The reasons Alex Smith will improve for 2015.
Chiefs QB Alex Smith will succeed in 2015. I know many a Chiefs fan got tired of hearing about the Chiefs being the only team since 1940 to have a wide receiver not score a receiving touchdown. We did not score any receiving touchdowns but I prefer to think it was mostly because team wide receivers could not get open down the field. Many injuries hampered the team as well. Alex completed 65.3 percent of his passes. It might surprise you that in 2012 he completed 70.1 percent of his passes. He was very good in 2012 before his injury. In addition, I believe Alex will rebound this season due to speed down the field, game opening up due to the team signing Jeremy Maclin. An improved offensive line will allow Alex Smith to survey through his reads rather than running for dear life. Grubbs is an amazing guard for the Saints. He is one of best reasons Alex Smith will succeed this season. A better offensive line will give time to Smith to survey through his reads. This should open up the field for playmakers like Maclin, Kelce, Charles and DeAnthony Thomas.
Jeremy Maclin may be the number one reason that Alex Smith will succeed this season. Last year no Chief WR caught a TD, which allowed defenses to focus on their other weapons like Kelce and Charles. Maclin, who was coming off from ACL surgery the year before, and was playing on a 1-year contract in Philadelphia, had the best year of his career. He was the #1 WR on the team for the first time in his career, and caught 85 balls for 1,318 yards and 10 TD’s. That is an average of 15.5 yards per catch, and he did it multiple ways. Maclin is a complete WR, who can play all three WR positions. He is a very good route runner who knows how to take advantage of less experienced or talented corners and safeties. He can catch a screen pass, or a 5-yard slant, and take it 80 yards for the score, or he can burn his man deep with a double move, catching a deep pass over his shoulder. Maclin is a consummate professional, and a good teammate. His presence should open up not only the other WR, as he draws double teams, but will open up the middle of the field to free up Kelce more often, and Jamaal Charles catching the ball out of the backfield will have less attention on him as the secondary will have to honor Maclin.
Travis Kelce is one of those rare players who raise the stakes for Alex Smith. Kelce has shown the promise and a promise achieved last season. Kelce is 6’6 and many have now refer to him as Zeus. He did not start the nickname; but he likes it. Let me put it this way, Kelce over the middle or sideline catches, he can do it all. He had sixty-seven catches with five touchdowns and 862 yards receiving and an average of 12.9 yards per catch. Kelce also has good speed to go along with good blocking downfield as well. He has been watching Tony Gonzalez footage of 1997-2008 in the offseason so far. This does it for me. If you are Chiefs fans, this should be the measuring stick for Tight Ends. Tony Gonzalez is the all time leader in stats for Tight Ends. Players like Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham might not have had such an easy time getting into the game if not for Gonzalez example. Best tight end in the NFL. Maybe one day someone will by pass Tony’s records but not anytime soon. Kelce has such high football character with natural instincts and dreamy size and large hands. He will continue to provide Alex Smith with an option rather than just a check down back or a wide receiver come back pass. Travis often turns two-yard gains to 5 or 6 yards. That adds up and makes it easier for the team to convert from third downs to first downs.
Jamaal Charles is another reason Smith will have success this year. Healthy once again, I believe Andy Reid will use him much as he did Brian Westbrook late in his career. He will still carry the ball, and well I expect, which by itself helps Smith out (After all. A QB’s best friend is a good running game). However, Charles will be a factor catching the ball out of the backfield, on flares and swing passes, Charles still has the speed and agility to take a short pass the distance. With Maclin drawing attention from the secondary, and Kelce establishing himself as one of the top TE weapons in the league, defenses can no longer focus solely on Charles, and that should make him more effective than ever.
Andy Reid is yet another reason Alex Smith will succeed. This will be the third season in Reid’s version of the west coast offense. Reid is one of the best coaches in the game and turned around a 2012 Chiefs team that had two wins to 11-5 in 2013 and a playoff game against the Colts. They lost that game but this was probably the best game I had ever seen a quarterback not named Joe Montana or Tom Brady play. Smith was that good. The main downfall he had was a fumble, which turned around a savvy Andrew Luck and good wide receivers catching passes down the field. However, you cannot take away what Alex Smith did there. Andy Reid is the man and author of his own slant on the west coast offense and that leads to wins. Wins usually equal more seats in the seats and Arrowhead again is the stuff of magic. In 2013, Reid praised the fans and truly felt what it was like to be a recipient of the fans love at arrowhead instead of trying to teach his old team to get through a game at Arrowhead. Reid found 137.7 decibels created a home team advantage few other stadiums could match. Arrowhead established in the 90’s that loud was loud. Andy is a player’s coach. Players want to give more and truly be a team player. Reid has a good relationship with his players. He will tell you what is expected. He will tell you to be yourself. Have fun while playing. In addition, we have seen more of that in the last two seasons than we had before. Right now, Justin Houston is negotiating a new deal with the team but before he left for the offseason, he said he wanted to return because Andy Reid is in Kansas City. This bodes well for the team. Contracts are sometimes headaches but if anyone can get the best out of a player Andy Reid will do it.
Moreover, the final reason Alex Smith will be better is great special teams play since special teams coach Dave Toub joined the team. In 2013, Toub did a lot with very little. He used Dexter McCluster and Knile Davis returning punts and kicks. Toub did so well the Tennessee Titans paid Dexter big money to do the same for the Titans. Toub is a mad scientist of special teams coaching. Last season, general manager John Dorsey treated Dave Toub to DeAnthony Thomas from Oregon in the fourth round of the draft. DAT or Black Momba a nickname Snoop Dog gave Thomas while forming his own league-organized league in California. He calls him the Black Momba because he said he had never seen anyone run that fast! If he gets away from you, he is gone. In addition, he showed in the game against the San Francisco 49ers where he ran behind his blocking and stiff-armed a defender to get into the end zone. Mc Cluster was a great kid. It showed us that Toub and Reid were leading the team with Great knowledge of football and players built for Reid’s offense. I am not talking about his speed but his game speed. He was decent but Thomas has more speed and he can run through an attempted tackle with his mind-blowing speed and stiff-arm. The first game he played in was a pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The very first play he received the punt and returned it for a touchdown. He has also shown he can take passes in space and create huge mismatches. Most of the time last season the Chiefs started their offense series further down the field. Coaches like Dave Toub can take talent and plug and play. There is no doubt we have one of the best special teams unit in the NFL. Thomas should benefit from a second season in Andy Reid’s West Coast Offense. He is still one of my favorite players because he is speedy and a match up nightmare. Nevertheless, Thomas works hard and plays hard. He has a great motor and can change games with his talent and natural instincts. This is the final reason I believe Alex Smith will succeed this season in fine fashion.
The Chiefs have a chance to be special and make the playoffs. I feel confident that Smith will succeed for the reasons listed. Alex Smith loves football and his love of the game along with the love and football character possessed by his teammates. It could be a very big year for Alex Smith.