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Alex Smith needs to improve, throw catchable balls

I like Alex Smith, just not everything about Smith.

A good leader, check, his team calls him that. Tamba Hali said so when specifically asked that question in the locker room Wednesday, I agree… Smith is a solid example. He doesn’t hurt you with silly mistakes, has just 4 interceptions in 718 snaps, but he’s super careful, I don’t always like that.

Smith has 22 attempts at 20 yards or more downfield, two more than Texans Case Keenum and Keenum’s started just three NFL games this season. Smith’s 6.0 per pass attempt is second lowest in the NFL.

Hanging onto the ball too long and taking the sack, yeah, that drives me nuts.

“I think obviously play better, execute, I think that’s the most obvious thing,” said Smith when asked what he can do to help the offense. “I look back at myself and how I played on Sunday night and certainly didn’t play very well early. I missed some opportunities there that really could have helped us get into a flow. I mean certainly just come out and execute, it’s the little things. I think we turn on the tape, all of us offensively, and we all look at it and it was all of the little things.  A little thing here and a little thing there, we all had our share, and that’s what results in the inability to execute, but basically the inability to move the football. It was kind of the details of everything.”

I respect Smith, because when asked questions about his play he doesn’t make excuses, he knows he has to do more than what he’s doing, but it’s not all Smith… right? The Chiefs have 28 drops as a team.

Is it the receivers?

Dwayne Bowe… 4 dropped passes (Drop rate % 9.76… 69 targets/37 rec/41 catchable)

Dexter McCluster… 4 dropped passes (Drop rate % 11.76… 49 targets/30 rec/34 catchable)

Donnie Avery… 3 dropped passes (Drop rate % 9.68… 50 targets/28 rec/31 catchable)

A.J. Jenkins… 2 dropped passes (Drop rate % 66.67… 4 targets/1 rec/3 catchable)

Junior Hemingway has 6 targets, 4 catches, and no drops. According to Pro Football Focus out of 4 catchable balls Hemingway has caught each one.

How about the running backs?

Jamaal Charles… 9 dropped passes (Drop rate % 15.52… 70 targets/49 rec/58 catchable)

Anthony Sherman… 1 dropped pass (Drop rate % 6.25… 17 targets/15 rec/16 catchable)

Rookie RB Knile Davis has 4 targets, 4 catches, and no drops. Out of 4 catchable balls PFF has Davis at a perfect 4-for-4.

The TE’s?

Anthony Fasano… 3 dropped passes (Drop rate % 16.67… 20 targets/15 rec/18 catchable)

Kevin Brock… 1 dropped passes (Drop rate % 25.00… 6 targets/3 rec/4 catchable)

Sean McGrath has 27 targets, 20 catches, and no drops. According to PFF out of 20 catchable balls McGrath has caught each one.

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Andy Reid has been about the details, the “small stuff” Reid is constantly hitting on, has been since OTA’s and training camp.

In looking over the stats the receivers, when thrown “catchable” balls, are mostly making the catch, fewer drops than I thought. They’re definitely not the worst in the NFL even though the Chiefs 28 team drops rank 4th worst in the league.

The TE’s aren’t terrible, McGrath when given the chance has been perfect.

Jamaal Charles leads the team with 9 drops, but he also leads the Chiefs with 70 targets. His 49 catches are a new high for him, Charles is being asked to do much more as a runner and receiver in Reid’s offense, so he’s learning and I think doing a great job.

The uncatchable’s? Not pretty.

Between Bowe, Avery, and McCluster the Chiefs main three receivers, there’s been 62 thrown their way total that haven’t been catchable, 89 total balls thrown that couldn’t be caught between the WR’s, RB’s, and TE’s. Charles has had 12 thrown that weren’t catchable. I’m sure some were under duress (offensive line hasn’t been stellar allowing 29 sacks), Smith just threw it, but to me it’s still quite a few that were off the mark.

Can the receivers do better? Absolutely, just like Smith they ALL make the offense run. A receiver running a better route could make it easier on Smith, but Smith getting it to where it needs to be is also part of it.

The offense isn’t executing as a whole period. The drops are hurting the Chiefs, but so are the passes that aren’t close.

“I think the biggest thing is getting into a rhythm and moving some chains, getting consecutive plays ran, helping you get into the flow of the game, change field position at a minimum. I think that’s where it starts,” said Smith on getting the offense working. “Certainly once you’ve changed some field position and you have some first downs, that… carries in then, hey let’s get into field goal range, let’s get in the red zone, let’s score a touchdown. Those are kind of the consecutive steps that I look at as far as offensively. It starts with that first, first down, let’s get a first down, let’s move the chains, let’s put a chunk of plays together, get into a rhythm offensively. I think if you have a few three-and-outs it’s tough, you never get into a flow.”

Sean McGrath in the locker room Wednesday made it seem like the offense is close, keep in mind these guys, most new, were just thrown together this offseason. Reid with Doug Pederson included on calling the plays. It’s new, so I have patience towards it.

But when the playoffs start it’s a totally different gear, the offense is still trying to find that.

It’s easy to cast it all on the receivers, before I cracked open Pro Football Focus that’s who I was targeting first, but I found something different. Bowe is most fans answer on leading the team in drops, but it’s not always who you think it is or what you think it is either.

The throws need to get there for these guys to catch the ball.

Good day, Chiefs fans!