It has been awhile since San Francisco 49er fans heard news about Alex Smith who is now a quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers traded Smith to the Chiefs during the off-season for two draft picks and he will be the starter at quarterback for Kansas City.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who is also in his first year with the team, believes Smith can be the franchise quarterback the team has been lacking for years. Reid believes this not only because of Smith’s productive ten games he played in last season before getting injured and replaced by Colin Kaepernick. Smith threw for 1,737 yards and 13 touchdowns with a 70.2 completion percentage. But he also attributes Smith’s talents to Jim Harbaugh’s tutelage:
I think Jim Harbaugh did a nice job with him out in San Francisco. He was productive out there. What we’re doing here is just what you’re saying. Everybody is all on board. He’s a good football player. He has good leadership. I’m asking him to do a ton of things. He’s handling it. We’ve had an interception here or there, but that’s all part of this thing. You have to find out about the offense, and you can’t do it with your hands in your pocket. You have to go out and you have to try things and experiment. That’s what he’s doing right now. At the same time, you’re training the receivers, and they’re running their tails off for him. It’s just good stuff. He’s staying aggressive with the ball, and I appreciate that.
Harbaugh’s development of Smith will help Reid and the Chiefs avoid losing 14 games again like last season. But if you were to ask Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles about Smith, he thinks Smith is a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback:
I think he is [a Super Bowl-caliber QB]. He’s got a great arm. He’s been winning most all of his career. I think he wants to prove people wrong: That he is a good quarterback, that he can stay consistent…he probably felt like everybody forgot about him because of the Kaepernick situation and being a backup. Making it to the Super Bowl but not playing in the Super Bowl. Everybody wants to play in the Super Bowl. So, I think he’s got a lot to prove and he’s a Super Bowl quarterback… with the passion to go out and prove people wrong.
Yes, Smith is a good quarterback. But no, he is not a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. Of all the wonders that Harbaugh can do as a quarterback guru, molding Smith into a Super Bowl-caliber is not one of them. That’s a knock on Smith, not Harbaugh.
Good luck to Reid in getting to the Super Bowl with Smith at quarterback. There’s a reason why Smith was known as a game-manager while with the 49ers.