Keeler: Can Reid and Smith co-exist at Chiefs camp?
For better or worse, the journey of the odd couple that is Andy Reid and Alex Smith gets under way
By SEAN KEELERFS Kansas City
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The round hole arrived at the sweatbox around 2-ish, followed not long after by the square peg, who sported a nifty beard, a long-sleeved shirt and black pants, all bad ideas for St. Joe in late July.
"Camp is camp," Alex Smith said.
And heatstroke is heatstroke. But we digress.
Because no matter how you slice it, the
Kansas City Chiefs' new power couple is the BIG STORY -- all caps -- of the franchise's 2013 preseason junket to Missouri Western State, collectively and individually.
The Saga of Alex and Andy. The Saga of Andy and Alex. Hope and Crosby in cleats, on the road to Lord-knows-where. A book full of empty pages, just waiting to be filled in.
With what, of course, is still anybody's guess. Because based on their respective resumes to this point, it's an odd pair, a mash-up of styles and mindsets.
Consider this: Over the past 13 seasons, Reid's offenses have ranked among the top 10 in the NFL in pass attempts eight different times. In seven years as a pro, Smith, the Chiefs' new starting quarterback, has wound up among the NFL's top 10 in pass attempts per game just once, in 2009 (33.8). His career mark of 27.2 throws a contest rank him 23rd among active players, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Reid has a history of throwing the ball like the forward pass is going to be outlawed by Thanksgiving. Smith has a history of throwing the ball where he has to, a history of taking what the defense gives him, even if that gift is a 3-yard swing pass to the nearest pair of open hands. Among active players, the Chiefs' new signal-caller ranks 25th in terms of yards per attempt (6.6) and 28th in yards per pass completion (11.1).
Reid chucks. Smith ducks. It's like the theme from the old "Patty Duke" show: Where Alex adores a minuet, the Ballets Russes and crepe suzette, our Andy loves to rock and roll and a hot dog makes him lose control. What a wild duet!
"For me, it's to win the first game, that's it," Smith said Monday as quarterbacks, rookies and injured players reported to their dorms at Scanlon Hall. "Not looking beyond that. Sights are set on Jacksonville (in Week 1), and that's it."
Yeah, but getting to that point figures to be a whole mess of fun, assuming all the key seats remain in an upright position. There are lots of little storylines in play, lots of little questions that need answers over the next five weeks, including:
Is there a second viable wideout in the house?
Is this offensive line Bob Vila fixed? Or Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor fixed?
When will Tony Moeaki feel comfortable enough to get most of the snaps at tight end?
Who'll wind up getting most of the snaps at tight end after Moeaki winds up getting himself broken again?
Is Akeem Jordan renting or buying the starting middle linebacker spot that rookie Nico Johnson seems to be turning so many heads at?
Is Knile Davis ready to return kicks in the face of large men who'll be doing their darnedest to try and decapitate the kid on the spot?
Better clipboard jockey: Ricky Stanzi or Tyler Bray?
When is top overall pick Eric Fisher going to show up?
"Well, yeah, you'd love him in (Monday night)," Reid said of his presumed starting right tackle, the club's lone rookie holdout. "That's what you'd love. But I understand how these things go. I got it, and so I don't worry too much about it. ... Listen, as long as there's communication going on, it'll get done."
But nothing tops Alex and Andy. Andy and Alex. One part grand experiment, two parts sitcom. A buddy movie draped head-to-toe in red and gold and smothered in barbecue sauce.
What happens when a mad scientist tries to turn a career game-manager into something more?
What happens when a pass-happy coach inherits a ball-control, run-first offense?
"I think it's good. I think that we're going to do a little bit of both," quarterback Chase Daniel countered. "And I think that with Alex's skillset and my skillset -- all the guys, all of the offensive skill players that we have, I mean, I can go up and down the list, from the running backs to the tight ends, to the receivers, I think we're going to do what suits us best.
"And I think we were sort of finding our identity in the offseason program. And I think we'll find it even more here."
The search continues. The journey? The journey's just begun.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org