However, in 2013 he was anything but solid. A year later, he regained his form but question marks remained. Did he progress enough to be considered a long-term solution in Kansas City? Further, will he ever become a shut down cornerback in Kansas City?
On Tuesday, Smith spoke to the media, and from all accounts, he appears to have that swagger and confidence that one must possess to play cornerback. Adding that item, with the fact he’ll be a free agent at seasons end, Smith has plenty of reasons to build his resume this year.
“I hate to say that I’m picking up where I left off because I look at us as a team, as a unit, and we didn’t really make it to where we needed to be,” Smith stated.
“As a secondary we didn’t finish number one, we were number two in pass defense but we weren’t number one. So I feel like there’s always room for improvement. But I definitely learned what I did right and what I did wrong from last year and this year I’m trying to build on it, improve in some areas and just make more plays.”
Making stops is a big ticket item for Smith and the rest of his defensive teammates if they want to become a complete defensive unit this season. A year ago this team could not get opposing offenses off the field. In failing to deliver the stops on third down, and in the red zone, Smith and company generally left the field knowing they didn’t get the job done.
This season, with some younger faster cornerbacks on the roster, the gap to achieve greatness in those key game situations, could lead to more victories. If it does, Smith has to be the position leader on the field, and become the playmaker, Dorsey felt he could become when he signed him before the 2013 season.
I’m blessed to be on this team. Not too many reasons why I wouldn’t be,” he said. “I guess I can say, ‘Do my job.’ And as easy as that sounds, there are times out there where you start overthinking and you anticipate guys being in one place and you’re doing too much out there. You just line up and play ball. Everything will come to you naturally.”
With first round draft pick, Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson and second year cornerback, Phillip Gaines, Smith also has the opportunity to become a mentor. In fact, that might be one of the reasons the veteran cornerback remained on the roster through the spring.
“I can’t wait to work with young guys. As crazy as it sounds, I am the older guy in the room now, so I can’t wait to get there and work with them.” Smith said.
Those words might be the key to KC’s success at the cornerback position this season. That’s because of the four cornerbacks mentioned, each is blessed with great speed. If that speed can be dialed up in key game situations, then KC’s defense can plug the gap between themselves and the Denver Broncos for right to be called AFC West Champions.
”This game is your resume. Whatever you need to do to get yourself better, let’s do it. So if you need extra work in the meeting room, let’s do it. You want to go on the field and talk, let’s do it. I’m here to help you however,” Smith stated.
If Smith puts his natural abilities behind those words in 2015, and the young cornerbacks follow his lead, KC’s defense could become elite. Should that occur, Smith would have delivered in crunch time game in and game out. It also means Dorsey will have to consider signing him to another term in Kansas City.