Even before the Super Bowl, during Andy Reid's first days in Kansas City, Trent Dilfer predicted the Chiefs' new head coach would make a strong push to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco.

Dilfer, a former NFL quarterback and now an ESPN analyst, had no inside information, though he was a teammate of Smith with the 49ers in 2006 and 2007 and is now a friend.

It just made sense. Dilfer knew what Reid was looking for and that it played to Smith's strengths.

"Andy's a pass-first guy and he's all about mental toughness, decision-making, getting the ball out quickly, executing the plan," Dilfer said. "He's wanted to expand what he does at the line of scrimmage, and Alex gives you great versatility at the line of scrimmage. He's as good as anyone in the league at seeing things before the snap and digesting the information and getting his offense into the right mode, whatever that might be.

"Alex is very efficient in the shorter and intermediate passing game, and that's kind of what Andy's offense lives by - but he also has the ability to push the ball down the field."

The Chiefs eventually made the trade with the 49ers to acquire Smith. Their new era at quarterback starts in earnest this week, when their offseason program begins. The Chiefs won't get on the field for full-team practice for another couple of weeks, but Smith can throw to receivers and begin to learn Reid's offensive system.

The Chiefs have high expectations for Smith, who was the first overall pick in the draft in 2005. They've held similar hopes for other backup quarterbacks they've acquired to be starters - Elvis Grbac and Matt Cassel immediately spring to mind - and those usually didn't work out as they planned.

The Chiefs always moved on to the next best thing. There's no telling yet whether the same fate awaits Smith - whether he's destined to eventually be piled onto the quarterback scrap heap, following Grbac, Cassel and many others.

But Dilfer isn't the only NFL observer who believes this particular union of quarterback, head coach and system will work out better than most of the others.

"Andy's really a coach that likes to throw the ball on first down to give the quarterback some easy throws and to move the chains," former Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards said. "His offense isn't the deep vertical pass. He'll throw some of those, but he's more about implementing the offensive personnel and getting guys involved.