Both the Chiefs and Jaguars finished the 2012 campaign with identical 2-14 records, but Kansas City's lively offseason brings notice to a game that would normally draw crickets outside of their respective cities.
One reason for the extra eyes is new Chiefs' quarterback Alex Smith, who was acquired from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for two second-round draft picks.
Will the former No. 1 overall pick revert to bust status or pick up where he left off under head coach Jim Harbaugh? If Kansas City hopes to admonish last season's grievous showing, Smith had better be close to performing like his 2011 and pre-injury 2012 self.
Here are three things Smith must accomplish in his debut with the Chiefs:
Smith was brought to Kansas City to improve on the lackluster play of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn that saw the two quarterbacks combine for 28 turnovers in 2012. While the finger can be pointed at many areas within the organization for last season's failures, it was necessary for the Chiefs to find new leadership under center.
In 26 games over the last two seasons in San Francisco, Smith threw just 10 interceptions while also only losing 10 fumbles. His decision-making ability and mind for protecting the football will prove valuable for Kansas City this season.
While there is immense pressure on Smith to perform well for his new team -- particularly as he escapes from under Harbaugh's shadow -- it is crucial for the quarterback to not press too hard here in the season opener.
Spread the Ball Around
New head coach Andy Reid brings to Kansas City his version of the West Coast offense, stressing the importance of Smith's ability to use the entire field and incorporate all of his weapons in the passing game.
While Dwayne Bowe is easily the quarterback's top option, Smith will need to rely a great deal on others to rejuvenate a passing attack that finished at the bottom of the league in both yards and touchdowns last season.
Beyond Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster and Anthony Fasano, the Chiefs have very little experience among their pass-catchers. But Reid has always been able to utilize all able bodies in his offense and will also lean on his running backs in the passing game, so look for Jamaal Charles to see a boost in his receiving numbers as well.
Lead Kansas City to Victory
While it may be obvious that Smith would need to notch a win for his debut with Kansas City to be successful, the season opener has been unkind to the Chiefs recently -- including a 41-7 home loss to the Buffalo Bills in 2011 -- so a victory against the Jaguars would hold extra significance.
Smith realizes the importance of getting off to a positive start. The quarterback had this to the The Kansas City Star:
"You love to get off to a great start, 1-0. It's 100 percent different than a 0-1 and the feeling … especially with this team and a lot of new faces and coaching staff coming together, would reinforce everything you've been doing."
The Chiefs are a favorite to win on the road this weekend, but Smith is not the type of quarterback to let the media or Vegas determine the outcome. Getting off to a 1-0 start would further validate Kansas City's commitment to him and further distance the organization from its worst season in franchise history.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
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