One of the qualities the Chiefs like in new quarterback Alex Smith is his recent history with few turnovers. Smith threw just 10 interceptions in his last 25 games for the San Francisco 49ers, a stat that looks extremely pretty in Kansas City after Chiefs quarterbacks committed 27 turnovers last season.

Smith’s low turnover rate was due at least in part by his reluctance to throw the ball down the field. He was referred to by frustrated 49ers fans as Captain Checkdown for his habit of throwing shorter patterns to receivers for shorter gains.

Smith is in the process of being reprogrammed by Andy Reid, his new coach. Reid doesn’t want to turn Smith into a turnover machine but wants him to be more aggressive, particularly during offseason practice.

“You want to get a feel for the offense now, particularly when you’re new at it (and) if there are close throws, challenge it, see what you can get away with,” Reid said. “If it ends up being an interception, OK, it’s an interception. You learn from it. These are smart guys so they learn from it and once they get into the season, they’re not experimenting with it on game day and they know what they can get away with and know what they can’t.

“It’s a new offense. I would tell any quarterback that comes in new that that’s what you need to do. I’ve told them all that. Go ahead and take your shots and see what you can get away with, within reason. But if it’s a close throw, there are going to be a few of those in the National Football League on game day so you need to know what you can get away with on each route.”

Smith and the other Chiefs quarterbacks were rewarded with several long completions in Wednesday’s practice. Smith had three such plays, including two to Jon Baldwin, while Tyler Bray and Ricky Stanzi had one apiece.

Wednesday’s barrage of big passing plays isn’t necessarily an indication the deep ball is back in the Chiefs’ offense. But since such plays have been scarce for the Chiefs in each of the past two seasons, they’re taking it as an encouraging sign.

“We’re just kind of continuing to press to see what we can do … finding out what we’re capable of,” Smith said. “You’ve got to find that out at some point. This is what the practice field is for.”