Barely a month removed from one of the Chiefs’ biggest games in years, Alex Smith is still feeling the sting of the season-ending playoff loss at Indianapolis.
Smith tried to put that behind him as he played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this week. Smith and his professional partner, Brendon Todd, finished three rounds at 16-under 199 and were not in position to make the cut when play was suspended Saturday because of darkness.
“You get over it enough for sure, but it always kind of stays there a little bit,” Smith said. “You kind of have a little bitter taste in your mouth, and I don’t think that ever leaves until next season.”
Smith is not into second-guessing the way the game unfolded either. He is however looking forward to the development of coach Andy Reid’s offense moving in to their second year together.
“I’m very excited, if you look at our last eight or nine games offensively, we really did some good things and took off a little bit there,” Smith said. “And we got some momentum heading into the offseason. Obviously the playoff game was tough to take, but there are some positive things, too.”
A significant change toward a pass-heavy offense midway through the season showed a gradual building of trust between coach and personnel.
“It just kind of happened naturally,’ Smith said. “I think the defense was playing great for the first half, and we played some good defenses as well.
“It was our first year in the offense, we didn’t turn the ball over, we were opportunistic in the red zone, but yes we didn’t really have the entire playbook at hand, and that’s to be expected in the first year with a lot of new faces. So as the year went on and we got more comfortable and coach Reid got more comfortable with us and his staff, he started to trust us with more and we showed that we could handle it. By the end, I was feeling really good about things.”
Smith was also glad to see a great development in 24-year-old receiver AJ Jenkins last season. In that 45-44 playoff loss, Jenkins’ number was called on a key third-down play in the fourth quarter. Jenkins gained 27 yards and a first down.
“He came along all season,” Smith said. “and really it was coach Reid and it was a play that was designed for AJ. It was him all the way, and he stepped up with Donnie (Avery) going down.
“We put a lot of trust in him, he’d worked hard and took some huge steps I thought as the season went on, and he made a huge play there on a third down.”
That game also gave Smith a chance to show off his arm and open up the passing game.
“It was fun, I felt like Indy was just kind of a taste of what we could do,” Smith said.
Since the playoff loss, Smith participated in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and attended the Super Bowl in New Jersey. Smith and his family are staying in northern California, and Smith says he’s “not sure” if he’ll return until April.
There are also contract questions that naturally arise.
“I’d love to be (in Kansas City),” he said. “We’ll see. I’ve still got one more year on my contract. It’s such a year-to-year deal anyway, so we’ll see what happens.
“I think at this point when you get veteran enough it’s always year to year. You just understand it’s the nature of the game. You’ve got to play good, otherwise you move on, so I don’t care how many years you’ve got on a contract, for me it’s just to be expected.”
Ultimately, Smith is happy to see the team’s progress.
“I’m excited,” Smith said. “We’re a young team. We did some things, but you’ve got to start all over now.”