1. OTAs allows Smith to appreciate the game more, taking advantage of the condensed time he's given.
For a quarterback that's been around as long as Smith has, OTAs can often feel unimportant. Especially as the rules have placed more restrictions on the types of practices that can occur, Smith said that OTAs don't let him take for granted the real practice time the team has.
"I think for one, the one thing with this new break, you know an extended time after the season, I think it does really make you appreciate the time together, right, the time back practicing because we're so limited now in practices," Smith said. "So I think every guy these last two days has enjoyed just getting back out there and losing yourself in the game. To be limited, it does make you miss it, and I think it makes you appreciate it, so that's been nice."
The limited work does put an urgency on what the offense is trying to accomplish, and Smith knows that every rep helps developing a rapport before heading to training camp.
"You know, we had two good days of work," he said. "You've got to make the most of every day. With that being said, limited time together, so you've got to take a step with condensed time every day. It's been nice. Obviously no pads on, so the premium is on the skilled guys this time of year, which is fine with me as a quarterback."
2. Smith doesn't have any yard sticks when it comes to joining a new team. He just wants to execute right away.
Because Smith has already made a transition to a new team mid-career, he certainly has a better handle on how to approach making another move this year.
That being said, he also doesn't want to make any excuses. Smith is still in the process of transitioning to a new team, but knows he needs to play well right away because those are the expectations for himself.
"I don't think you can rely on the fact that, 'Oh, it's the first year here.' Nobody cares," Smith said. "It's not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, 'Ah, well, this is his first year here. We'll give him a break.' It just doesn't work that way. Executing is executing. Good ball is good ball. I think you know the difference. Playing this long, you feel like you've got a good grasp on it. We've got to go. There has to be a sense of urgency… When we get out there and line up and play, no one's taking it easy on you because you've got some new faces. It's just not how it works, so we've got to get up to speed."
As for getting a better sense of the roster and characters of the players he's joining this year, Smith doesn't concern himself with how much he's grown with someone off the field as a reason for throwing to him or not.
"I don't know about anybody else. I can't speak for anybody else, but for me, ball is ball. It's fluid, right?" Smith said. "I'm focused on football when I'm out on the football field, there's your release. Ball is ball. I'm going out there and trying to play, trying to execute, and that hasn't changed at all. Certainly there are some moving parts off the field, but I think any good pro can compartmentalize that stuff. It's certainly our job. That's what we're getting paid to do."
3. He feels like he and the wide receivers were ready for OTAs based on their previous work together.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 workouts may not seem like a big deal, but in terms of the preparation process for OTAs, Smith noticed that his outside weapons all felt in sync on Wednesday.
"I think it's been really good. We've had great work. I think we're ready for this," Smith said. "We were ready for OTAs. We got a lot in, Phase 1 and Phase 2, we got a lot of reps in, QBs and receivers working on timing, so I think we we're ready to kind of introduce the defense, and this is the next step in our progression.
"Talking, communicating as we see things together, reacting, thinking the same way, seeing the same thing, so this certainly is the next step for us in that progression."
4. He's not sweating missing time with absent players.
The flaw in putting too much stock into these early practices is that not everybody is healthy yet. That's noticeably true for the team's offensive line, missing four offensive tackles this week in Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe and T.J. Clemmings.
Even at running back, the Redskins are still waiting on the return of Chris Thompson for training camp, meaning Smith is lacking top-tier protectors and playmakers.
"Can't worry about it," Smith said. "This time of year especially, like I said, this is kind of geared toward the skilled guys on both sides of the ball and so we definitely need to take advantage of this time because we do have the advantage. I mean, this is a next-man-up game. That's the deal, right? These guys have got to get ready in a hurry. You never know. You can't just rely on, 'Oh, when we just get these guys back.' We have got to get these guys up to speed. Next man up and they have to get ready to play."
Here's photos from the Washington Redskins OTAs practice that took place Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.
Specifically as it refers to Thompson, Smith hasn't gotten to get a feel for him besides watching tape. That will only happen on the field together.
"Certainly Chris is a special player," Smith said. "When he gets back, we'll have a chance to kind of dial that in. But conceptually for me, I'm just trying to go out there and execute regardless. The next-guy-in has to go win if coverage dictates that and the concept dictates that, then those guys have got to win and we have got to take advantage of that time right now."
5. Jay Gruden's offense and Andy Reid's offense is like comparing Latin-based languages.
In maybe his most intellectual and humorous remark of the day, Smith used an analogy to compare the west coast offensive styles of Jay Gruden and his previous coach Andy Reid.
"It's tough to compare," he said. "I don't totally want to get into that. Both from West Coast worlds, so it's kind of like they are all Latin-based languages, you know, but they are not the same. There are some similarities, structure of the playbook, of how we call things, things like that. There are a lot of similarities but it's not the same language. I guess that's the best analogy I can make."