"You could say the Chiefs ordered the best thing on the menu at Chili's"
The Kansas City Star
Alex Smith is a difficult case. His first five seasons — that’s 50 of his 75 career starts — he stunk. Stunk to Quinn-ian levels. Actually, even now, if you go by the inherently flawed passer rating Matt Cassel (80.4) is slightly better than Smith (79.1). He’s only played two full seasons out of seven.
But he is also talented enough to be the first selection in the 2005 draft. That was a weak draft, and there is no doubt the 49ers wish they would’ve selected Aaron Rodgers instead, but still. Smith graduated with a degree in economics in 2 1/2 years.
He is, even by NFL standards, very accurate in the kinds of short and intermediate passes that Andy Reid’s system values. He was good in 2011, then very good in 2012, and it’s always nice to trade for a guy who’s getting better.
His teammates in San Francisco, by all appearances, loved him. Part of the 49ers’ motivation in trading him — aside from getting EVEN MORE draft picks — was to avoid a locker room divide. At the very least, the Chiefs just traded for their best quarterback since Trent Green^.
^ Yes, that is a heck of a backhanded compliment.
Anyway, here’s today’s column, which is much more about the image and fan reaction than the football because in the immediate aftermath^ that’s the more interesting angle.
^ Heck, aftermath? Thing can’t even be official until March 12.
There will be plenty of time for the football part of this, but the short of it is this: Alex Smith is not the franchise quarterback fans dream about. He is not Rodgers, he is not Drew Brees, not Andrew Luck, not — ahem — Joe Flacco, and not Manning (either one). But he is 19-5-1 over the last two seasons, and even that’s more due to his teammates and system, he is coming to a(nother) coach especially known for his ability to get the most out of quarterbacks.
The problem, of course, is that the Chiefs being the Chiefs they picked the absolute worst year to have the No. 1 pick and an entirely inconvenient offseason to go looking for a quarterback. You could say they ordered the best thing on the menu at Chili’s^. I like Chili’s, it’s way better than Applebee’s, but if you’re going to get the best thing on the menu you’d rather do it at Oklahoma Joe’s.
^ Which is the fajitas, of course, with chips and salsa to start.
The Chiefs got the best quarterback available for 2013, in other words. As long as they continue to try to improve football’s most important position this is a move that makes them better but won’t be the thing that brings a parade to town.