Alex Smith…Can he lead the Chiefs to the Promised Land?

Alex Smith

OCTOBER 2015 – Does Alex Smith have what it takes? It’s typical for the media and the fans to go with the notion that in order for a team to make it to the Super Bowl, they need a solid quarterback who can lead the team and win the big games.

There is the offense, defense and special teams with 11 players coming together as one unit to provide the best opportunity to win.

Each member has a part to play; however, we all know the quarterback is in the spotlight each and every offensive snap. If you look back at the history of all the Super Bowls, you will see numerous Hall Of Famers who both won and lost the big game. It is not surprising that 27 of the 49 Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks.

This leads us to Kansas City and our history of not making it all the way, let alone through the first round of the post-season.

Oddly enough, the last playoff victory for KC was when Hall Of Famer Joe Montana was at the helm.

We know the confidence of the play at QB can dictate the entire team’s spirit. I’m not saying we have to draft, develop or trade for a future Canton member, but we can look at the quarterback numbers and determine if Alex Smith has what it takes to get the Chiefs there.

Stats for Alex Smith…

Among the criteria quarterbacks are measured by are late game-winning drives.   Smith has orchestrated 16 in 112 games.   Current active leaders include Peyton Manning with 52, Tom Brady with 46 and Drew Brees with 36. Of course they have played in more games, but Russell Wilson has one less then Smith and he has played in only 50 games. Joe Flacco has five more with only two more games played and other QBs have more game-winning drives with fewer appearances.

The difference between many good quarterbacks and the great ones is the ability to drive the team down when the game is on the line. Alex’s numbers fall a bit short on this one.

Another stat that measures a quarterback’s efficiency is the passer rating.   Although most of us couldn’t tell you the exact formula of calculating this stat, the NFL uses it to rate where a QB stands amongst their peers. Current, Alex Smith is ranked 18th out of 30 active QB’s with 1,500 or more attempts, 19th if you count Russell Wilson. Smith’s 83.0 rating does rank a bit higher than Eli Manning, but far short of Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and a few others.

Some of this can be due to the play calling Alex Smith is dealt, but it still reflects execution and consistent play making.

One stat that was bank error in Smith’s favor was his interception percentage.   He is in the top five for having only 2.4% of his attempts picked off by the opposing team.

Although the percentages are close, he still shows he can be a game manager when needed, although this doesn’t always equate to a victory.

Again, the play calling may contribute to his low percentage rate, but two others may also show why he is known as a game manager.

I was shocked he is 29th in sack percentage. He led the NFL with 44 in 2011 and was brought down behind the line of scrimmage 45 times last year.

He does scramble a bit, which does increase the chances of being sacked, but this shows that he may not be willing to take the chances other quarterbacks would.

Other stats reflecting Smith’s performance are: 26th active QB in yards per completion, 22nd in TD percentage and 15th in passing completion percentage.

Granted, he may not have the supporting cast around him to give him the best chance to rise in these categories, but it does provide us some comparisons to what the Chiefs are facing and in the future.

Most Super Bowl quarterbacks have displayed better stats and the Chiefs should seriously consider this in determining what we need to get us to and through the playoffs.

Jeremy Maclin was one addition that will help Alex Smith. But what else can the Chiefs do to make Alex a better quarterback? Better protection and a strong offensive line helps any quarterback.

I think this season should provide us the answer if Alex Smith is the answer at quarterback.

Article by James Peuster. Visit his web page at jpegsports.com

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