KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who entered the league in 2005 with the San Francisco 49ers, has faced every NFL team as a regular-season starter with the exception of two.
And Monday night marks the first time in Smith’s 10-year career he’ll start against the New England Patriots.
Smith was in San Francisco in 2008 and 2012 when the 49ers met the Patriots.
But he was on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in 2008, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the Week 15 game in 2012.
The Chiefs signal caller now prepares to face a team led by coach Bill Belichick, who carries a reputation for scheming against the opposing offense.
“I’m trying to put that together,” Smith said Thursday. “Played them before, I never got to play and got to watch them, though, and prepare for them a few times. Certainly they bring their own challenges.”
One of the tests facing Smith surrounds the Patriots’ No. 1 ranked pass defense, a unit allowing 168.7 yards passing per game.
The Patriots also rank 11th in the league in sacks (7) and Smith has been sacked 11 times through three games. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks have combined for more times sacked (17).
“I think they’re a talented group,” Smith said of the Patriots defense, “physical up front, and they throw a lot at you scheme-wise, play a lot of different fronts, a lot of different defenses. Big challenge for us.”
Meanwhile, Monday night’s contest is the second part of a hat trick of sorts for Smith.
Week 3’s meeting against the Miami Dolphins marked his first career regular-season start against the Miami Dolphins.
Smith can cap off the three-game run by starting a regular-season game against every NFL team in his career when he faces his former team, the 49ers, in Week 5.
SHERMAN A TIGHT END?
Coach Andy Reid enjoys versatile players, but what he told the Patriots beat writers about fullback Anthony Sherman during a Thursday afternoon conference call in New England offered intrigue.
“You can do a lot of things with him and move him around,” Reid said of Sherman. “He could equally fit in the tight end role if you need him in there and do the blocking and the receiving part of that.”
Of course, whether the Chiefs would line up the 5-10, 242-pound power blocker at tight end could prove a stretch.
The Chiefs have a trio of more than capable players at the position in Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris, all of whom measure 6-4 and above.
But at least there’s a possibility if the Chiefs ever need Sherman in a pinch.
“He’s very versatile,” Reid said, “which I don’t think people realize. He’s got tremendous hands, too.”
Sherman, a fourth-year pro, has 32 catches for 267 yards and a touchdown on his career.
MONDAY NIGHT EXCITEMENT
The stage is set for a national audience to get a glimpse of the 2014 Chiefs, and there was an air of excitement Thursday in the locker room.
“I hear that song in my head,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “I hear the intro song. So many memories as a kid growing up and watching Monday Night Football, and I think the whole country has similar thoughts and it’s a special deal. So to bring you back here for a home game, even more special.”
Tight end Travis Kelce agreed.
“The lights are going to be on,” tight end Travis Kelce said. “It’s going to be fun. Hopefully Arrowhead gives us the rocking stadium that we’re used to and we get the Sea of Red jumping.”
The Patriots-Chiefs game will be viewed by millions in addition to the Chiefs fans attempting to reclaim the record as the loudest outdoor stadium in the world.
While the juices are sure to pump for the Chiefs’ first Monday night home game since Oct. 31, 2011, coach Andy Reid hopes to keep the player focused as they prepare for the big stage.
“I think there’s a little extra energy that goes with Monday Night Football,” Reid said. “I think it’s important that you don’t get caught up in all of the hoopla that kind of comes with it and that you focus in on your job.”
NOTES: Reid offered best wishes to the Kansas City Royals as the baseball team closes in on a potential playoff berth, which would mark the first postseason berth in 29 years … (Royals) skipper (Ned) Yost,” Reid said, “we are pulling for you and your guys. I know the whole city is” … Strong safety Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Thursday … The Chiefs listed running back Jamaal Charles (ankle) and rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas as limited during Thursday’s practice.