KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday with Nick Foles at quarterback, Tyler Bray as his understudy and Alex Smith inactive.
Coach Andy Reid maintains Smith’s health outlook remains positive after the veteran sustained two hard hits to the head in the team’s 30-14 win at Indianapolis Sunday.
“I just think it’s important that we step back here and take a peak and see show he does this week,” Reid said, “and Nick will take it from there.”
Reid said exhaustive discussions among coaches, medical staff and the front office led to the conclusion to rest Smith this week. Now the team turns to Foles, who turned in a sparkling performance in relief of Smith against the Colts.
“We didn’t have to change anything when he went in,” Reid said. “He was fine doing the offense. I wasn’t looking at the sheet going, ‘What can I call, and can’t call?’ That’s not how I felt with him.”
Foles believes his footwork and timing improved since his arrival in Kansas City, as well as his comfort with the offense.
“I feel great about the playbook and where we’re at as a team and where I’m at just understanding it,” Foles said.
Reid said the quarterback remained in the league’s return to play protocol, even though the team maintains Smith did not sustain a concussion.
“He still has been symptom-free from the concussion,” Reid said. “It’s just in the best interest of all that we allow him to go through this.”
Smith said the coach consulted him on the decision keep him on the bench this Sunday.
“This was a decision we came to together, certainly,” Smith said.
The veteran quarterback explained that while he wants to play, his longterm health and the team’s future also played important factors in the decision to sit for a week.
“The last thing I want to do — I think anybody wanted to see — was to come back too soon and to see something happen again,” Smith said.
The coach said Smith would practice this week, running the scout team during team drills. Players can only participate in football activities when they enter the fifth stage of the league’s return to play protocol.
The fifth stage allows players to participate in practice and serves as the final step to returning to full participation. The independent neurological consultant must then clear the player to participate in the next practice or game.
Reid indicated Smith’s return as starter could come as quickly as next week on the road at the Carolina Panthers.
“I presume it would be next week,” Reid said. “Without any symptoms I would think that would be the case.”