The Philadelphia Eagles may not have been the best fit for Alex Smith. If Chip Kelly wants the Eagles to look like his high octane Oregon Ducks squad, Smith might not be the idea quarterback for that system. However, with Smith allegedly being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 27, according to the Associated Press, he has to worry about being a good fit for Andy Reid’s system.
If Reid runs the Chiefs like he ran the Eagles for 14 years, Smith will most likely fail. Yet if Reid finally modifies his approach and runs the Chiefs like Jim Harbaugh ran Smith and the 49ers, his new quarterback should thrive.
Harbaugh rarely put games in Smith’s hands during their two years together. He developed Smith into a better passer, while letting running back Frank Gore have just as much responsibility. With a balanced passing and running game, Smith had room to develop and eventually fulfill his promise at long last.
By that standard, Smith could be a perfect fit in Kansas City. The Chiefs have an All-Pro running back in Jamaal Charles, who was among the league’s leading runners even when he worked with quarterbacks like Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. If Charles can keep leading the way while Smith plays his part, the balance can work like it did in San Francisco.
However, the Chiefs aren’t being led by Harbaugh. They have Reid in charge instead, as all of Philadelphia knows what that could bring. Even when it was illogical and ill-advised, Reid would let Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick throw 40-50 times a game and make them even more fragile, despite having Brian Westbook and LeSean McCoy at his disposal.
If Reid continues to be pass-first in Kansas City, it will waste the talents of its one reliable offensive star in Charles. Yet now that Smith is joining the Chiefs, it is much more imperative that Reid doesn’t overwhelm him.
Harbaugh knew the right amount of responsibility to give Smith, which eventually made him dangerous. Unfortunately for Smith and the Chiefs, Reid has been largely unable to learn this lesson for 14 years.
If Reid treats Smith and the Chiefs like he treated McNabb, Vick and the Eagles, it will not be a good fit. He should logically know that himself by now, yet Philadelphia knows that this is easier said than done with him.