Alex Smith shows in first workout he’s not fazed by rookie challenge – AFC West

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — If first impressions mean anything, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith will answer the challenge from rookie Patrick Mahomes II.

The ball never hit the ground while Smith was at quarterback at the Chiefs’ first training camp practice on Friday. Smith was 13-for-13, the only close call being a pass he threw up the seam to tight end Travis Kelce, who reached behind him to make the catch.

Smith was playing against backup defenders in a slow-paced practice conducted without pads, so it hardly means he and the rest of the Chiefs’ offense is regular season-ready.

It does mean that Smith and the Chiefs are off to a good start toward that goal.

“You want to come out here and be sharp more than anything, and I think the guys did a good job of that,’’ Smith said. “It will be good to look at, but the meat [of camp] really starts [Saturday]. I thought it was good to be clean and assignment-sound for the most part.’’

Smith’s starting job wasn’t endangered immediately when the Chiefs drafted Mahomes in the first round. The Chiefs said after acquiring Mahomes that he would be a project who would take time to develop and that Smith would be the starting quarterback in 2017.

The challenge from Mahomes eventually will be real. Smith didn’t need the Chiefs to motivate him by drafting another quarterback in the first round because he’s been a self-starter, at least since arriving in Kansas City in 2013.

At the same time, he’s never had a serious challenger for his starting job since he’s been with the Chiefs.

“I don’t think it’s just the rookie thing because we’ve had rookies in here before,’’ Smith said. “I think you want a high-quality, competitive room, period, and obviously when you’re drafting a guy that early, you’re hoping he’s bringing that quality.

“When it’s really competitive…

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