, but he’s a steady solid player who won’t lose games for your team. For that reason, his acquisition by the Kansas City Chiefs is a good move. But in retrospect, the Chiefs really should have been focused in another area.
The Chiefs won-loss record over the past five seasons is an abysmal 25-55, having just one winning season (2010) over that stretch. When you look at some of the quarterbacks who stood under center during those five seasons–Quinn Gray, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle, Matt Gutierrez, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton, Ricky Stanzi and Brady Quinn–you see an interesting mix of promising young talent and experienced (and sometimes successful) veterans.
But all of those QBs had one thing in common while playing for the Chiefs. They all ended up flat on their backs a lot–some of them being seriously injured.
I mean, is Alex Smith really that much better than Matt Cassel or Kyle Orton? Not in my book.
The problem the Chiefs needed to address before they started worrying about ruining another quarterback was fixing the multitude of problems on their offensive line in terms of pass protection. This is a team that had running backs like Jamal Charles and Peyton Hillis in the backfield and finished fifth in league in rushing in 2012, but ended the season with a 2-12 record.
It’s the modern NFL, Kansas City. Can’t protect the quarterback? Can’t pass the ball? Can’t win football games. It’s that simple.
Kansas City quarterbacks were sacked 40 times in 2012.
I’ll repeat that.
That’s giving up 2.5 sacks a game, not to mention the truckload of hits and hurries these poor guys took. There were only 10 teams that gave up more sacks than the Chiefs, and a lot of those teams are strangely looking for new QBs as well. The team sitting right next to the Chiefs in the sacks allowed stat–oddly enough, the San Francisco 49ers.
Alex Smith must be having some long sit-downs with this life insurance agent at this point.
New head coach Andy Reid wants to do things his way, and I’m sure he wanted “his guy” in there at quarterback. But haven’t we seen this screenplay with Reid before? How many hits did Michael Vick and Nick Foles suffer at the hands of opponents blasting through the Philadelphia Eagles sieve-like offensive line?
You don’t put a brand new windshield wiper on a broken windshield, and you don’t plug a new quarterback into an offense with swiss cheese for an offensive line. The Chiefs would have done well to re-evaluate the talent on that line before trying to make splash in free agency to appease the fans.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–the NFL game is won in the trenches. If you lose that battle you are looking at an uphill fight in every other facet of the game. Right now, the Kansas City Chiefs are staring up the side of Mount Everest.