Which Alex Smith should we expect for the Redskins? 2005-2016 or 2017?
February 12, 2018
by Jamual Forrest
In what will be his age 34 season in the NFL, Alex Smith’s tenure as a Redskin will be an interesting one for a multitude of reasons. Smith is a quarterback who has had three different labels attached to him as he gained experience in the league. There is no doubt that Smith has improved as he has aged. However, because there are 12 years of film on the quarterback, there should be some trepidation when examining his last season in Kansas City.
He was considered a bust by many in his first six seasons, disregarding the fact that circumstances around him in San Francisco may have stressed out and affected any young quarterback on the field. Nonetheless, Smith got an opportunity with Harbaugh in 2011, and that sixth season is when the narrative changed on Smith for the first time. He became a competent game manager who almost led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth. They did not make it in 2011 but did the following season, which led to him being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. The Andy Reid and Alex Smith made an immediate impact together, finishing 11-4 that year with Smith as the starter. The duo has been successful from day one, missing the playoffs only one out of five seasons during that stint. Smith compiled 50 wins and suffered only 26 defeats in his time as a Chief, and his final season before being traded to Washington was his best season as a professional quarterback. He seemingly leaped game-manager to a big play quarterback (not elite, there is a difference).
A big-time quarterback is the latest label to be placed on Smith. The highlights revolved around shot plays to speed demon Tyreke Hill, tight end Travis Kelce, and rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Smith had a great season; his accuracy was among the elites in the NFL, especially his deep passes, which he led the league in completions. Smith led the league in interception percentage per pass attempt, adjusted yards per pass attempt, and quarterback rating. He also threw for a career high in touchdown passes with 26 and only five interceptions. It was a great season, but does that mean this is the quarterback the Redskins will be getting when he steps on the field for them in August?
Alex Smith was a heavy topic in both The Hog Sty’s latest episode with Mark Bullock and with Joel Corry two episodes ago. The question was asked, even after his last season, which was excellent, why should anyone disregard his previous eleven seasons when his play has shown him to be a particular type of quarterback? Is the third label being thrown around likely to stick with Smith? Alternatively, should fans expect Smith to be the game-manager that prefers the short-passing game than taking deep shots, favoring check downs early in the development of plays, and escaping the pocket a little too soon than desired? Those are not necessarily insulting evaluations for a quarterback, but it becomes merely a frustrating thing to watch.
In all, there is nothing wrong with that way if the Redskins are winning games consistently, which Alex Smith does know how to do as long as good talent surrounds him. Obviously, this is a team game, and the help he gets via team acquisitions and coaching will play a significant factor in Smith’s success on the field, but the version of Smith that Redskins fans will see is just as important when evaluating the potential of this team.