I don’t mean to trash Alex Smith, here. His 92.9 quarterback rating puts him in the bottom half of the NFL this year, nestled in with the likes of Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill and Eli Manning.
It’s just that, as somebody who watched most of Smith’s career in Kansas City, it is highly amusing to read in the Washington Post about how the Redskins feel like they haven’t quite gotten what they expected from the 34-year-old Smith, whom they got in a trade last winter.
Mostly there is a lot of vague talk about “getting comfortable” and “thought process” and such.
When asked Monday what constituted getting Smith “comfortable,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said, “We got to do a lot better job of getting our quarterback comfortable with plays that we can handle, obviously.”
It was not a swipe at Smith, who the coaches believe is able to make any throw required. The coach went on to add that he should have “quickened up the passing game a little bit” and called more third-down plays that “were a little more conducive to [Smith’s] liking.”
The phrases sounded vague, and neither Smith nor Gruden said anything in the following days that clarified those comments.
Here’s the thing, Washington. There is a certain manner in which Alex Smith is going to play his position, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Yes, there may be some things you can do to make Smith work for your offense and he probably won’t miss as many throws the second half of the season as he has the first. You may even be able to convince him to push the ball down the field for two or three weeks at a time. And then he’ll mix in a few first-down runs on third-and-long, and you’ll think, “Ok, here it is, it’s finally coming together!”
I assure you, there is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow — only a checkdown to the tight end.
This is not bad, per se. At the end of this season, you’ll be able to look at the numbers and in all likelihood say that Smith had a good year, and that maybe with some more weapons or some better luck or some scheme adjustments, this could really work.
On Tuesday, Gruden said the offense had become “too one-dimensional” against the Saints, with plays that called for Smith to drop straight back. A lot of Smith’s success has come when he is moving side to side, running out of the pocket. The next day, Smith talked about making sure his “mind-set and thought process, eyes and feet and all that stuff [were] marrying up.” He also mentioned “not seeing things” in some plays. All of this seems to suggest Smith is still trying to adjust to the Redskins’ system, and the Redskins are still getting used to him.
That’s how they getcha.