Ever since Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, his statistics have improved. But if the Chiefs want to win a championship, they will need more production from Smith, who is entering his 12th season in the NFL. The former Utah Ute hasn’t had the best supporting cast in his three years in Kansas City, but he’s set to have his best season as a Chief in 2016.
The Chiefs have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Smith is surrounded with a lot of speed, which gives him plenty of options to work with this year.
With running back Jamaal Charles coming back from a torn ACL, we can expect the Chiefs to continue to use Charles as an active pass-catcher. Behind Charles, Smith had success with backups Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware when they filled in for Charles in 2015. The Chiefs also have Knile Davis, who can be dangerous on offense with his feet. Smith shouldn’t have any issues working with the running backs this season.
Smith has one of the best tight ends in Travis Kelce, who punched his first Pro Bowl ticket last year. Backups James O’Shaughnessy and Demetrius Harris each had fewer than 10 catches and 100 receiving yards. But if Kelce can stay healthy, Smith should do well with the tight end under Andy Reid’s style of offense.
After failing to complete a touchdown pass to a wideout in 2014, Smith connected with Jeremy Maclin eight times in the end zone last year. Smith also threw touchdown passes to Albert Wilson, De’Anthony Thomas and then-rookie Chris Conley.
With Smith and Maclin spending a year together, the two should have a better season. Conley had a quiet rookie year, but he should see more playing time and could be a strong No. 2 receiver if he lives up to expectations. The Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill, who can also be a viable player if he makes the 53-man roster.
With plenty of speedsters across the offense, the Chiefs must use that to their advantage to reach their full potential in 2016. The Chiefs have seen flashes from players like Davis, Wilson, Conley and Thomas on offense, but they haven’t been able to consistently come through.
Despite being sacked 45 times for the second year in a row, Smith should have more time to connect with his pass-catchers. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was Kansas City’s biggest offseason acquisition, as he is one of the top right tackles in the NFL today. Center Mitch Morse played above expectations as a rookie while playing a new position. Right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif came up strong during the team’s 10-game winning streak. Former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher showed some improvement as the year went on, and he will be a key player up front as well.
Smith can do a lot of damage to opposing defenses with the offense he has, which can translate to double-digit victories and beyond. It is up to Smith to take advantage and use the talents the offense has.