8 Days to Denver: Defending Alex Smith

On Sunday afternoon, the Broncos will face the Chargers on the road while Chiefs players' will travel back to Kansas City to begin prep for the biggest game of the season. But one them, Quarterback Alex Smith, is about to face one of the biggest challenges of his professional career.

I've already gone on note the first showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos this season will undoubtedly be focused on Peyton Manning versus the Chiefs top rated defense. Though that may end up being the case, it's also pretty big game for Quarterback, Alex Smith.

When the Chiefs officially announced the trade, sending a pair of second round picks to the San Francisco 49ers for Smith; I was a big fan of the move made by Kansas City General Manager, John Dorsey.

Though the trade did offer some risks for the most part both sides to this point of the 2013 season have to be pleased with the results. The 49ers get a solid pick in April's upcoming NFL draft while the Chiefs are enjoying the success of their new leader on the field

Smith has guided the Chiefs to a perfect 9-0 record. Granted he's not filled the stat sheet like his counterpart in Denver, but he does have Kansas City in first place in the AFC West.

We all know some fans want those flashy stats to thump their chests high in the air but that's simply not the way this football team was constructed. Offensively the Chiefs are playing a new version of Marty Ball. That's in reference to former Chiefs Head Coach, Marty Schottenheimer.

He was a brilliant architect when it came to getting the most out of his football team. In the Chiefs glory days, he built a top caliber defense and a ground churning offense that won the game within the game.

Marty loved to chew up time on the clock by playing it soft offensively. He knew his bread was buttered with his defense and the field position they gave his offense.

Roll the clock forward and current Head Coach, Andy Reid, believes the exact same thing. And like his coaching predecessor for now, he's not asking his quarterback to do more than manage the game.

That's where Smith has excelled the last three years. During that time frame he possesses a winning percentage higher than Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. His brilliance to date can be centered on the fact he doesn't lose games.

He'd rather take a sack, throw the ball away or tuck and run to diminish the chances for a costly game-changing mistake. That's something Smith understands so forgive him if he's not exactly concerned with padding his own stats.

The only thing that matters to Smith is winning football games. He could care less who gets the glory as long as the Chiefs come out victorious at the end of each game.

You know we've had other quarterbacks in Kansas City that felt the same way. But not many of them have the experience Smith has in dealing with the ebb and flow of a football game.

Last week against the Bills, Smith was efficient but left points on the field. Generally speaking he's done that in most games this season. Still Kansas City hasn't lost a game yet and that's because Smith never changes his demeanor.

For Smith and most of the great NFL quarterbacks, he starts each drive with a clean mental slate. What happened the last time on the field, good or bad, is simply inconsequential.

I'm not going to say Smith is the best quarterback in the NFL. But he's the best quarterback the Chiefs have had under center since Trent Green hung up his cleats. Before that, you'd have to go back to Joe Montana then Len Dawson.

Only one of them (Dawson) won a Super Bowl in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform. Smith has a chance to become the second. That's why facing the Broncos on the road next weekend; Smith can do something not many non die-hard Chiefs fans believe can be done. Win this game on the merits of his quarterback abilities.

The boys in Vegas don't think so either. In fact, they're nearly pushing a double-digit point spread favoring Denver. But even that won't faze Smith. In fact, I don't think anything will derail his attitude on the field.

That's because Smith has confidence in himself, his players and the coaching staff. He's blessed with a great defense and a superstar running back at his side. That makes his job easier. As his reward, the Chiefs sit atop the AFC West and he's achieving a level of respect within the organization that was stripped away from him in San Francisco.

So this big game isn't going to be too much for Smith. I believe he has the ability to win the Chiefs biggest game of the year. He understands full well the Chiefs offense has to score more touchdowns. Even if they don't, he's shown the ability, when the Chiefs offense has needed to salt a game away; to lead the workmanlike offensive attack in piling up first downs and time of possession.

When Smith returns on Monday morning with the rest of his teammates he'll likely be at the center of the media blitz for this prime time game. While everyone believes Manning is the second coming and Smith is simply not good enough to play at a comparable level, he may end up getting the last say in the matter.

That's because the only statistic (albeit and emotional one) that matters in round one of what could become a best of three battle, is to appreciate the lows and highs Smith has endured to this point of his NFL career.

That's why I'm having a hard time believing, Smith will wilt under the pressure next Sunday night?


WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Do you believe in Alex Smith?


For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com


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WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Do you believe in Alex Smith?
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For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com
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