Alex Smith – 1st String
With Alex Smith as the established starter for the Chiefs, he has no realistic concern about Daniel, Bray or Stanzi taking his job. Smith showed a glimpse of what Andy Reid brought him to the Chiefs to do, in game one of the 2013 NFL pre-season. Smith threw for 68 yards and completed seven of his eight passing attempts, with the only incompletion coming on a throw-away while rolling out to his right side. The majority of Smith’s completions were bubble screens or short passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage which would account for his high completion percentage, however, having seen the game, each of Smith’s short passes were not just Matt Cassel-esque desperate dump off throws to get himself out of trouble, but passes that were to receivers who were actually in a position to gain yardage (after the catch) or even to score.
On the team’s first possession of the game, Smith led a healthy 14 play drive which resulted in a touchdown and a 7-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints (Which became a 10-0 lead by the time the first team defense was taken off the field). This immediate success by the Chiefs first team offense inclined Andy Reid to pull out the first stringers after only the first drive.
Smith’s first showing as a Chief indicated that while reluctant to pass deep down the field, (keeping in mind this is a pre-season game, and he may not want to put his receivers at risk) he is capable of making the correct decisions in order to put his teammates in positions to produce on the field.
The first team offense’s quick production versus the Saints defense meant that we saw a very limited number of stats to judge Smith’s performance on a large scale, however, what Smith did show will be encouraging to see for most Chiefs fans.
Chase Daniel – 2nd String
Despite having very limited playing time in the regular season with the New Orleans Saints (while backing-up QB Drew Brees), Chase Daniel was given a healthy contract by the Chiefs front office this off-season, to be the immediate back-up in the instance that Alex Smith were to suffer an injury.
After the first-team offense was taken out of the game after only one drive, Daniel and the second stringers took over. Daniel did not wow anybody with a concerningly inaccurate showing for the majority of his playing time. It was apparent that Daniel is not attempting to take Alex Smith’s job (there would be no point, as Smith is the established starter), but the general inaccuracy of Daniel’s passes is still worrying.
One fact that should be taken into strong consideration is that while Daniel’s performance did not wow anyone by any means, this is still only game one of the pre-season.
Game two of the pre-season and beyond will shed more light on whether Chase Daniel really deserved the healthy back-up contract he received.
Tyler Bray – 3rd String
Tyler Bray has got to be the most anticipated undrafted rookie quarterback to come into Kansas City in a long time, if not ever. Bray’s showing versus the Saints only reinforces Chiefs fans’ suspicions that Tyler Bray has the potential to become a productive quarterback. Tyer Bray completed 3 of his 7 pass attempts, which may not sound impressive, and you wouldn’t be wrong in saying that it isn’t, but while looking at Bray’s game tape, you would notice that three of those 4 incompletions were dropped by his receivers. One of the dropped balls was perfectly thrown by Bray to be just out of the reach of a Saints defender and placed where only his receiver, tight end Travis Kelce, could reach the ball. Had the pass been caught by Kelce, the play would have resulted in a certain touchdown and most-likely changed the outcome of the game.
For a rookie, Bray also passed the ‘eye test’ when rolling out of the pocket, looking like a mature quarterback while doing so.
Having said this, Bray also showed classic signs of inexperience. On one of his first pass-attempts, while stepping up in the pocket, Bray was hit from behind and had the ball ripped from his hands by a Saints lineman.
Tyler Bray showed flashes of what fans are hoping Bray can one day turn into, as he matures. The coming pre-season games with help in making a more definitive decision about what role Bray plays as a rookie.
Ricky Stanzi – 4th String
The most patriotic quarterback in the NFL, Ricky Stanzi, had a chance to fight for a roster spot versus the Saints last week. Being a Scott Pioli draft pick, while not necessarily the worst quarterback on the depth chart, he is immediately disadvantages having been drafted by the previous regime.
Stanzi finished the game having completed five of his twelve passing attempts. Again, this is not an impressive stat-line, but by the time Stanzi entered the game, the team was trailing the Saints 10-17, and had a lot of catch up work to do due to the Saints back-ups’ dominance over the Chiefs back-ups. Stanzi made some good, accurate throws for first downs in his final drives and showed that he may be worth hanging onto for a possible back-up role during the regular season.
Despite Stanzi’s not-so-horrible performance versus the Saints, it still seems to be a foregone conclusion that unless he shows something significant in training camp and the remainder of the pre-season, he won’t make the final cut as the Chiefs trim their roster to the final 53.