KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you only pop in on the Kansas City Chiefs game only occasionally or see only smaller portions of their games, I can see why you might think Alex Smith doesn’t deserve to be ranked in the upper half of NFL quarterbacks.
In his updated quarterback rankings, ESPN's Ron Jaworski has Smith at 20. While we all know Smith isn’t carrying the Chiefs on his back, he deserves a better ranking. He’s doing a lot of things to keep the Chiefs undefeated and has committed just two turnovers this season. At least one of those was more the fault of the receiver than the quarterback. His scrambling has allowed the Chiefs to continue a number of scoring drives. They are scoring a touchdown on 61 percent of their trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, a stat that reflects on the quarterback.
So to have Smith ranked below, and in some cases way below, players like Joe Flacco (8), Ben Roethlisberger (9), Eli Manning (14), Matt Schaub (15) and Ryan Tannehill (18) makes sense only if you’re considering career achievements. Smith quarterbacks one of the NFL’s five unbeaten teams but he’s the only one not ranked in the top 10.
Jaworski correctly points out that the Chiefs need to crank up their deep passing game and wonders whether Smith is capable. I wonder, too. But the Chiefs were better in that area last week against the New York Giants and have more pass plays of 20 or more yards this season (14) than their opponents (10).