By Nathan Fioravante
Monday Night Football was a showdown between two quarterbacks picked in the first round of 2005 NFL draft. One of them, Alex Smith was picked number 1 overall by the San Francisco 49ers. The other one, Aaron Rodgers, was selected 23 picks later by the Green Bay Packers. Of course we all the know the story by now. One quarterback looks like a future hall-of famer while the other is just a glorified game manager. Being a game manager is not a bad thing at all, but is it possible that Alex Smith could be holding back the potential of Kansas City’s offense?
Go back to week 1 of the NFL season and one could argue that he was actually an asset to this Kansas City offense. Smith showed more aggressiveness and fire than we have seen from him in a while, as he threw for 243 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, expectations for Smith settled down a bit after he played poorly the next week against the Denver Broncos. And after another underwhelming performance on Monday Night, many are questioning Smith’s starting credentials.
Smith’s stats last night are deceiving. He may have thrown for 290 yards but most of these numbers came through garbage time. The Chiefs punted the ball times 9 times out of 13 possessions and and 3 of their 4 scoring drives occurred in the 4th quarter during garbage time. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s offense scored 7 out of the 12 times they got the ball. Now that’s what I call efficient football.
With the amount of money the Chiefs are paying him, and with the overall improvement with talent around him, Smith may be running out of excuses. Smith has to take more risks with the football. He has to stop being too conservative and settling for screens and check downs. When you watch Rodgers that night compared to Smith, you see a quarterback who will test the coverage down field, will take risks, and will only settle for check downs if forced to.
Now people may give Smith a pass this week because any quarterback would struggle playing at Lambeau Field. However, Smith’s struggles have been dated as far as last year. And the Chiefs know this too. Why do you think they went out and shopped for star wideout Jeremy Maclin?
Maybe Smith isn’t confident in his offensive line. Maybe he isn’t completely confident in his receivers. Or maybe Andy Reid’s play calling can be blamed as well. Either way, the fate of the 2015 Chiefs depends on whether Smith will grow from an average game manager to a quarterback who can make a significant impact on the field. Until we see more aggressiveness from Smith, we will continue to question his status as a true franchise quarterback