The play was just one of many in Alex Smith’s first practice as the Chiefs starting quarterback, but it brought a reminder of what’s now possible for a long-dormant Chiefs passing game.
Smith dropped back, heaved a pass deep down the left sideline and connected for a touchdown with Terrance Copper, who beat cornerback Dunta Robinson.
Not everything was as perfect for Smith on Tuesday as the Chiefs began a three-day minicamp at their Truman Sports Complex practice facility. He misfired a few times as well, most notably throwing into coverage on a couple of passes and also firing a throw into the ground while rolling to his left.
All things considered, Smith, in his first time throwing in a practice setting to any of the Chiefs receivers, will take it.
“Some good, some bad,” Smith said. “It’s great to be out here playing football. I thought it was a good day, good energy.
“There was some decent execution out there at times, especially for the first day coming out here.”
At times, such as on the throw to Copper, it was better than decent.
“He puts the ball on the money,” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “It comes out with great zip. He makes his reads very fast and gets the ball out. We’ve got to keep doing a great job of trying to give him different looks. That will do nothing but make him better in the long run. He’s going to try to pick us apart to make us better in the long run.”
Smith joined the Chiefs five weeks ago, coming in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers. He wasn’t handed a playbook until April 1 and it’s a new system not just for him but all of his offensive teammates.
So a couple of times a receiver would break one way and the pass would go another. The Chiefs can live with that kind of mistake on the first day of practice in April but not much longer.
“This is the first step,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We had the guys for a couple of weeks here in meetings and now we’re able to take it out on the field. Was it all perfect? No, it’s not all perfect right now but it’s the first step in the process and we’ll keep working at it and getting ourselves better.
“There was good work going on. I was pleased with that. (Smith) seemed to handle all of this stuff very well. Our defense is throwing a lot of different looks in. That’s what our defense does. We’re in return throwing a lot of looks at the defense. It’s good work on both sides and I though Alex handled it very well today.”
For Smith, he can’t get there fast enough. He indicated he understands that it takes time to learn new receivers and a new system, but said he wasn’t willing to waste the next two days of practice, even if the first real game is almost five months off.
The minicamp represents an extra practice opportunity for the Chiefs. They are allowed these three days of practice because Reid is in his first season as their head coach.
Regular offseason practice begins in May and the Chiefs will have another minicamp in June.
“We have an abbreviated time together,” Smith said. “We have to take advantage of the limited time we have until the season and take advantage of every day, never come out here and go through the motions but come out here every day with a purpose and get better.
“For me, it’s just coming out here every day ready to work with great energy and do everything you can do. I really do feel like every day is a sprint. I don’t really subscribe to the marathon (theory), that this is a grind. I really think every day you come out and work as hard as you can and come out the next day and do it again.”