NFL Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith Must Step Up for Kansas City Chiefs to Claim AFC West Crown

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs have enough surrounding the quarterback position in terms of offensive weapons, pass protection and defensive competence to give Alex Smith a relatively cushy role. Smith playing the same conservative brand he did before yielding to Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco could very well help the Chiefs compile enough wins that they should win en route to a playoff berth just one season after the 2-14 campaign.

Smith is a decent quarterback, but will have to take more risks if KC hopes to raise their profile from fringe wild-card team to bump reigning division champion and AFC preseason favorite Denver Broncos from their throne. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith threw two fewer deep passes last season than Matt Cassel.

So far in the offseason so good, with Smith living up to his reputation as the consummate professional.

“He’s been everything that we thought he was,” Chiefs quarterback coach Matt Nagy said, via The Kansas City Star. “He’s a true professional. He’s in his (playbook) every day. He’s always asking questions, trying to get better. He’s being a leader for the other (quarterbacks) as well. … When he’s out here on the practice field, he’s a leader. The guys look to him.

“The quarterback position is so important to be that leader, whether it’s vocally or by your play. He does both of that. Having him be able to do that and have some of these younger guys look up to him, that’s what we need, and that’s what we expected he’d have, and he does have that.”

However, all the professionalism in the world won’t get your team insurance touchdowns when Peyton Manning mounting consecutive touchdown drives in the second half of a late-season contest.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google