It was already bleak for the Kansas City Chiefs in regards to gaining the final AFC playoff birth on Sunday afternoon. Now with the news that starting Quarterback, Alex Smith, is out with a lacerated spleen, his understudy, Chase Daniel, has to do something he’s never done at the NFL level – win a football game.
Forget your feelings about the Chiefs back-up quarterback because it really doesn’t matter. Daniel has a herculean task of playing at a level that even remotely gives the Chiefs offense, a chance to defeat a not so strong Chargers defense on Sunday.
Still the Chiefs aren’t mathematically eliminated from a post-season miracle but this team has lost its mojo ever since losing to the Oakland Raiders four weeks ago. That’s why even with Smith I’m not sold they have the roster balance to overcome the intensity in which their counterparts will put on the field at Arrowhead on Sunday.
Phillip Rivers is playing at a near magical level this season and he’s put his entire team on his back. The Chiefs don’t have a single player that can do the same on their sidelines, and that in lies the main issue as the primary reason, Kansas City continues its winter collapse for the second year in a row.
The Chiefs slide into a mid round first round pick isn’t all that unexpected because they’ve yet to master winning that big game to change them from average to elite. That might come in 2015 if the organizations philosophy about roster building takes an about turn in the off-season.
On Sunday there is no question, the Chargers are the better football team and all the Chiefs can hope for is an upset victory that will lead to more questions than answers in the coming months.
For Daniel, though this is his chance to rise above the 15 minutes of fame that has so far eluded his NFL career. His $3.5 cap number next year pretty much dictates he will be listed on another NFL roster at some point next summer.
However, if he wants to command another back-up quarterback salary, this game might be pivotal in that quest. Daniel is a solid a guy, has a decent arm but he’s never going to be a starter in this league.
That’s not too much to ask is it?
Photo Credit: Alex Smith & Chase Daniel (Mark J. Rebillas USA Today Sports) / Chase Daniel (Denny Medley USA Today Sports).