Alex Smith’s Efficiency Will Help Cut Down on Turnovers, Guide Chiefs Back into Playoff Contention


Alex Smith, Steve YoungThings are looking up in Kansas City.

After three consecutive seasons of underwhelming quarterback play, the Chiefs finally got their man — well, he’s at least en route.

Alex Smith will be the Chiefs’ new starting quarterback in 2013, after the 49ers agreed to a trade him on Wednesday. Smith brings his experience, leadership and, maybe more importantly, efficiency to a Chiefs offense desperately lacking in all three categories.

Just for a little perspective on the disparity of the situation from then to now, Chiefs quarterbacks — a combination of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn — won just two games in the entire 2012 season. Alex Smith, on the other hand, won six out of his nine starts last season.

There is no guarantee that Smith will come in and make an immediate impact on the Chiefs’ win total. Things just don’t work that way. There is a lot more to building a winner than just a quarterback. Then again, the Chiefs did have six Pro Bowlers this year, so there is a strong talent base to build on.

The Chiefs are team oozing with talent just in need of the right leadership, which they feel they found in Andy Reid, and an efficient quarterback, which is where Smith comes into the equation.

At the time when Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in Week 11, Smith actually led the NFL with a 70.2 completion percentage and had thrown 13 touchdowns to just five interceptions. The duo of Cassel and Quinn combined to complete just 57 percent of their passes while tossing just eight touchdowns and 20 picks in the full 16-game slate. Smith has the capability to do much more with the Chiefs’ offense than either of the former starters, even if the Chiefs don’t expect to have a No. 1 receiver — Dwayne Bowe — on the roster for him to target.

With Smith, the Chiefs will significantly cut down on their turnovers — something Reid will appreciate after the way his final year in Philadelphia went — and boast a much more consistent passing game. The union provides both with a fresh start and a renewed opportunity for success.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

Pick Six
The six biggest Trendsetters of the past week in the NFL — NFL combine edition

1. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: Up — He ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and was excellent in positional drills. Austin might have played himself into the top 15 with that combine workout.

2. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M: Down —Moore put up a measly 12 reps on the bench press, which might make teams question his strength. A questionable first rounder coming in, Moore seems more like a second-day guy now.

3. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame: Down — His 4.82 40 time even caught the ire of LeBron James. His expected draft stock might be an even bigger catfish than Lennay Kekua. Too much?

4. Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon: Up — Jordan measured out at 6-foot-7 but ran a 4.5 40. Now, that is something to gawk at. Your play, Jarvis Jones.

5. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: Down — Star’s medicals showed a heart condition that caused him to miss workout and could even cost him a shot at the first round — a terrible break for a great young talent.

6. Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida: Up — No one is reaping the benefits of the combine more than Floyd. A fringe first-round pick at one point, he is now in top-five consideration. That’s a multi-million dollar jump.

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