KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Being named to the Pro Bowl won’t make quarterback Alex Smith's career. Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac and Matt Cassel each at one time played in the Pro Bowl while with the Kansas City Chiefs and none received any kind of career bounce.
But Smith could benefit from being named as a replacement for Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Smith will be perceived differently now that the Pro Bowl tag is attached to his name. At the very least, he’s no longer the former overall No. 1 pick in the draft who never amounted to much.
Smith had a passer rating of 89.1, which was lower than he had in either of the last two seasons while playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Smith was 14th in the league in passer rating.
Smith was in the top 10 in none of the key statistical categories except interception percentage, where he was third.
But Smith’s 431 rushing yards, sixth among quarterbacks, shouldn’t be ignored. Neither should the facts that the Chiefs won 11 games, made the playoffs, improved dramatically on offense as the season went and had no legitimate threat at wide receiver.
Linebacker Derrick Johnson was also named to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman. This is the third straight Pro Bowl appearance for Johnson, who deserved to be selected without having to be an injury replacement.
The additions of Smith and Johnson give the Chiefs 10 players in the Pro Bowl. It could be argued whether all 10 are deserving but not that the Chiefs are a talented team.
They have six defensive players participating in Hawaii and they’re obviously too talented to play on defense the way they did the last half of the season.