Chiefs pushing Alex Smith to look for big plays in 2015


In nine seasons, Alex Smith has never shown a proclivity to push the ball down the field. The Kansas City Chiefs would like to change that slightly in 2015.

"We've got to sort of retrain, rethink just a little bit," offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said this week at OTAs, via "But going from that first year to where we are now with (Smith), now he sees that kind of stuff. It's just a matter of cutting loose."

Smith's lack of aggression has helped him not turn the ball over, but the dearth of deep shots has also held back the Chiefs' offense. Last season K.C. had just four pass plays of 35 yards or longer, fewest in the NFL -- three fewer than the next closest and 20 fewer than the NFL's leader.

Not being able to stretch the defense allows teams to pile men close to the line of scrimmage, making Jamaal Charles' life harder in the ground game.

Smith shouldn't shoulder all the responsibility. Last year's receiving corps was abysmal. When a wideout can't create an inch of separation from a corner it doesn't incentivize the quarterback to take a shot.

With the addition of Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce the clear No. 1 tight end, the improvement of speedy Albert Wilson and the move of De'Anthony Thomas full-time to receiver, the Chiefs hope their pass-catchers will help force Smith to pump the ball down the field.

"I like where Alex is," Pederson said. "But now in the spring, we want to see any quarterback shoot the ball down the field and at least test it. That gives him the comfort level the next time he's in that situation."

Smith, in nine years, averages just 6.46 yards per completion. He's never shown a willingness to cut it loose, but the Chiefs desperately need the offense to open up to avoid bogging down like 2014.

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