KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The last time cornerback Sean Smith played against the Broncos, he didn't see Denver wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in all their glory. Smith, in fact, spent much of that 2011 afternoon defending the run as the Broncos were quarterbacked by Tim Tebow.
Things will change dramatically on Sunday night for Smith, then playing for Miami and now with the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver is now quarterbacked by Peyton Manning and the Broncos don't grind out their yards on the ground, but throw to Thomas, Decker, Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas to be the NFL's highest-scoring team.
"Any of those guys can make plays at any point in the game," Smith said. "Peyton Manning is a guy who will spread the ball around. It might be Thomas going for 100 yards one week. The next week, it's Decker's turn and Wes Welker the next week and now they have a tight end doing his thing. With all of that going on, Manning can find the matchup that he likes."
Smith, at 6-3, is one of the NFL's biggest cornerbacks. After Manning picked apart Kansas City's pair of 5-9 cornerbacks in the final game of last season, the Chiefs knew they had to get bigger and more physical at cornerback to better match up with the 6-3 Thomas and the 6-3 Decker.
So they signed Smith as a free agent from the Miami Dolphins. He had the one game two years ago against Thomas and Decker and knows more about them than merely he can look them in the eye without needing a step stool.
"Long arms, strong and fast," Smith said of Thomas, who has nine touchdown catches, the same number as Welker and Julius Thomas. "Very explosive. Whenever you have a guy who's as big as he is and moves that fast, it's always a problem."
Decker has 49 catches, or six fewer than Thomas, and three touchdowns.
"Great route runner," Smith said. "Very good hands. He's dangerous, too."