Doug Pederson knows what he wants in his quarterback, and the Chiefs’ first-year offensive coordinator obviously believes he’s found plenty of those talents in Alex Smith‘s play.
“Accuracy, timing and decision-making, those are the three traits a quarterback has to have,” Pederson said following Friday’s practice.
Those words came days after, Pederson told The Kansas City Star in an interview, “Ultimately, every team has to have a quarterback. I think we have the best in the league.” When asked to clarify his thoughts, Pederson stood firm with that assessment.
A former No. 1 overall draft pick of the 49ers in 2005, Smith came to the Chiefs this past offseason in a trade with San Francisco. Kansas City sent a 2013 second-round draft pick and a conditional second- or third-round pick in next year’s draft to acquire the University of Utah product in an effort to sure up the quarterback spot, which has ineffectively featured Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn, Kyle Orton and Tyler Palko during two straight losing seasons.
Smith led the 49ers to the 2011 NFC Championship game but lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick in the middle of last season.
San Francisco went 6-2 under Smith’s direction before he suffered a concussion during a 24-24 tie with the Rams in Week 10. Kaepernick started the rest of the way, leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl, even after Smith was cleared to play. He had been on pace to set career highs in many important passing categories before the injury.
“I think he did come here with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” Pederson said. “He’s our guy, and we’re going to war with him. He’s come in here, and he’s led this football team on and off the football field. He’s studied and prepared himself, and he’s improving every day.”
Smith struggled in the early part of his career and has never been to a Pro Bowl. He has amassed 14,280 yards and 81 passing touchdowns in eight seasons to go with a 59.3 completion percentage and 63 interceptions.
Only so much time left
Just four practices remain before Smith likely makes his Kansas City debut.
The Chiefs practice at 8:15 a.m., each of the next four days before a scheduled off day Wednesday, a travel day Thursday and the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints at Superdome next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The first team units generally only run a series or two, although first-year coach Andy Reid has not announced plans yet.
The Chiefs look to be mostly in good health despite a myriad of minor injuries during the first full week of camp. Safety Eric Berry was a full participant Friday for the first time since Monday, and no new ailments were incurred during the 2½-hour workout in front of another healthy crowd.
Sanders Commings — a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft — remains the biggest loss, suffering a broken left collarbone on the first rookie practice last week. He walked about practice Friday still favoring his arm but no longer had it in a sling.
Reserve offensive tackle Donald Stephenson (finger surgery) is the only other player likely out for the Saints game. He was not on the practice field Friday.
Time for Family Fun
The first of those four remaining practices occurs Saturday on American Family Fun Day — the second of two special events planned for this year’s camp. Unlike past camps, this year’s version will be centered around the normal practice fields and not Spratt Stadium, starting with the regular 8:15 a.m. practice.
The third of four scheduled full-team autograph sessions follows the workout.
While regular camp parking rates apply, there is no cost for admission.
The traditional Gatorade Junior Training Camp will follow on the Spratt Stadium field, running from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Student-athletes and coaches from Missouri Western will run the camp for kids in grades 3-8 but is limited to the first 250 participants who sign up on site. The first 100 participants receive a free pair of tickets to the Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers preseason game on Friday, Aug. 16th at Arrowhead Stadium.
American Family Insurance will also be starting an online auction which runs through Monday and will raise funds for the Missouri Western Foundation. Items up for bid include Chiefs tickets and items autographed by players including Derrick Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry.
Fans may access the auction at http://www.32auctions.com/