The Kansas City Chiefs have high hopes for a team coming off of a dreadful two win season a year ago. The worst team in football in 2012 actually has convinced many experts in the NFL that they will be a playoff contender come winter. However so far in the preseason, the Chiefs have failed to further excite their fan base and live up to the already high expectations. Against the 49ers, Kansas City again showed that it still has a lot of work to do, losing 15-13 in a game that saw Alex Smith thoroughly beaten by his former team.
Alex Smith, the former San Francisco 49er who was shut down in favor of Colin Kaepernick last season, was a major reason for the excitement surrounding this team. By no means an elite passer, the number one overall draft pick in the 2005 draft, is a solid option and clearly a step up from the paltry quarterback performance from a year ago. Bringing in Smith addressed the most immediate need for a team that rotated between the likes of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn in 2012.
Paired with a coaching change to former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs were supposed to have an offense to compliment a defense that actually was not as horrible as their record would indicate. A hot start is beginning to appear less and less likely for a team that clearly still has some kinks to work out.
Squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers, Alex Smith was never able to establish an offensive rhythm and move the ball with regularity. Finishing his night completing less than half of his passes, Smith went 7 for 16 for just 62 yards. That 3.9 yard per attempt average shows that the vertical passing game that Andy Reid loved in Philadelphia is not yet a weapon he has at his disposal in Kansas City.
Protection issues were a major reason that Smith could never find his groove. He was sacked three times, and Chiefs quarterbacks were taken down 7 times throughout the course of the night. Communication issues also plagued an offense that could not shift its way out of neutral. “Not very efficient,” explained Smith, who also pointed out that his team“left a lot out there.”
A preseason loss is no reason to throw in the towel and declare the season a loss if you are a Chiefs fan. They played this game without their star rusher. If the Chiefs can get him going in the regular season, they will be able to open up their passing attack and become the duel threat offense that experts predict they are capable of.
“I didn’t think there was any reason to risk it,” Reid said of not playing Charles in Friday’s game against San Francisco. “He’s getting better each day, making progress. It’s a day-to-day situation. We’ll see how he is tomorrow, but it is day to day. It was a hard workout today and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express