Here's five takeaways from new Redskins quarterback Alex Smith's introductory press conference that took place on Thursday, March 15, 2018.
1, With Wednesday marking a new beginning for him, Smith is excited to be in Washington.
The last few months had been a waiting game for Smith, but now he's ready to go with his new team.
Already in his first 24 hours with the Redskins, Smith has signed a contract extension and met nearly every member of the organization.
"Yeah, I feel like I've been waiting on this for a long time, right?" Smith said with a smile. "I think everybody knew, but funny rules and can't talk about certain things and timing and deadlines and things like that. So glad it's finally here, the ball can start rolling, you know, the sooner we can get to work, the sooner I can get to work. That's what we're all here for. So yeah, I mean, I'm excited about it, excited that this day's here and kind of kick start everything."
Smith won't be able to get to work with his new teammates until the offseason workout program starts next month. But when Phase 1 of the program opens up, he'll dive right into his role as team leader and franchise quarterback.
"The next date we're staring at is April 16th and the chance to finally come together as a team and start the process," Smith said. "Really that's the start of the year for us as a team, so, you know, looking forward to that and what's to come then."
2. Smith likes the balance that Washington's offensive scheme will provide.
Over the course of his tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs, especially this past year, Alex Smith led an offense that used its weapons – Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce – in a variety of ways. Paramount to that offensive scheme was its run-pass balance, a factor that Smith cited as he looks forward to playing for the Redskins.
The Washington Redskins announced on March 14, 2018, that they acquired quarterback Alex Smith via trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. Take a look at his career through the years.
"I think as you saw from afar, you just see a scheme that's put together really well, right balance, run, pass, play-action, misdirection, all the good things that go into being a good offense," Smith said. "And there's a lot of good ways to do it, certainly here. And then you combine that with the players and the talent here as well, and all those go into playing good football, right? It takes everything, so certainly that was a big part of it. But seeing the balance, all the things you get to do, I certainly feel like as a quarterback I can do a lot. I like that, I like to be kind of that Swiss-army knife and be able to take advantage of a lot of different things, and certainly how creative they've been here, and look forward to kind of continuing that."
Smith will have some similar weapons at his disposal to continue the momentum from last year, including new wide receiver Paul Richardson, who was introduced by the Redskins just before Smith. The quarterback admitted that the transition onto a new team will take some time as he figures out the playbook and talks more with coaches about the game plan. Developing relationships with his new teammates will run parallel with running the offense up to its full potential.
"I'm excited to get to work with all these guys," Smith said. "We all got to get to know each other, we've all got to go through this, reps, and trial and error, and a lot of time together and I look forward to that I think. I think we all do. Kind of getting to work finally, getting out of the suit and tie and getting on the field, so I look forward to that. Certainly Josh [Doctson] is one of those guys that I'm excited to work with."
3. During last year's matchup against the Redskins, Smith recalled how much talent the defense had before injuries caught up with Washington.
After a convincing blowout victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 action last year, the Redskins turned their attention to a Week 4 matchup with the then-undefeated Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Early in the game, the Redskins jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter as Washington dominated the time of possession battle. Eventually, though, the Chiefs fought back from the 10-point deficit before the Kansas City pulled out a nine-point victory late in the contest.
"Yeah, to be honest, I remember how the week before you had just beat [the Raiders] and pounded them on national TV, and obviously it was a pretty healthy team at that point," Smith said. "And I remember getting ready and just how good they were, how tough it was going against, and obviously it was a game that came down to one play at the very end.
"But obviously after that to watch as it went on, certainly the injuries piling up, and I think some missed opportunities out, there but certainly remembering how good they were playing at that point and healthy and with everybody going and like I said, yeah, so excited when this opportunity came up."
Smith also joked about having to face a Greg Manusky-led defense once again and the issues that the Redskins' defensive coordinator can present. Manusky was the San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator for four (2007-10) of Smith's seasons there.
"Spend a lot of years [with him] and all of a sudden you're going against him," Smith said. "Every time you end up on that sideline he'd be over there yelling at you."
4. Don't expect Smith to be hosting wide receiver get-togethers before spring workouts.
You've seen videos and photos shared countless times. Quarterbacks posting about practicing with a select group of wide receivers and tight ends, boasting about how they're developing better chemistry on and off the field and how that will translate into games.
The Washington Redskins on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, announced the signing of wide receiver Paul Richardson. Take a look back at his NFL career.
Smith doesn't deny some of the benefits that those group sessions can provide in the offseason, but for a quarterback switching cities and teams, and needing to play catch-up with a new set of coaches and teammates, he doesn't expect to be chucking the football to a select group in a warm weather environment just yet.
"I think a lot of that stuff looks great on TV, I think it's great for Instagram followers, but to be honest at this point I'm limited on what I can get my hands on, scheme-wise, and there's all these rules and stuff," Smith said. "It would be great to come together, and go out on the field and throw it around, but I think we'd all like to have coaches there and we'd be better off with that. I think some of that stuff happens when we get a little bit of the playbook under our belt, and can actually be efficient with that, but sometimes to go do that – it looks great, but I'm not sure you're getting the bang for your buck there."
Smith, however, didn't rule out organizing some get-togethers in the summer before training camp, once he gets a feel for all of his new offensive weapons and has worked with coaches to understand and incorporate the ideas and game plans they've created.
"Excited for us this summer, that's potentially a good time for that, once we've got OTA's and a bunch of the playbook in this spring," Smith said. "Right now it would just be…yeah."
5. There's one thing that keeps Smith motivated going into his 14th NFL season.
Smith has done nearly everything in his first 13 seasons as a professional football player from being the No. 1-overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft to a selection to the Pro Bowl on three different occasions.
But there's still one thing the 33-year-old has yet to achieve in his career: winning a Super Bowl.
Smith has come close in previous seasons, as he's appeared in seven playoff games as a starter. But hoist the Lombardi Trophy has eluded him to this date. That's something that he hopes to change now that he's in Washington.
"I've never won a championship. Never won a Super Bowl. That's what we're all chasing," Smith said. "I think this is the ultimate team sport, the most competitive sport in the world, the greatest sport in the world and we're chasing that ultimate dream – we're trying to find a way. That's the challenge for me: can we find a way? And there's so much that goes into it from top to bottom, in each department in the building – can we go out and find a way to get it done. That challenge excites me more than ever.
"Certainly as you get older, you cherish the opportunity more and more because you realize there is an end for everybody, and that challenge excites me. Can we find a way to come together and get it done?"