KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Like his new coach and offensive coordinator, Alex Smith is enjoying an early resurgence with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Smith and the 2-0 Chiefs will visit the Eagles on Thursday night. Last season, the quarterback suffered a concussion and never regained his starting job with the San Francisco 49ers. With a fresh start after a trade to Kansas City, Smith has thrived under coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson.
Smith said that Reid and San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh have aided his development. "Those two for me stand out more than anybody I've ever had," he said.
The first overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft out of Utah, Smith did not have a winning season in his first six years with the Niners.
Then came Harbaugh. The 49ers were 13-3 during his first season in 2011. Things were sailing along until Smith suffered a concussion just past the midway point last season. When he was ready to return, the quarterback seat was occupied by Colin Kaepernick and Smith watched from the bench as the team went to the Super Bowl, losing to the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith has put all that behind him under Reid, who coached the Eagles for 14 seasons.
"He's standing right behind me every single play with me in the huddle at practice and he sees it all," Smith said. "He is about as hands-on as it gets."
Not that Smith is complaining.
"For me, it's been just trying to soak it up," Smith said. "There's a lot of knowledge from over the years."
Reid's attention to detail is what has impressed Smith the most.
"I think he does a great job seeing things fundamentally - my feet, my posture, my weight, he sees all of that," Smith said. "And then the Xs and Os, not just on the offense, but on the defense, he has a great understanding of defenses."
Smith unwittingly became the subject of ridicule during the preseason when Pederson called him "the best in the league."
Pederson addressed the issue in a roundabout way on Monday.
"For us, Alex is exactly what we needed," said Pederson, a former Eagles quarterback and assistant. "He does the right thing with the football. He is a guy who is going to make right decision and put the ball where it needs to be, an accurate passer, smart at the line of scrimmage to get us in and out of trouble-plays."
Although Smith won't ever win a footrace with Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, he's a good athlete who adds a dimension to the Chiefs attack with his running ability.
In Sunday's 17-16 win over Dallas, Smith rushed for a career-high 57 yards. In two games, he has rushed for 82 yards. More important, he has thrown four touchdown passes, no interceptions, and has a 94.7 passer rating.
Dallas was intent on stopping the Chiefs running backs and Smith became an extra ballcarrier.
"When he had chances to scramble, there were some nice lanes there and he took advantage of that," Reid said. "That's his game."
Smith is considered among the most intelligent quarterbacks. And he has quickly won over the huddle.
"It's been awesome experience playing with him," said receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. "He is a guy who can lead the huddle, lead the offense, motivate the whole team, and is always competitive."