clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chiefs QB review: What we saw from Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray

New, comments

The Chiefs QB review that is not just about Alex Smith.

Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

The Kansas City chiefs have come a long way at the quarterback position in the last two years. The offensive scheme has been the same in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007. There has been a nice blend of stability at the spot. Kansas City came into the season with a starter on the final year of his deal, a backup who has already reached his ceiling and two unknowns with room to grow.

Here is what the Chiefs have headed into 2015 at the quarterback position.

1. Alex Smith

The first overall pick in the 2005 draft has been a polarizing figure in Kansas City. Smith looked sharp in spring practices this year. He had good anticipation on throws, was accurate with the football and would push the ball downfield when he had an opportunity. Then Smith began to take a beating when the games went live. Smith didn't have the same luxury of a comfortable pocket with defenders who weren't really hitting him. He became a human piñata on a weekly basis during the season, which cased his internal clock to speed up on his three and five step drops. Smith began taking the quickest available option in the passing game and he would drop his eyes because of the rush.

Smith became rattled at times this season. David Carr, Matt Cassel, Trent Green (2005-06) and even Tom Brady the first five games of this season went through the same experience. They sustained a lot of hits and it rushed their decision-making. The Chiefs offense revolves around proper routes, timing and precision. If any of those are off kilter, the offense loses its effectiveness immediately. The Chiefs offensive coaching staff is in a crucial situation for 2015. By the time they played Oakland, Smith already kept his left elbow down to protect his ribs for potential shots and would hurry some throws to drop his arm and protect his right rib cage. It had come to the point where the quarterback knew he would get hit on most passing plays unless he took off scrambling, hurried his throw or took the safest throw to live another play.

They have to rehab Smith's confidence. He needs to feel comfortable in taking more chances downfield and given the time to survey the whole field. If the Chiefs are aggressive in attacking their needs on offense, Smith can lead this team towards an effective offense fans haven't seen since 2003. Otherwise, Smith will start to look like a deer in headlights, similar to Cassel in his final days.

2. Chase Daniel

Daniel was serviceable in his performance in Week 17. He had solid anticipation with his initial throws. The six-year veteran showed off his athletic ability and at times his fearlessness. After the first couple of drives the pass protection had some issues and the rush was able to get after Daniel. He was brought in because of his familiarity with the offense and Daniel understood what it meant to prepare and take a professional approach. He is an athletic quarterback who can throw on the run and is accurate between the numbers. Daniel has hit his ceiling in the Chiefs offense. He is capable coming in for a game or two but doesn't have the skill set to be an effective full time starter.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

3. Aaron Murray

The fifth round selection got the opportunity to work on his reps this season as the third quarterback. He was able to stand on the sidelines for games and experience all that goes into playing at the NFL level. Murray essentially got a redshirt year to develop. During the spring and summer practices Murray showed glimpses of an NFL quarterback. He had some throws that had good spin, anticipation and proper placement that showed his vision. At other times he would be late with the ball, show some inaccuracies or force throws that weren't there. He was able to study in the film room, work on the practice field and learn from the two veteran quarterbacks. His development will be interesting to watch during spring practices this year.

4. Tyler Bray

Bray, who was on IR this season, has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL. He has a great deep ball that comes out quickly and with great velocity. Bray had good launch points and can make all the throws on the field. The second-year quarterback would do two things during spring practices: throw the deep ball or force passes over the middle that would lead to incomplete passes or turnovers. When training camp rolled around he started to take what the defense gave him. At times he would put too much into some short throws but you could clearly see growth from the spring to summer. Bray was at the facility and on the practice field throughout the season while he was on injured reserved. Next season the key for Bray is to increase his accuracy on all throws, read the defense and take what they give him. It's what's standing in his way from being able to push Smith at the top position.

Overall

The Chiefs have three athletic quarterbacks who lean more on the accurate side. Bray is the deep ball quarterback who is still putting it together and faces a big offseason. Kansas City should continue to look for better options that can push Smith and allow them to build more opportunities after the 2016 season.