2017 Grade: .636

2017 3rd Down: .540

Week 1 at New England: Alex Smith did what he does best in this game – execute the game plan. Capitalizing on a brilliant play caller, and loaded stable of weapons, Smith distributed the football with accuracy and poise in the season’s opener. His best throws were the long touchdown to Kareem Hunt and the sideline throw against cover-2 to Chris Conley. He had one bad miss when he attacked Travis Kelce on a go-route against single-coverage. On that play, Tyreek Hill came wide-open across the field on a post-route – Smith didn’t see him.

Week 2 vs. Philadelphia: 

It’s not too often that Rodgers gets nearly an entire quarter erased due to garbage time. The Packers spent the majority of the second half chipping away with “gimme-passes.” The absence of both starting tackles impeded Rodgers ability to flee the pocket from either side. In fact, the final nail in the coffin came when both edges broke down and Rodgers lost a fumble on a questionable call by the officials. Even his worst day is better than most quarterbacks.

Week 3 at LA Chargers: Alex Smith was asked to do very little in this game. I do hope, though, that the incorrect rumor of his downfield passing prowess can be put to bed (see the dime in the GIF below.) The Chargers kept giving the Chiefs field position, but they didn’t have an answer for Melvin Ingram. Smith didn’t help matters, stepping into a pair of Ingram sacks. This game consisted almost entirely of dump off passes on third and long, hence the discrepancy in passes thrown and drop backs registered.

Week 4 vs. Washington: Playing it close to the vest, in a tight game, shouldn’t be frowned upon. Alex Smith played this brand of football on Monday night, but dipped into his play maker bag on a number of crucial third downs. He was poised, made plays with his legs, and made the throw of the weekend on the Chiefs game winning drive. Patrick Mahomes is going to have to wait a while if Smith keeps this up.

Week 5 at Houston: There should be no questions, to this point, about who the MVP of the league is. Alex Smith is in such a groove right now, that the Chiefs offense cannot be stopped. Accuracy, getting the offense (and protections) into the right call, distributing the football, hitting deep shots, scrambling, moving to throw, he pitched a perfect game in this one. The first GIF is a display of Andy Reid’s offense incorporating a hi-lo concept after throwing shallow crosses at the Texans. The second GIF is pure play making ability by Smith.

Week 6 vs. Pittsburgh: Smith was under siege for most of this game. He’s going to get roasted for failing to beat the Steelers again, but he made due with what was afforded to him. He missed a couple of passes, including a crucial 20-yard dig that he sailed on the final drive, but he hit some big ones as well (GIF below). This game, in no way, makes me think any less of his MVP campaign.

2016: Everyone’s Favorite (Yet Unwarranted) Scapegoat

There’s a reason the general NFL fan thinks that Alex Smith is standing in the way of the Chiefs capturing its elusive second Lombardi Trophy. They believe that, in order to win in the NFL, a quarterback must push the ball down the field and, while Alex Smith does make a living off of working underneath, he’s a polished product.

By function of Andy Reid’s offense, the Chiefs work underneath-routes and run the ball effectively – Alex Smith was born to execute this game-plan. He’s supremely accurate to the perimeter, over the middle of the field and down the field, for the most part.

Smith’s mechanics are flawless as he always squares his shoulders and feet in-line with his target. He can move any direction in the pocket without sacrificing those mechanics or losing accuracy. He rarely misses throws – outside of two games, he regularly missed two or three throws per game.

Smith has a tendency to tuck his head when the pocket is compromised. Although he gains big-yardage with his legs, he tends to get tunnel-vision and will miss open receivers coming uncovered.

In general, Smith misses some down-field targets. The Chiefs utilize a lot of play-action bootlegs and Smith is a sure bet to take the easy-throw opposed to pushing it to the second-level, even when it’s wide open. It would greatly benefit his team if he used his running-ability to set up a pass more-frequently as well. He does, however, get maximum yardage out of most runs refusing to slide until the last minute, if at all.

This tough trait did result in a nasty concussion mid-season that forced him to miss one start. Coming off that injury, he looked slightly less collected the rest of the season missing more throws and reads.

His arm talent is plenty-adequate as he has the touch to go deep, intermediate over the middle and to the boundaries.

The Chiefs route-combinations are about keeping space. Swing route to the back, a sit down by the slot or Y and the X or Z will drag in behind that occupied linebacker and Smith is adept at holding the ‘backer with his stance and eyes.

Kansas City utilizes its talent on the outside incorporating a lot of catch-and-throw concepts with bubble and tunnel-screens. Smith NEVER misses the basic throws. Flare-slant (back flare to the sideline and receiver running a shallow cross, dig or slant) combo is the most common.

His performance tapered off late in the year and the Chiefs lack of playoff success was enough for Andy Reid to spend big on the draft on Smith’s eventual successor. When the Chiefs hand the keys over to Patrick Mahomes, the organization will undergo a massive pivot.

Stat Sheet

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