Ben Margot, AP
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) scrambles as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett (90) reaches for him in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The Kansas City Chiefs may have found a solution to their under center, according to quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy.

Former Utes and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has impressed Chiefs coaches with his leadership abilities and grasp of the playbook.

"When he's out here on the practice field, he's a leader. The guys look to him. The quarterback position is so important to be that leader, whether it's vocally or by your play," Nagby told the Kansas City Star. "He does both of that. Having him be able to do that and have some of these younger guys look up to him, that's what we need, and that's what we expected he'd have, and he does have that."

NFL rules prohibit the team from holding padded practice sessions this early in camp, though offensive coordinator Doug Pederson is pleased with Smith's progress so far.

"He's comfortable with what we're doing," Pederson told the Kansas City Star. "He's understanding the terminology, and he's orchestrating that at the line of scrimmage. We're really pleased with where he's at right now."

After coming off a 2-14 season where starting quarterback Matt Cassel and his late-season replacement Brady Quinn threw a combined 20 interceptions, the Chiefs fired their coaching staff and general manager. The team hired former Eagles coach Andy Reid and traded for Smith after parting ways with both Cassel and Quinn.

Smith said that he is glad to be back on the field after being sidelined by a concussion and then being benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick last season.

"It's been great," Smith said of his first few practices with the Chiefs. "It's been football. I've been itching for this for a long time. I was sitting there watching a lot of football at the end of last year. I've said this before: This is what I wanted, and now it's here. I'm just trying to make the most of it."

Ryan Carreon is a web editor for E-mail him at