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Smith takes proper view on offensive woes

8/8/2014

Not a great preseason debut for the Kansas City Chiefs' starting offense in Thursday night’s opener. Eleven snaps, 33 yards, a turnover and two failed conversion attempts on 3rd and 2.

 But quarterback Alex Smith is taking the proper approach on this. The Chiefs weren’t very good, but it’s not time to panic.

“Not what we were looking for, especially with the first-team offense,’’ Smith said. “But good to be back out there playing football, real, live football. For me, it’s the first opportunity . . . even when we go live in practice at training camp you’re not really live. So first real experience back into real bullets and getting hit.’’

The meaning of preseason success or failure can be dubious. The Chiefs ran a flawless touchdown drive in last year’s preseason opener in New Orleans, going 80 yards in 14 plays. They still began the season slowly on offense.

They lacked execution on the failed third-down plays. Two blocks were missed on Jamaal Charles’ one-yard run on the first one. Either Dwayne Bowe ran the wrong route or Smith threw a bad pass on the second one, an incomplete throw.

The Chiefs have plenty of time to fix those problems, and it’s reasonable to think they will by the time the regular season begins on Sept. 7 against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium.

The turnover, a Smith fumble, is more of a concern. Left tackle Eric Fisher was beaten for a sack by Robert Geathers, who overpowered Fisher as he approached Smith. Smith didn’t protect the ball well enough and it popped loose.

Fisher’s protection of Smith’s blind side could be a problem for the Chiefs this season. But Smith needs to do a better job of hanging on to the ball. He lost a fumble in last year’s playoff game against Indianapolis that greatly aided the Colts’ comeback.

“I know it goes down as a sack/fumble, but there’s quite a bit I can do there to get rid of the ball,’’ Smith said. “It’s a quick game, three-step drop, the ball has got to come out. The linemen, as well as the receivers, have a time clock when it’s a quick game. It does need to come out or I’ve got to get out of there. One or the other. I put those guys in a tough situation, especially Eric. I’ve got to get better at that.’’