ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Quarterback Alex Smith rarely does something to get the Kansas City Chiefs beaten. He infrequently throws an interception and his rate of 1.3 picks per 100 pass attempts last season was second in the league behind Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.
All of that ball security comes at a cost. The Chiefs were also last in the league in pass plays of 25 yards or more.
There are other reasons for that, including lousy play from the wide receivers and spotty pass protection. The Chiefs attempted to address those issues, signing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and overhauling an offensive line that could feature four new starters, including former Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs.
But Smith deserves his share of the blame. He tends to take off running or otherwise throw the safe pass instead of taking chances down the field. There's no need for Smith to be reckless but he has and will continue to forfeit points for the Chiefs if he's not more willing to go down the field with the ball.
The Chiefs have been after Smith to be more aggressive in his decision-making since he was acquired in 2013. Now is not the time for the Chiefs to back off. In Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce, they have a pair of big-play receivers. Two of their other receivers, Albert Wilson and De'Anthony Thomas, can be threats either after the catch or with the deep ball.
The Chiefs are running out of excuses not to have an NFL-caliber passing game. Their quarterback certainly shouldn't be one.