Allow me to introduce you to Alex Smith: Elite QB
I’ve never been very high on Alex Smith. I’ve followed his career since the first game of his senior season at Utah. He was running around making all sorts of plays with his legs. He looked great, great enough to launch himself into the number 1 overall pick that year.
He has everything an NFL needs in a QB. He’s mobile (4.7 forty) and intelligent, finishing college in 2 years and he seemed to have a passion for football.
Teams were so psyched on him that Aaron Rodgers found himself in a draft free fall. We all know the story. Mr. Rodgers was supposed to go in the top 10 but Alex did instead and one super bowl victory later he suddenly found himself thought of as an NFL bust.
Alex was pretty bad his first year, throwing 11 interceptions and 1 touchdown. Every year past that he was never really that good and never really that bad. That was the problem with him. He always left you wanting more.
Alex did tease us a bit when Norv Turner was his offensive coordinator in 2006. He was very efficient with 16TD’s and only 6 interceptions and a respectable 2800 yards but those are game manager numbers.
That seemed to be his ceiling, a high end game manager. Even under Harbaugh he left a lot to be desired. Sure he had that game where he went bannana’s against the saints in the playoffs but he never really got much credit. Everyone knew that he was protected through clever playcalling and that game wasn’t to be expected.
It seemed that under Harbaugh, Alex Smith had peaked. The rest of the story goes like this: Smith gets benched blah blah blah he’s underappreaciated yada yada yada then he gets traded!
And this is where the real story begins. This is where Alex Smith carves out his legacy and finally fufills the potential that every coach in the league thought they saw coming into the league.
Smith is only 28 years old. He came into the league before he was 21 years of age. He’s mobile and highly intelligent. Best of all he walks into a dream scenario with Andy Reid, who has historically gotten the best out of every QB he has coached.
We’ve all seen how Reid can turn an average QB into a good borderline great QB. What have these quarterbacks done when leaving Reids watch? Most of them flamed out, the highest profile bust being Kevin Kolb striking it rich in Arizona. Then theres AJ Feely, who Reid got a 2nd rounder for. It’s hard to to assess Donaven Mcnabb since he was at the very end of his career but no one can argue how great he was during the 10 years he spent with Andy.
Michael Vick had his best years under Reid, putting up passing numbers he’d never touched before he went to jail. Then there’s Jeff Garcia, who didn’t quite reach the numbers in his prime but was extremely efficient leading the Eagles to the playoffs while in Philly.
Alex Smith isn’t going to a bad team or even a re-building team. The Chiefs are already loaded with talent sending 6 players to the pro bowl last year and fielding one of the best runningbacks in the game, Jamaal Charles.
The jury on whether Bowe stays or goes is still out but expect him to stick around now that Reid is in town. I don’t expect the Chiefs to try and re-build their receiver core from the ground up. That would be foolish given Smiths label as a game manager. Why make his transition to a new team that much more difficult?
But I don’t expect Smith to be a game manager any more. Under Reids watch, I expect him to flirt with being elite. Yeah. It’s bold. And I have never been high on Alex Smith but if he can put up solid numbers under Norv Turner and Jim Harbaug then expect even greater numbers under the most QB friendly coach in the league. Reid will push Alex Smith to his threshold and get a the most out of him as long as this marriage lasts.
Reid has a way of instilling a level of confidence in his quarterbacks that no other coach can. Now here’s how it effects your fantasy team: Expect Alex Smith to get between 3900-4200 yards passing, 22-26 touchdown passes and around 10-12 interceptions.
Yeah, I know, this isn’t quite elite just yet but I expect this in his very first year. 5 years from now we will consider Alex Smith amongst the very best in the league, easily within the top 10.
How is this possible? Well, I consider what Smith has gone through an advantage. He has essentially run the quarterback gauntlet, resurrecting his career several times along the way.
In that time he has dealt with an incredible amount of offensive personal, between new coordinators, WR’s, RB’s, headcoaches and offensive linemen. During that time he has shown an incredible ability to adjust which is essential in the NFL. Most quarterbacks would have been left for dead years ago but Alex Smith has found a way to continually come back from it.
One of the most valuable assets to have as an NFL QB is being mentally tough. I don’t know how much more mentally tough you can be having been through all he has during a career that seems like forever.
I don’t blame Harbaugh for starting Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith. He pulled the trigger in a situation most coaches would go the safe route. Kaepernick is a rare NFL talent you can build a team around. Alex Smith isn’t as talented as Kaeprnick and never will be.
But pair him with one of the best offensive minded coaches of all time and you have an incredible scenario for him to thrive in. If I’m Smith I’m claiming destiny, and feeling as if it were all meant to be. Consider all past transgressions water under the bridge. I’m stoked and grateful for my current situation and look forward to carving out a solid NFL career to be proud of.
Phew. This article has already gone on long enough. Thanks for reading. I know its a bold statement. It’s not so much that I believe in Alex Smith. It’s more so that I believe in Andy Reid and what he can get out of a quarterback. In Smith, Reid has everything he needs to be successful: Mobility, top level intelligence and a decent arm. If I were to compare him to one of the QB’s Reid has coach I would compare him to Jeff Garcia. He’s taller and probably smarter but they probably have similar arm strength as well as similar mobility.