By Barbara Harrison

The Eagles tried (so they say) to sign their stellar wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (left above) , who was a free agent in March, but former Birds coach Andy Reid swooped in with a bigger contract.

Made sense for a team that had ZERO passing touchdowns in 2o14!

But the happiness market may have crashed on Maclin and Big Red.

What the Chiefs still do not have is a vertical passing game that scares defenses down the field.

Yes, Maclin was a good signing, but this offense is still threatening to start someone like Jason Avant, Albert Wilson or Frankie Hammond opposite him. Maclin is just one guy, and if you’re not talking about Randy Moss, then it’s unlikely that one receiver is going to significantly change this offense.

Everyone knows the Chiefs’ wide receivers had zero touchdown catches last season, but even if Maclin matches his career-high 10 scores, will that mean the Chiefs score more points as a team? Or will it just change the distribution of the 18-24 touchdowns they can expect to get in the passing game?

Alex Smith is still the quarterback, and that’s really where a lot of the problems originate. His conservatism is the double-edged sword that results in few turnovers and few big plays. On passes thrown more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage in 2014, Smith was 4-for-21 with three interceptions.

In Philly last season, Maclin caught eight of 29 passes thrown more than 20 yards, including five for touchdowns. Not only does the quarterback have to be reasonably accurate with the throw, but he has to be willing to give the receiver the opportunities to make those plays.

In his 11th season, it’s hard to see Smith changing who he is as a quarterback.


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