The Alex Smith Experiment
Let it be known, I was in mourning all day yesterday. I had hitched my wagons so tightly to Geno Smith or some other young, QB stud coming out of this year's draft class that I never could bring myself to believe that the brilliant Andy Reid, and John Dorsey would actually trade for Alex Smith. Then they did. And I was crushed. I whined, complained, and proclaimed I could no longer care about this team. But I was born and raised inside the walls of this Kingdom. I could never pack my bags and walk away.
So I started thinking about what all of this meant. The first thing that came to mind was that it was obvious our new leadership didn't see what I saw in this year's crop of field generals. They agreed with the majority of people out there saying there was very, very little to be excited about out of the QB's entering the NFL this year. It also occurred to me that they must have thought very highly of Alex Smith considering the compensation that is being rumored to be given up for him. And I wondered if all the work we put in with Save Our Chiefs last year was in vein.
I mean, we've seen this movie. Over, and over, and over again. This is the 5th 49er retread this franchise has brought in for us over the last 25 years. And the great Joe Montana was the only one that has provided us with a playoff win. So naturally my thought process was “Here we go again! New Chiefs, same as the old Chiefs!”
Then I started doing my homework and watching the last couple of years of Alex Smith. This is a what have you done for me lately league, so I wasn't really worried about his first few years in the league. Coaching changes year after year, and no real continuity was what greeted him to the league. Jim Harbaugh came in and 2011 Alex Smith made some instant strides. I saw some things out of him that have now convinced me that this time the sequel could be better than the original. Here are some reasons I believe Alex Smith can help lead us to the promised land.
1. Leadership. Probably the most important thing a QB has to have, and something that has lacked in KC for the last couple of years. 2012 was a huge indicator of that. The Chiefs didn't believe in their QB and their play reflected it. On both sides of the ball. Alex Smith didn't have a contract with the 49ers the year of the lockout. Yet it was widely reported he still got his hands on Jim Harbaugh's new playbook and organized practices with his teammates. They rallied around him, and the proof is in the pudding. A muffed punt away from the Super Bowl.
2. Clutch. He has it. Tons of it. The biggest indicator was in his first playoff game. Back and forth, and they fell behind with around a minute left in the game. Alex marched them down the field and on a 3rd and 3 with his team in field goal position, he made his best pass of the entire game to score the game winning TD. On the biggest stage of his life. His coach could've easily played it safe and went for over time, but he believed in Alex. And that belief paid off with a win.
3. Field awareness. I watched a lot of tape. When Alex got loose of the pocket and had to scramble, he knew where the first down marker was. I watched him twist, and turn. Take hits, and deliver hits to get to that first down marker. No fetal position from Alex Smith. He went for it. Consistantly.
4. Progressions. I watched him go through progressions when he needed too. I haven't seen a lot of Alex locking onto a guy and just winging it in there regardless of coverage. That said, I've also seen him wing that ball in between two defenders where only his guy can catch the ball. And there's enough strength in his throws that the ball is there before the defender can respond too it.
5. Coaching. It took an elite coach to get the very best out of Alex Smith. And when he received that, he excelled instantaneously. What better coach, or situation could Alex Smith go to right now and replicate that success? There isn't one. This is it. Coach Reid, and our squad has the talent to put around Alex, and the ability to give him further insight, and tutilege to enhance, and grow his game.
6. Intangibles. This guy has a fire burning inside of him right now. He finally, finally got a head coach who was able to work with him, and he learned the system. He took his team to the brink of the Super Bowl and didn't get there due to no fault of his own. The very moment he was hurt, he was yanked, replaced, and watched his team go to the same spot that he himself probably could've led them too. He's the hungriest man in professional football right now, maybe in all of professional sports. He has something to prove, and he has a chip on his shoulder. And the way he conducted himself throughout that entire process as it unfolded last year was the mark of a leader.
7. History. Time and time again we've seen the stats that 1st round QB's win Super Bowls. We have not only a 1st round QB in Alex, but the very first pick in the draft. This is what we all wanted. Not how we envisioned it, but history is now on our side.
So there you have it. I've gone through mourning, and I've done my homework. I believe in our coach, and our new general manager, and I do not believe this in any way, shape, or form is remniscent of Scott *****, and the moves he made when he came to Kansas City. And I think that is truly our biggest fear. Because this move looks SO closely like the one Scooter made when he came to town, that we are all going to be relegated to that kind of failure over the next half decade.
I just don't think so. I think we have a former number 1 overall pick, that was the consensus number 1 at the time. This isn't a guy who backed up Matt Leinart in college. He played, and he played well. And again, this is a what have you done for me lately league. Alex has grown immensely in the last 2-3 years and has shown he has the ability to make the plays, make the throws, use his legs, and win when the game is on the line.
This is the new face of the franchise. Join me in optimism. Let this Kingdom stand tall, and proud, and root our warriors onto victory. We have our field general. And he's proven recently that he has the ability to lead our troops to victory.