The Chiefs enter a season with a starter and backup quarterback in the same scheme for three consecutive seasons, marking a first in Kansas City since Trent Green and Todd Collins from 2001-05.
Coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey have brought stability to the quarterback position since both arrived in 2013.
The Chiefs currently have four quarterbacks on the roster:
1. Alex Smith: Smith should benefit the most with a stable environment when considering he will have the same head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in three straight seasons for the first time in his 11-year career.
The former first overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft had a rough season in 2014 after suffering through a career-high 45 sacks in addition to 78 hits. Smith will need to start with a clean slate in 2015. Some quarterbacks develop a deer-in-the-headlights look when they have taken an excessive amount of hits, and begin to lose trust in their line and see phantom pass rushes.
Smith will need to improve his aggression. The throwing windows will not always be ideal, but he must trust his receiver to not allow a turnover. The Utah alumnus needs to continue to be conscientious of his mechanics given his footwork was less than ideal at times, resulting in some inaccurate throws. He was prone to drop his left elbow to protect his ribs before hits starting after Week 10’s game against the Buffalo Bills, a contest where Smith was sacked six times.
This is the season that will likely define where Smith’s career heads.
2. Chase Daniel: The seventh-year veteran had some accuracy issues at the beginning of offseason practices. Daniel has always been comfortable throwing the go-route and putting the ball in a good spot for his receiver to make a play, but has typically struggled with the post and placement on intermediate routes.
The former Tiger appears to perform better in games than he does during offseason and training camp practices. Daniel, who is in the final year of his contract, is capable of executing the offense and providing the team with an athletic and reliable backup.
His experience and ability to lead a competitive offense will likely keep him from the chopping block in 2015.
3. Aaron Murray: The former fifth-round pick in 2014 had a rocky start to offseason practices. He was missing his intended receivers on deep routes by a couple of yards and didn’t have a great gauge for ball placement. Murray would stare down his receivers at times and wait for their break before throwing the ball.
The final week of OTAs and minicamp showed promise, however.
Murray began to find a comfort level with reading the safeties, believing in his arm and putting the right amount of velocity on a throw to get to the receiver while the window was open.
The next step is for Murray to carry that same authority into training camp and the preseason games. The former Bulldog’s potential began to show towards the end of offseason workouts.
4. Tyler Bray: Bray’s future looks cloudy at the moment. He sustained an ankle injury during the final preseason game last season and spent the regular season on injured reserve. He also suffered a torn ACL in his left leg in January and is still recovering from sugery.
Bray embarks on his third season with similar questions he had during the first and second year; can he make the proper reads between the hashes or continue to force his comfort level on throws?
Bray has arguably the best velocity and deep ball of any quarterback on the roster. He has just been unable to temper his aggression versus what the defense is giving him on a throw.
The promise is there in ability, but the clock might be running out on time to develop him given Bray is in the final year of his contract.