Is Alex Smith Really This Good: Understanding An Outlier Season

Let me say, first off, that many Alex Smith fans will not like what I have to say here. To be clear, Smith is having the best season of his career, I’m not trying to take that away from him. I am, however, attempting to understand how a veteran QB, who’s been in the league for 12 years, could suddenly have a huge leap in production. That’s not the kind of improvement you typically see, this late in someone’s career. For the sake of my own curiosity, I had to figure out how and why Smith changed, or perhaps, more correctly, if he changed.

#1. Pass Attempts: Over his career in KC, Smith has averaged 487.2 passing attempts per year. This year, Smith has thrown the ball 505 times, or about 18 more attempts than average. There are likely reasons for this: the Chiefs poor defense meant they spend less time trying to run out the clock, also, their poor run-blocking meant the Chiefs had to completely abandon the run at times. Regardless of the cause, to get a true picture of Smith’s performance, we need to adjust for targets. If Smith had thrown the ball the average number of times, and maintained the same YPA (yards per attempt) he would have thrown for 3,898 yards, this season.

#2. Tyreek The Freak: Chiefs fans know that Hill is really good, I think most still don’t fully comprehend just how good he is. I think there’s a serious argument to be made that Hill is the best WR in the NFL. This season, in 105 targets, Hill had a 71.4% catch rate, and an, absolutely insane, 15.8 YPR (yards per reception). That YPR and catch rate, in over 100 targets, haven’t been matched, or bested, by a WR since 1992, that’s over two and one-half  decades.

So, how would Smith’s yard totals be affected if he was throwing to a WR who was merely one of the best in the NFL? If you average together the stats of Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, Julio Jones, and Adam Thielen (widely accepted to be among the most productive WRs in the NFL), you come up with a 62.2% catch rate, and 14.85 YPR. Note that this is nearly 10% worse than Hill in catch rate, and over a yard less per reception. That’s how much better Hill is than the league’s best. Assuming Hill simply matched the output of elite WRs, he would, in his 105 targets, have produced 965 yards, rather than the 1183 yards he actually produced. This would reduce Smith’s yard total, for the year, by 218 yards.

Running Yard Total: 3,898 – 218 = 3680

#3. Kelce and Hunt: I went through the same process with Kelce and Hunt as I did with Hill, but Hill’s production was by far the most impressive. If Kelce had produced on average, like Gronk, Hunter Henry, Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker and Jimmie Graham, he would have produced 97 less yards than he did. If Hunt had produced on par with Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot, and LeSean McCoy, he would have produced 41 less yards receiving. The total between those two, comes to 138.

Final Yard Total: 3680 – 138 = 3542

Conclusion: Smith has done a good job with the pieces he has. Even with adjustment, this is his best year, statistically of his career. Has he improved? Undeniably. Is he a completely different player, on par with the Brady’s and the Roethlesburger’s of the world? No. Smith is a good QB who makes quality use of the best TE, WR and RB in the NFL, but, with merely elite players, he’d be producing only 2.7 more yards per game than he did last year. A lot of fans are nervous to let Smith go, after his best year ever. The stats provide important context for those numbers. Chiefs have the talent to make any QB look good. If the Chiefs keep Smith, that’s fine, he’ll continue to produce well, given his supporting cast. If they decide to let Smith go, we might just discover that Mahomes can thrive in this system, with these players, as well.

Bonus Thought: Some will, no doubt, point out that the QB plays a role in catch rate, and Smith deserves credit for throwing accurate passes. This is true, but, to my eyes, Smith is pretty much the same QB, accuracy wise, that he’s been. That’s born out, to a degree in the numbers. In 2016, Smith completed 67.1% of his passes and, this season, has completed 67.5%. Alex Smith has benefited the most, this year, from Hill’s league leading ability to track the deep ball and make special adjustments, on less than perfect throws.

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Ransom Hawthorne

Ransom Hawthorne

Ransom Hawthorne is an electrician living in central KS. He's married and has two young boys. Born in KS, and raised in Tucson, Ransom spent his middle school years in southern Mexico.
Ransom Hawthorne

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  • ladner morse
  • ladner morse
  • ladner morse

    i thought the same thing when I saw this play….
    .
    https://twitter.com/Jacobs71/status/948384642041831425

    • Laurels and limitations

      What Mahomes was able to achieve in that first game was nothing less than amazing. Yup, he made some rookie decisions but he showed poise that certain veterans still don’t exhibit. The future is bright.

      • Chiefly Bacon

        Posting a pretty similar QBR to Smith (vs Denver) and with more yards and better completion percentage, while playing with backups is pretty impressive.

        • Laurels and limitations

          Yup, I posted similar findings the other day but I have need to add in the fact it was a rookie’s first start vs. a 13 yr. veteran. As if you didn’t know that already, lol.

    • freshmeat62

      Is anyone else having problems seeing the gifs here on AO? or is it just my computer? Everytime I click to watch them I get “the media could not be played”. This just started yesterday. I have no problems on any other sites.

      • Laurels and limitations

        nope, it’s me too…but the videos are easy enough to track down….just click the cyberlink

      • PaulFromNorthMo

        I’m not having a problem, but I’m weird anyway!

    • PaulFromNorthMo

      If Mahomes throws that slightly more outside and DR turns out, that’s probably a TD.

  • ladner morse
    • larry mckinney

      The consensus goal chart;

      1) beat the donkeys.

      2) beat the donkeys again.

      3) advance to the playoffs.

      4) win the AFC West.

      5) win a first round bye.

      6) win home field throughout the playoffs.

      7) beat the donkeys again.

      8) win the semifinal game.

      9) win the Lamar trophy.

      10) win the Lombardi.

      Obviously, many paths to #10 without completing #s 1 through 10. Pity #7 cannot be accomplished this year, but we’re on the path.

      Thanks Ransom, yet another thought provoking piece. Very good stuff!

      • Chiefly Bacon

        Thank you.

  • Chiefly Bacon

    Whenever we want to get rid of Reid, need to remember this. Good head coaches don’t grow on trees. Failure is far more likely than success. Reid is a good head coach.

    https://twitter.com/Jacobs71/status/948223408818532353

    • Merlin

      Good list. Arians is the only one in the same class as Reid

    • Laurels and limitations

      yup, even though I will always hate the jet sweep we could have way worse…think Chicago.

  • ladner morse

    Did you know… you can follow Ransom Hawthorne — aka Chiefly Bacon — on Twitter @

    https://twitter.com/3GravyCats?lang=en

    • Laurels and limitations

      I heard that guy was a hack

      • Chiefly Bacon

        You heard right 🙂

  • Laurels and limitations

    As some repeat, posters, here at AO like to say “surround Alex with the right weapons….” *cough cough* CKAs/DCF *cough cough*. Okay, enough rib poking, I was just having a little fun guys (even though I still think you guys are nuts)

    I couldn’t agree more with this article Mr. Bacon and even though KC is still in the mix of it THIS year…I cannot wait to see what KC’s offensive weapons can do with Mahomes under Center.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      This year has kind of proved both sides right. Surround Smith with the proper weapons and he can be successful. However, Chiefs continued to struggle in the red zone, and still went through a long stretch of games where Smith couldn’t get the job done. Don’t think you can blame 100% of that on the play-calling. Really curious to see what another QB could do with this group. Tons of talent.

      • Laurels and limitations

        Make no mistake, I’m not saying Smith hasn’t, for the most part, played well but the missing pieces everyone kept talking about had to be some of the best in the league for it to happen. Just imagine what Aaron Rogers, etc. etc. could have done with this cast.

        • Chiefly Bacon

          If Hill played for the Steelers, he would have like 2000 yards and no one would call him a gadget player. (though let’s be real, it’s pretty much only idiots who still do that anyway).

          • Laurels and limitations

            people that have never watched him play, or think routes grow in tubers and not trees, is more like it

        • and Rodgers would be complaining until this year(where is the OL), or for 2 years past(where is the game)… in other words, where is the balance.

          • Derek

            Actually the only thing the pack needs is a playmaking TE. He makes Richard Rodgers look like a playmaker. Imagine what a Travis kelce type does for that offense? I warned all the packer fans that they missed out on not taking hunter henry..

          • you are leaving out the sorely needed interior linemen. Their tackles are pretty decent. agreed on a TE.

            He who? You mean a play making TE would?

          • Derek

            Great qbs don’t need lineman. See Rodgers and Wilson, oh and now mahomes lol. And the pack just throws a body in there and it works enough. I live in green bay, been to Lambeau. I hate the packers but I understand why they’re always a contender with minimal talent everywhere besides qb and they run a very basic offense

          • your first statement is so ludicrous as to make further comment to you essentially purposeless. Living in GB? how unfortunate, at least at my age. I live in the panhandle of Idaho but this is my last year. Having been to Lambeau is fortunate. So have I. I did, in the early 80s, live about 20 miles or so south of Milwaukee.

            The Packers would be more than a contender with 2 guards added and Rodgers healthy, which he wasn’t this season.

            There are few QBs who can do what Wilson does. Or Rodgers. I will note that Al Smith uses his feet. I expect we are about to see the same level of that type of play from PM.
            Rodgers and Wilson are different qualities of using their feet.

          • Derek

            The reason he got hurt was it was after the play. He has never had good line play in GB they never put an emphasis on o-line in the draft usually 4th rounders every year lol. They let Sitton walk and he was Mr. Reliable. Like I said Barr definitely hit him late. Everyone knows it was a little dirty but I look at it as karma for destroying McMahon and separating his shoulder. The 85 bears were never the same..

          • Laurels and limitations

            Rogers led the league in sacks taken by a QB for something like 3 yrs running. That might be a Ted Thompson/John Dorsey thing.

          • hence the comment on interior linemen… and could be because KC had that problem since 2013 and it is just now, somewhat resolved…not the best but pretty good. You build the best here by adding the next offensive linemen each year, a 2 or 3 round selection.Maybe the 4th but he must be the guy who every one is missing…

            One thing to note here, is how the offensive blocking scheme was simplified and they are not asking Fulton to block in space more than one position left or right nor be the down field blocker. That has logically moved to the guards.

            Another thing I am thinking: Fulton handles OC well enough to be starter. According to Seth, he has negated that idea until now with Fulton. So this gives you an opportunity to use Mitch elsewhere — yes, a bit light for a guard but smarter than most with very quick feet. I don’t know about this one but it is a shift on paper in what he thinks.

          • Laurels and limitations

            I’m not even down on Fulton, I like the guy and think he makes a dang good Center, not a pulling Guard, but a good mobile Center. Look at the tape and highlight reels of Hunt running for good gains and you will be surprised how often you see Fulton in the mix. The dude is misrepresented.

          • I am not down on him at all. I do think his play has been improved from 2016. In assigned blocking, he is not asked to pull, rather, he takes a guy 1 position from him, not blocking to the outside. When in Zone, as often happens with centers he is often free to make a block and that is when you see him at the second level. I do as well think he is making a lot more effort to get the next block(ie, hustle to it).

            This bodes well for the Chiefs. Fisher’s play has been level, Schwartz on the other side is at his best as a Chief. Fulton is nailing it, LD-T is playing very well so with Witzmann kicking it up a notch and he has, then we are going to be okay as an OL unit. Sadly, Mitch’s foot didn’t heal or they could have experimented with him at Guard. I have not even mentioned Ehinger. I actually look forward to see how well the Chiefs front 5 does in 2018(here I mean, regular season…).

            Heavens. am I really that old? It’s 2018?

        • Derek

          Exactly why we all want to see 2PM. Get an idea of top talents all over With a playmaking qb that can get the best out of the scrubs. The skies the limit for this offense and they’ll always be a contender. No more excuses that well if that one thing happened differently we’d be in the super bowl because those 1-2 errors a game won’t Matter anymore. Alex needs everything perfect Pat will make it happen with whatever he’s given (just so happens to be top 3 talents across the board here in KC. Getting pat and hunt in the same draft (possibly tanoh) is easily why John Dorsey is the best. Finds the players he wants, aggressively pursues them, all the while not tipping his hat until draft day. Bravo Dorsey and the best of luck in Ohio and thanks for the gifts you left us.

          • Laurels and limitations

            I can appreciate some of the talent Dorsey brought but I hafta stop there. Dorsey was living on tomorrow’s credit just as soon as his 1-1s and considerable salary cap space was all used up. What I’m saying is, his methods are unsustainable in the long term. We’ll see how he does in Cleveland.

      • He still has never had a #1 WR and a top performing possession receiver in the line up — that’s 5 years of play. Bowe was never a #1 WR. Ever. He was a very good possession WR put in the wrong situation. Playing make believe, if you put Hill as #1, Bowe at his best at #2, Hunt as the RB who can also receive with TE Kelce and a #3 WR(Bert Wilson in 2017’s case, but look at the future with Conley or Robinson there also), then who would we be talking about as the missing piece? #2 TE who can block and catch with at least a 70% catch rate. 🙂

        • Laurels and limitations

          Smith has had MORE than a #1 WR and top performing possession receiver though…he has Hill, Kelce, and Hunt. 2 of those mentioned are in the top 13 of the NFL this year…only NE can boast of better output in their top two receivers and we all know that NE relies on their passing game way more than their running game.

          http://www.espn.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/receiving/sort/receivingYards/year/2017/seasontype/2

          • which doesn’t negate the fact that they don’t have, at least my choice, a possession receiver. I will say that Bert Wilson has surprised hell out of me. My point is that we don’t have a “proven” #2. I should have said that. A TE is on top of that so the Chiefs are way over the top on that. Hunt, as RB who is also a very good receiver is icing on the cake(replacing 2 sequential seasons of Charles not being on the field is a big boon also). All in all, the Chiefs are in a great position to succeed with either Smith or Mahomes. It appears to me that the fan vote, fickle as it always is may indeed have Smith move on. If that is the case, Mahomes is in a great position to succeed out of the gate. His OL is getting more than decent. If I use Keyser’s work as a reason to believe that, then I am sure of it — I want to see a whole season analysis on the OL but I think the simplification of blocking has blossomed and the Chiefs are performing well because of it — ground and air.

      • additional points
        o Al Smith has been Successful. College to now. Why were there failures on drives? That was Al Smith???
        o I have been a lot more pleased with play-calling for the 4th week in a row now.
        o Al Smith himself talked about red zone scoring and efficiency for TDs this last week before the game. Don’t think it’s all on play-calling, don’t think it’s all on Smith. I do think it is on all them: Hands guys, line, Smith, play-calling.

        • Derek

          Mahomes didn’t have chit for blocking and he still was throwing stepping up in the pocket and getting the ball out quicker than Alex with more velocity. In a year I bet like Wentz would have Mahomes goes for 40 Tds in his 2nd season and I predict his sophomore season as starter he does have 40 and 17. Would you call that along with a dominant run game worth moving on from Alex mr. 26 as a veteran? I know I would

          • nothing you have provided, negates the point by point view with which I commented in the first place.

            You have judged that I don’t want Mahomes. That is patently false. Go find my article which has a component, on who to start in 2018. I have already written my view of Al Smith and PM. Go back and get that article.

            40? that’s a big number for a team that runs the ball. The Chiefs already have a run game and screens should be the occasional surprise. to get 40 TDs you would be slinging th ball 40 times a game or more. If you do that, you might have QB records, but you are going to lose games and never get to the Super Bowl.

            As far as screens go? Reid used them far too much and too often and it was readable not just by the def. Coord, but by the Def. Captain as well. Nagy play-calling has gotten beyond that with the players as they are now. So in answer to your question, again from my previous article is, no, I want him after 2018. I want him totally mature so that his game is consistent, he is totally ready to take over the reins and his self-importance stay in control, in other words, not-Cam-ish.

          • Derek

            He isn’t anything like Cam. He’s going to be better. Also in order to win in the modern NFL you should expect to throw 35-45 times consistently and Mahomes can and will do that. Hell, he threw it 35 times I believe and guess what happened he won. Just how I believe. Shoot for as many pass interference flags as you can and when Mahomes throws often he throws to a spot only his guy can get it and throws open with anticipation. Did everything we always wished Alex would do more of

          • I have, once again, stated my view on this. You ignore a comparison without understanding it’s purpose. I do not ever want to see KC go air Coryell. 35-45 pass attempts per game has never won out. I think PM looked good in week 17. I think he is the future KC QB. Al Smith is the starter now. My article which has the starter for 2018 discusses what I believe should happen. That isn’t going to change.

  • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

    I’m having total Deja vu………..I read these exact comments over on the SF site back in 2012.

  • If we want to play games with numbers, let’s compare this year to 2013. Alex Smith had 3313 yards passing (10.8 yds/comp) at a 60.6% completion rate. He threw 23 touchdowns and only 7 INTs, while also rushing for 431 yards and another TD. He did this with a leading receiver named Jamaal Charles, supported by (in order) Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Donnie Avery, Sean McGrath, and Anthony Fasano. I don’t know of anyone that would say the group above was an elite receiving corps of any kind (since JC, though elite, is a running back).

    The number of pass attempts was almost the same, yet achieved almost 800 yards less through the air. Had he achieve the 8.0 yards per attempt in 2013 as he did this year, he would have thrown for 4,370 then.

    What would the math above say AS11 would have thrown for with an average WR and TE group?

    Well, if we back out your 218 and 138 from the article (due to the 8 yds/att being due to elite receivers as you say), he still would have thrown for 4,014 yards in 2013.

    Any QB stat will suffer with poor WR/TE groups. His accuracy probably makes weaker receivers stats look better than they would be with a lesser QB. However, even a QB that puts the ball in the perfect position every time will not get any passing yards if the ball is dropped.

    It is pretty clear from tracking AS11s stats with the Chiefs, he has improved year on year, as the receiving group has gotten better.

    To further put some of this into perspective, in 2017 we were ranked 17th in passing attempts on the year. 487 would have put us at 30th in the league this year. So, if he passed as often as some of the elite passing QBs, he would need to attempt 550-600 passes per year. An interesting factoid, KC ranked 2nd in yards per attempt this year, with New Orleans being first with 8.1.

    The KC offense is more balanced than most of the higher passing yardage teams, so his yards may swing more based on the play selection, like you said.

    In the end I don’t think Smith has changed much. I think he would have produced at the same levels all along with this kind of talent around him and in a system he knows. I would go a bit further and say he could produce even bigger yardage stats, on par or better, if he passed as often as the Roethlisbergers and Bradys. I am not saying that translates into big time plays or Superbowls.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      In regards to 2013, I think that’s a tougher projection to make. Shifting from the best player in the NFL to one of the best 5-6 players in the NFL is an easier comparison than shifting from one of the worst players in the NFL to one of the best. A change of that magnitude would impact a lot of different things, but I know my method isn’t bulletproof by any means either. It is interesting to note, that career high in attempts for Smith came in both 2013 and 2017. Years when Smith had an elite RB to lean on.

      Part of why Smith has less passing attempts relates to Chiefs struggles on 3rd down. This year, with an elite supporting cast, Chiefs have ranked 14th in 3rd down completion percentage. In 2013, they ranked 27th, but most years, they’ve ranked somewhere around 19th. To be league average on 3rd down, with this group, is not great.

      • Just trying to say he is the same guy.

        I am not saying anything about giving him elite receivers, just the group he has now. (Which Hill and Kelce could be considered elite). JC was his leading receiver in 2013, so the numbers he put up through the air were with an RB as his receiver. If he had a halfway decent set of targets, he would be on par with this year. All I was doing was taking his average yards per attempt this year with his attempts of that year and then backing out the same yards for Hill and Kelce, like you did.

        • Chiefly Bacon

          In a sense we agree. We think Smith is the same QB he’s always been. His career averages have been held down somewhat by poor supporting casts, but I think, where we differ, is that I think Smith is a 3,800 yard passer on an average team. He’s having an above average year due to elite talent surrounding him, but he’s never going to be a guy who can get the job done without great a run game to support him.

          • Laurels and limitations

            nicely stated

  • ladner morse
    • freshmeat62

      There was a piece on the channel 5 website about the Royals being contenders again by 2020 w/ the just the current roster (thats minus Hosmer, Moustakus, Cain, and Escobar). I think they must have been in California over the last few days celebrating their new cannibus laws.

    • PaulFromNorthMo

      I heard the offer from SD was 7 years for $140 mil. So that’s kinda a big surprise that KC upped it. If accepted it probably means Moose and Cain are gone.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Oh…I had such high hopes for Gaines after his first season….but what neverwas can never be truly missed.

    We have placed CB Phillip Gaines on the Reserve/Injured list and signed DT Stefan Charles. pic.twitter.com/R43yp5CaLg— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 3, 2018

  • Tazmosis

    Great article. However, I am going to enjoy the rest of this playoff season, hope for the best and…..well, you know. Then I will have my body put into a medically induced coma, and awakened just before the 2018 draft. Imagine, Mahomes, Tyreek, Travis, Hunt, a new #2 tight end that can actually catch, Ware coming back. Wilson? Really? Never thought we would see him in the Red and Gold in 2018. Absolutely giddy about this offense. Oh, and Nagy calling plays. YOWZAAA!

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Exciting list for sure. I’m afraid Nagy is going to be a head coach next year though.

  • Great piece on this. With the right players in place. All three men you have in this list catch the ball and get YaC. Too little is made of Hunt receiving ability and his total yards from scrimmage demonstrate that. All three players are very “dependable”.

  • Laurels and limitations

    This is the 46th season the Chiefs have played at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs have won two playoff games there.— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) January 3, 2018

    • PaulFromNorthMo

      That’s sad. Assuming we win one this year, that would be 3 in 46, so we can expect the next one in 2033!

      • Laurels and limitations

        2033 !? now I AM sad, lol.

  • PaulFromNorthMo

    Nice article Ransom, so many are making a big deal out of AS11 throwing for over 4000 yards, and to be honest it was an excellent season for him. But to put that number in context, Rodgers, Ryan, Eli, Palmer and Stafford have eclipsed the 4000 yds/season mark at least 6 times each, while Rivers, Brady and Brees have accomplished it even more. All of those listed above have had numerous receivers, numerous O-linemen, dealt with various injuries, not only to themselves but their targets and in most cases have dealt with numerous coaches.
    Smith, IMO, fits more into a group consisting of Cutler, Flacco and Dalton.

    • Derek

      You forgot cousins on this list as well and I bet a healthy Wentz this season might very too

  • Laurels and limitations

    gotta keep perspective in all this so I’m going to throw this tweet out there…
    NE= 13-3
    Pitt=13-3
    Ari=8-8
    LA= 9-7
    DET=9-7
    NO=11-5
    TB=5-11
    KC=10-6
    Atl.= 10-6
    Wash.= 7-9

    Top 10 QBs in Pass YPG (2017)1) Tom Brady – 286.12) Ben Roethlisberger – 283.43) Carson Palmer – 282.64) Philip Rivers – 282.25) Matthew Stafford – 277.96) Drew Brees – 270.97) Jameis Winston – 269.57) Alex Smith – 269.59) Matt Ryan – 255.910) Kirk Cousins – 255.8— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) January 2, 2018

    • Pretty sure most, if not all, of the guys listed above him threw more times per game this year.

      • Chiefly Bacon

        Yes, but the question is why. Every guy, above Alex on that list (except Palmer who got hurt) threw for more first downs than Smith. You get more attempts when you extend more drives.

        • PaulFromNorthMo

          But didn’t Smith lead the league in long pass plays? More long plays should equate to fewer opportunities for 1st downs.

          • Laurels and limitations

            if they were all TDs, sure, lol.

          • PaulFromNorthMo

            That would be nice, wouldn’t it. But seriously, if Brady throws 5 passes that average 12 yards, that’s 5 first downs gaining about 60 yards. If Smith throws 1 to Hill for 50 and another to Kelce for 10, that’s 2 first downs for the same 60 yards.

          • Laurels and limitations

            that is all very true…damn numbers!

          • PaulFromNorthMo

            I love numbers, it’s about the only thing I understand. lol

          • Even if they weren’t all TDs, there is less field in front to keep running plays.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Here, I found it Paul. KC had 172 offensive drives in comparison to NE’s 166. The fact is, no matter how you wish to spin these numbers given…NE is simply more efficient. Of course, these numbers represent the entire team and not just one player. For your viewing pleasure:

            http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/drivestatsoff

          • Fewer drives in NE with more Yds/Dr and a longer fireld to start each drive. More efficient in scoring points for sure, but how is it more efficient to run more plays on fewer drives?

            They had more yards per drive, but less yards per attempt than AS11. That sounds like Alex might have been more efficient at getting yards through the air. So, unless we switched from talking about Alex to general Chiefs offense talk, still not feeling Brady is more of an efficient passer than Smith.

          • Laurels and limitations

            I’m not sure how you can actually differentiate QBs from the respective team’s offenses, they are inexorably linked after all. Here is some more information. Btw, I am actually really beginning to dig FO.

            http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/drivestats2017

            it is real easy to see where the difference in Tom Brady (hence NE) and Alex Smith (hence KC) lie, NE doesn’t squander opportunities. 3.97 yds/drive vs. KC’s .37 or worse yet, pts. Ne= 1.04 per drive vs. .034 for KC.

            Simply put, Tom Brady is more efficient than Smith because he is more efficient at being efficient.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Like this: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamoff

            Football outsiders is stinking BEE-YOU-TEA-FULL!!!!

          • Chiefly Bacon

            Brady’s YPA and Smith’s aren’t THAT different. Smith has 8 YPA, Brady has 7.9. One reason Patriots get more yards per drive, and also why Brady’s YPA is lower than Smith’s, is that Patriots score when they get in the red zone. That’s an extra 10 yards that Smith often doesn’t get, but red zone passes tend to be shorter and bring down YPA.

          • PaulFromNorthMo

            Sweet!! Thanks. Just at first glance, KC is top 10 about everywhere EXCEPT where we all know they need to improve. Red zone efficiency, where they rank at the bottom of the league in TD/FG ratio, TD’s per red zone appearance and points per red zone appearance.

        • True. You also get more attempts when you get fewer yards per play and get first downs, or when you score slower by not getting 30-79 yard TDs, or maybe even using the rush on third and 1 or 2, instead of a pass. Or, when your defense doesn’t let teams have the ball for 40+ minites in a game.

      • Laurels and limitations

        It’s not that simple, imho. Different reasons for the different outcomes and everything else but Alex Smith has the leading passer average for the league @ 104.7, adjusted avg. yds. AND pass interception %.. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/. If Alex Smith was forced to throw more we really have no idea if his effectiveness would have been consistent with the current outcome or not.

        My actual point in posting the above list is that ypg really don’t mean squat.

        • Kind of my point. If you keep changing variables in a situation you csn get whatever theoretical outcome you want.

          There are also many things we don’t know.

          It is fun to play what if, but I struggle with making it a definitive conclusion on most of this.

          • Laurels and limitations

            agreed 100%, more if I could.

  • latest rumor: Chiefs lose Nagy to AZ, Toub to? and Smith will go to AZ with Nagy. KC looks to lose 2 big pieces in their staff to HC positions it seems to me. Replacing what they have done will be a tough deal to manage.

    • tm1946

      Maybe but only a maybe…. fans are dying for Mahomes…. so you get Mahomes… Reid likes to call plays, Childress still on roster, I would prefer a young gun as OC with Reid playing the part of crazy uncle. Toub is a great Special Teams coach but do not see him becoming a HC with the success he has had here… Peter Principle. But both Nagy and Toub have done their job here, so wish them the best.

  • PaulFromNorthMo

    Off subject, but I was looking at last years draft trades and in retrospect, we really fleeced the Vikings. The three picks we traded were 104, 132 and 245, with a trade value of 127 points combined (according to the old chart) in order to acquire pick 86, with a trade value of 160, selecting Kareem Hunt with that pick.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Trouble with trade value charts is, they can’t take into account variations in the draft based on draft depth and players available. Last year’s draft was particularly deep, so Chiefs were able to get some trades done at reasonable rates. Without looking at the guys the vikings picked, it’s hard to say for sure, but given that we got Hunt, yeah we probably got the better end of that deal.

      • PaulFromNorthMo

        The Vikes traded the first two away, but I don’t know who they ended up with. They took a CB with the last.

  • Laurels and limitations

    I asked special teams coordinator Dave Toub what the Chiefs would do without a kickoff returner in Saturday’s playoff game without the injured De’Anthony Thomas and Akeem Hunt. “Put Tyreek (Hill) back there,’’ Toub said. Hill hasn’t returned a kickoff… https://t.co/jFaeHtsEDF— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) January 3, 2018

  • Laurels and limitations

    https://t.co/bhZoTQHME2— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) January 3, 2018

  • Laurels and limitations

    Returners are in short supply come Saturday and I’m hearing a lot of talk as to Hill taking kicks but I doubt that happens. I’m betting that we see Spiller back there, even DR but Hill would only be in the case of emergency.

    http://www.chiefsdigest.com/injuries-force-changes-chiefs-special-teams-playoffs/

  • tm1946

    What is Vegas saying about the game?

    • Laurels and limitations

      “The line on this game as of Wednesday afternoon was set at KC -9 after opening at -7. The NFL Betting Power Ratings indicate this line should be Chiefs -8.5 so going above this number presents a risk to the books. Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas was yet to move above -7.5 as of Wednsesday afternoon.”

  • Laurels and limitations

    With the playoffs coming up, teams are going to be uber-aggressive, anybody have any guesses as to what happens?

    Either by the play's design or when the pocket breaks down, Quarterbacks have to "ad lib" & make plays OUTSIDE the pocket.Here were the best-rated passers doing that this season!#Skol #GoPats #FlyEaglesFly #OnePride #HereWeGo #HTTR #InBrotherhood #GoBills #Bucs #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/btKcx6OLKG— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) January 3, 2018

  • Laurels and limitations
  • Laurels and limitations

    Haha….

    Albert Wilson averages 147 receiving yards per game when Mahomes is the starter. He should get like 2400 receiving yards next season. Anything less will be a massive failure…. amirite?— Gary McKenzie (@Super_G_Chiefs) January 3, 2018

    • Jeff Morton

      When he’s right, he’s right. And he’s right.

  • Laurels and limitations

    The most telling stat that illustrates what Alex Smith has meant to the #Chiefs this year is that when they’ve trailed, Smith has completed 72% of his passes for an average of 8.82 yards per attempt w/ 15 TDs & just two INTs. https://t.co/aWX0UPWEkW— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) January 3, 2018

  • Laurels and limitations

    The three teams that fired their General Managers in May 2017 or later (Bills, Chiefs, Panthers) each made the playoffs.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 3, 2018

    • tm1946

      You mean all those grand plans could be interrupted and coaches had to coach up players…. so much for grand plans.

      • Laurels and limitations

        LMBO, yup.

  • Laurels and limitations

    good news is that Albert Wilson is back, you know, PFF’s leading ranked week 17 WR- that guy……

    Albert Wilson returned to practice, while three others did not practice today.➡️ https://t.co/xT2vKmxSdB pic.twitter.com/GAyTmxsHHN— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 4, 2018

  • Laurels and limitations

    Tonight's Powerball is at $460 million dollars. That's like three Eric Hosmers!— Mick Shaffer (@mickshaffer) January 3, 2018

    • tm1946

      hahaha…. what I would do with that much money…. probably get the first payment, grab my dog and take off …. wife could come along if she was fast enough.

      • Laurels and limitations

        lmao, you had better hope she don’t read this blog when you ain’t on it!!

        • tm1946

          She is used to me…. alway forget to buy tickets….she knows a good thing when she married one…. god, I hope she never sees this site.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Haha!!!

  • Laurels and limitations

    lol, maybe, just maybe…

    Sam Darnold has officially declared for the NFL Draft which means.The NFL have their biggest 2018 Draft bust— 🏈🔥💯Kingdom Connection💯🔥🏈 (@KingdomConnektN) January 4, 2018

    • ah ha!! I do think there may be 4 QBs drafted in the first round though. Another “though” is, this doesn’t appear to me to be the year to have to try to draft “that” guy. Mayfield would probably be at the bottom of round 1 and should proly go, late 2nd, but is a 3rd round type selection to me. Need drives demand though.

      • Laurels and limitations

        Yup, the free agent and not-so-free-agent market should be huge this year…it’s going to be dang interesting from the word go.

        • If I were in need of a QB in this draft and I couldn’t get one of the top 2? I would opt for that free agent. A team is betting a lot of futures monies on outcomes that are less than more likely to succeed. It will be interesting. I wonder if Dorsey sees a worthy QB in the bunch for one of his 2 first round picks?

          • Laurels and limitations

            it’s become the norm since around 2006 that teams are looking for free agents to fill the QB need and this trend is only going to get worse as the NFL goes forward. Spread option QBs are the only thing coming out of college and the guys that can successfully transition are hard to find…it’s easier to go after the veterans and beat every single bush trying to find a viable replacement.

            And that is EXACTLY why I loved the aggression with which KC went after Mahomes this last draft.

      • tm1946

        Guess it is a good thing we do not need a QB… no first round pick and will leave some better talent for the second.