Now that you’re throwing to Jeremy Maclin, can you take advantage of the deep ball more than you have in the past?
Alex Smith: Absolutely. I think two things: For one, the deep ball for sure is something that gets a lot of attention. It’s a matter of time and striking when it’s right and being able to take advantage of those opportunities that are few and far between -- and when you get them, you’ve got to be able to hit them. That’s kind of the nature of it. They are a lower percentage just across the board. I think as far as Jeremy goes, I think he’s the type of receiver that excels in all the areas. I think that’s his biggest strength is just watching from afar. I don’t think you can kind of pigeon-hole him as just a speed guy or over-the-top guy. His game is way more complex than that, and he can do a lot of different things.
The Chiefs are trying to become a more explosive, higher-scoring offensive team. Does that fit with your abilities?
Smith: I’m the quarterback. Pretty central. You’ve got to get better. To be complacent or settled with where you are, you’ve got to continually be getting better and you need to be taking steps forward, and I’m a part of that. And it wasn’t good enough last year. So the part is, yeah, how are we going to continue to take steps and what is the plan to do that? And some of that is new faces coming in and you have to jell quickly and bring it together.
You are just 11-41-1 in your career when the opposing team scores 20 points or more. Why do you think that is?
Smith: Every situation is different, and not to go back and be comparing things like that, but the mentality was different [in San Francisco]. That team was built different, and offensively, our mindset was different. The mindset was a little more ball-control, and it wasn’t necessarily a shootout type of deal and that wasn’t our mentality, so we weren’t trying to do that. So really, for us, it was about going out and executing that and trying to get the team win. So it’s tough to compare the two because I just feel the situations are different, and that really was our game plan as a team. That was our mentality, whereas here, that really wasn’t the case.
There’s a lot of talk about how Travis Kelce has grown both on and off the field since his rookie season. Do you have a story or anecdote about him that illustrates that?
Smith: He popped his head in [recently] into the quarterback meeting, and we’re talking about looks and he already wants adjustments to get the ball, and you’re doing things at the line of scrimmage, changing plays with him. With how they’re playing him, leverage-wise, he wants a different route so he can get the football. [Recently] in practice, I can hear him make calls at the line of scrimmage because he wants the football. Things like that, it’s encouraging because he’s obviously a tremendous player, but it’s so great to see that confidence there on the field, calling for when he wants the football. As a quarterback, it’s encouraging. You want a bunch of guys out there that are feeling good about their matchup and want the football. So certainly for him, it’s understanding that as a young guy, sometimes you’re out there and you just kind of are trying to do your job, so to speak. And for him to understand when he’s got the good look and when it’s probably coming to him, to be calling for it, it’s fun. He’s ready for adjustments. He knows all of the things we’re capable of and certainly, when he’s calling for it before I am, that’s for sure a good thing.