Alex Smith finally embracing his inner gun-slinger

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Quarterback Alex Smith
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Quarterback Alex Smith /

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career. But after twelve seasons, why is it only now that he’s finally living up to his potential?

Alex Smith was taken first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of Utah.  But the most notable thing that most people talk about from that draft is how Alex Smith went number one and Aaron Rodgers slid to the 24th pick?

Smith got his career off to a slow start.  It wasn’t until the 2011 season, six years in did he really have his break-through year.  In 2012 Alex Smith was having his best season when he suffered concussion and head coach Jim Harbaugh replaced him as the starter with Colin Kaepernick.

After that season, the 49ers traded Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs.  He’s 43-20 as their starter since then.  Alex Smith is a winner, but during his career he’s more of game manager than a gun-slinger.

And that’s part of the problem, because for the second time in his career Alex Smith’s team has drafted a hot-shot rookie quarterback to come in and replace him.  With the 49ers it was Colin Kaepernick, with the Chiefs it’s first round pick Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes is the personification of a gun-slinger.  He can make every throw imaginable and even throws you could never imagine.  But this move had to anger Alex Smith.  He’s won a lot of games for the Chiefs, granted never a Super Bowl but he’s still won.

However, this season there’s something different about Alex Smith.  He’s playing with an intensity he hasn’t shown before.  But why now?  Why did it take until his 13th season for Smith to finally play like the number pick in the draft?  The guy taken ahead of Aaron Rodgers.

It’s because Alex Smith is sick and tired of being passed over for the next guy.  He’s playing with a huge chip on his shoulder and out to show Andy Reid that he should have stuck by him.  Smith has decided to leave the game manager role behind, and embrace his inner gun-slinger.

Alex Smith is a quarterback playing in attack mode.  So far this season, Smith’s numbers are up across the board.   His yards passing per game are up from 233 last year to 309 this year.  His yards per attempt are up also from 7.2 in 2016 to  9.8 in 2017.

Smith is on pace to break all his personal passing records and perhaps the Chiefs’ as well.  His contract is up at the end of the 2018 season and he knows there’s no need to play it safe any more.  Just throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may.

Next: NFL Power Rankings – Week 3: A Shake up in Top 10

At 33, Smith is still young in comparison to some quarterbacks in the league.  So if it’s not with the Kansas City Chiefs after this season, Alex Smith will be a starter somewhere.  But for now he’s playing like a number one draft pick should and for the Chiefs it’s better late than never.