Leftridge: Chiefs Land QB, Everyone Hates Move Except Me

c_chiefs_helmetIt’s all but official that Alex Smith is now poised to become the next starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. In a move that has been speculated about for nearly a week now (though still not official; trades cannot be made before March 12th), the Chiefs will send this year’s 2nd round draft pick (1st pick of the round) PLUS a conditional pick next year, to the San Francisco 49ers for the services of the veteran QB.

The early, prevailing opinion amongst Chiefs’ fans seems to be that new general manager John Dorsey needs to be murdered by a thousand rabid dogs, and new head coach Andy Reid is as bad as Hitler at a baby seal clubbing party.

I see things differently.

In fact, I really like this move. It’s what I’d hoped they’d do all along. (Well, once it became apparent that Smith was a goner in SF.) I’ll explain why.

AsmithBallThis is NOT another case of the lazy ol’ Chiefs taking someone else’s backup.

Sure, by all technical definitions, Smith DID become a clipboard-holder during last year’s campaign. How did he get that job? Not by ineffectiveness, but by injury. After suffering a concussion, he ceded his spot to the sensational Colin Kaepernick. This said very little about Smith’s lack of abilities but everything about the long-term plans of the 49er’s organization. The torch would have been passed sooner or later, and with Smith’s injury, it was simply an expedited succession.

Smith is not Matt Cassel 2.0. Alex Smith was a number one overall draft pick in 2005 with all of the promise in the world. He struggled mightily in his first few seasons (which I’m sure had NOTHING to do with the scores of head coaches and coordinators who came and went) before finding a remarkable balance under Jim Harbaugh. Cassel was a backup in high school, a backup in college and a late-round draft pick backup who put together one decent season with a fantastic cast in New England before parlaying that into a gigantic payday from the perpetually QB-talent bereft Chiefs. Not quite apples and oranges, maybe, but perhaps the difference between a Red Delicious and a worm-holed Jonathan that has been accidentally stepped on by the kind Mexican gent who sold it to you.

Most experts acknowledge that there is NO consensus number-one quarterback to be had in this year’s NFL draft. And yes, this sucks because the Chiefs have the first pick, but complaining about this is like blaming Obama when you get dick-cancer: it’s not Obama who gave you the dick-cancer. Sure, Geno Smith might go on to be the next Cam Newton, but he could just as easily become JaMarcus Russell Lite (okay—unlikely, but you know what I’m getting at). Chances are, the experts are probably pretty right, and he’ll be somewhere in between, living comfortably in the land of quarterbacks who didn’t deserve to be a number one overall pick. And since the Chiefs don’t have to take a HUGE risk by blowing their wad on an undeserving QB, they’re free to take the best player for their needs, Luke Joeckel.

Joeckel, the gigantic offensive tackle from Texas A & M, has the skills, size and can’t-miss-osity that denotes someone worthy of a true number one selection. He’s not the sexy pick—gargantuan, hairy white dudes rarely are—but he’s the pick who makes the most amount of sense. He’ll be an O-line stalwart for many, many years, and someone who can make a meaningful, immediate impact on a team craving success. Speaking of “immediate impact…”

This is NOT simply a “win now” move. I’ve seen that notion bandied about, and quite frankly, I don’t get it. Alex Smith is 28. For an NFL QB, that is far from old. Theoretically, he could have 8 really good, productive seasons left, and probably a few more after that (albeit in a slightly crippled capacity). And a couple of draft picks are just that: draft picks. This isn’t the Royals mortgaging the future by dealing an almost-certain commodity like Wil Myers. This is the Chiefs trading a few blank scrabble tiles for a tangible double-word-score space.

Alex-SmithFinally—and most importantly—Alex Smith has quietly been turning into a legitimately good quarterback. His last two (okay, fine—1.5) seasons have netted a QB rating of 95.9. He has compiled a record of 20-5-1 over that span (including the playoffs). Before the concussion shortened his season in 2012, Smith had a 70% completion percentage, which—if sustained—would have tied him for the highest completion percentage in NFL single-season history. Against the Cardinals, he went 18-for-19 with three touchdowns. (One more completion would have netted him the record for the most efficient passing game ever.) In 2011, he threw only five interceptions, the fewest full-season total by a San Francisco QB ever. (MONTANA! YOUNG!) He also holds 49ers’ records for most 4th quarter comeback wins in a single season (6 in 2011) and completions without an interception (249 in 2011).

Under proper supervision, he has morphed into the leader he was always supposed to be: rarely flashy but extraordinarily capable of performing with Germanic-style efficiency and surgeonic-like precision.

So the question becomes, will he continue his winning ways WITHOUT the explosive embodiment of angry animation that is Jim Harbaugh? Only time will tell. Reid isn’t exactly chopped liver but he’s also probably not the coach that Harbaugh is (or will become, rather).

Regardless of the fact, I like this move and I will stand by this opinion with unwavering certainty. Alex Smith makes this team better now, and he makes it better three years from now.

Now, please post your dissenting opinions in the comments but remember, if you want to make cusses, use things like @$$-butt so it doesn’t get stuck in Moderation Land. And… GO!


Follow Brandon on Twitter @StanfordWhistle

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16 Responses to Leftridge: Chiefs Land QB, Everyone Hates Move Except Me

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    Minor correction, Chiefs have the second pick in the second round.

    Excited? Not really but not ready to jump from the Paseo Bridge either. One thing Andy Reid has shown he can do well is groom a QB. The success he got out of AJ Feeley is one example. And Smith has shown he has game, at least for the last two-years.

    I’d give ’em a B, overpaid but since it is not my money, no skin off my kiester. And maybe what is being leaked is less than accurate on the picks given.

    Reid has also had pretty good runs with less-than-stellar receivers. Will he keep Bowe or did his experience with TO and his recent run of high-priced diva-players have him looking for the next Todd Pinkston?

    Draft the kid from A&M at tackle. Convince Albert it is in best interest and the team if he would play another position besides LT and resign him. That could really move the OL forward.

    My biggest concern with the Red Head is he has never gotten better at the things he doesn’t do well i.e. clock management and game day adjustments.

    What was the over/under on fans breaking their ankle jumping off the bandwagon with this news?

  2. Super Dave says:

    I’m not going to say the worst move the Chiefs could have made nor going to say the best move, but more of a common sense move in selecting a deal for Alex Smith.

    Getting the 1st pick in the first round at the NFL Draft this year to me would be like someone in KC winning a new house in downtown Moscow in a contest. Sure you won but what are you going to do with it? Simple, you sell it and obtain something more suitable to your needs

  3. chuck says:

    Considering the variables, it was the best move the Chiefs could have made.

  4. Wow. Surprised at all the agreement, to be honest. To be fair, I don’t think this turns the team into an instantaneous SB contender, but I think it’s a step in a positive direction and like Chuck stated, the best move they could’ve made.

    • Super Dave says:

      Well you pointed out the facts once again Lefty gave us a good story and left your friends out of it.

      So yes we agree with you!

    • Jess says:

      If you want some argument for this, just tune in to KK for 10 minutes. The second that the news broke he sounded like some peed and pooped in his wheaties. He is even doing the reverse psychology “Well, I hope it works” No he doesn’t, he wants this to fail. I had to turn it off when he started to throw out the “what ifs” if they trade down and STILL get Geno Smith.
      I am with you, Joeckel may not be the sexy pick, but it is someone that will anchor this line for years to come. And lets face it, the pickings are pretty darn slim.

  5. chuck says:

    By the way, today on 810, Clunksdale and KK said that the Chiefs were married to Smith because of his contract. Orphan is right. Andy R will have a ton of QBs in here from who knows where and the QB situation will always, always be a work in progress. KK and Clunker are dead wrong on that one.

    Actually, although no one has any idea, it would be cool if Andy could get something out of R Stanzi. If anyone could…

    Like Orphan said, Andy made Jay Feely an NFL QB.

    Jay. Feely.

    • And the good thing is, Reid doesn’t necessarily need to “make” Smith into anything… just find a way to sustain what Harbaugh seems to have fostered.

    • chuck says:

      Sorry, I am old and forget stuff.

      Petro said the Chiefs are tied to A Smith for 5 years and he will be the QB for 5 years.

      Now that may be so if A Smith performs.

      But this ain’t Pioli and if A Smith is unable to win, then the gears will turn IMMEDIATELY to replace him and he will be replaced as fast as ANY reasonable facsimile of a QB who can fog a mirror shows is face.

      Petro is wrong too.

      Andy gets up in the morning, has coffee and starts thinkin about his QB.

      He is always looking and he gets paid to pay attention to current events in the NFL. Like R Wilson, Colin K., and the many recent QBs who have suddenly appeared on the stage.

      The game is changing, the athletes are changing, the rules are changing and we rubes are out of the loop.

      The Chiefs will in no way, be stuck for years, like they were with Cassel.

      Just this rubes opinion.

  6. chuck says:

    Brandon Leftridge says:

    February 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    And the good thing is, Reid doesn’t necessarily need to “make” Smith into anything… just find a way to sustain what Harbaugh seems to have fostered.



  7. Kerouac says:

    The Chiefs acquire QB Alex Smith for a 2nd round pick, 34th overall… if he shines in KC, the conditional nature of the other choice might also become a 2nd rounder. Too much to pay? What does a 2nd rounder deliver? Ten years of Chiefs hindsight would indicate, not so much. In fact, my opine only one good player & a lot of mediocre ones, plus two more who did become decent – albeit not here/elsewhere.


    Chiefs #2 draft choices 2003-2012:

    2012 Jeff Allen OG (44th overall)
    2011 Rodney Hudson C (55th overall)
    2010 Dexter McCluster KR/HB (36th overall) / Javier Areanas KR/CB (50th overall)
    2009 – TRADED – Matt Cassel QB & Mike Vrabel LB (34th overall)
    2008 Brandon Flowers CB (35th overall)
    2007 Turk McBride DE (54th ovberall)
    2006 Bernard Pollard S (54th overall)
    2005 – TRADED – Patrick Surtain CB (46th overall)
    2004 Junior Siavii NT (36th overall) / Kris Wilson TE (61st overall)
    2003 Kawika Mitchell LB (47th overall)

    Carl Peterson constantly blew 2nd round draft choices (for every Grunhard, a Bartee, Freeman & Blundin), and Pioli’s efforts as indicated above were no better… my opine, Alex Smith is worth an #2 pick if for no other reason than his name isn’t Cassel, Quinn or Stanzi. Realatively speaking, Smith succeeding/costing KC two #2 draft choices is in essence obtaining a QB in lieu a CB (Flowers) & S (Pollard) or LB (Mitchell). At worst, obtaining Smith might be a wash… we’ll just have to wait & see.

    If KC does not trade out of their #1 pick, OT Joeckel is the likely top pick, and I think they resign Albert anyway; Bowe also returns. Hey, it could be worse: Joeckel’s name could be Tyson Jackson.

    If the Chiefs trade their #1, they get a lower #1 choice and obtain a #2 pick to replace the one they lost. I see the Chiefs taking another QB in round #2 if so; if not, they get one in round #3.

    Upshot: the Superbowl express doesn’t arrive in Kansas City anytime soon…

  8. the dude says:

    I’ll say it here and now, this Alex Smith kid is another Tony Romo. Harbaugh knew this and that is why he yanked him and didn’t put him back in. And with the lack of an offensive line and receivers to catch the ball here this kid will be doing the Cassel shuffle all damn day just waiting to be concussed.

    • I hope you’re wrong… I THINK you’re wrong. We’ll see.

      • the dude says:

        I hope I am wrong, I would like to see some winning ways come to this team but I think Harbaugh knew exactly what he was doing when he benched Smith for Koepernick. I don’t think the kid has the ganas. Some people do, some people don’t.

  9. JS says:

    Cassel and Smith have statistics that are eerily almost exactly the same. You can say that Smith improved but that was because he was on a good team. He is coming to the Chiefs with a bad offense especially in receiving core. I would bet his stats will be similar to Cassel while in KC the last few years until he is surrounded by good players. I don’t mind the trade if we continue to try to get better at quarterback not just decide Smith is the starter and there is nothing else out there better. (See Matt Cassel)

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