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Is Alex Smith The Key To Success?

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“Alex Smith hands off” by Victor Araiza (CC BY-NC 2.0)

When the Washington Redskins finally resolved the Kirk Cousins quarterback situation, it was surprising to some, that it ended up with Alex Smith as the starting quarterback of the team. And while it is definitely a positive that the game of chicken between Cousins and the organization is finally over, it remains to be seen wether or not Smith can be the solution for the Redskins.

Alex Smith has had an interesting career arc. He started as a number one overall pick with the San Francisco 49ers and at first didn’t look like he was up to the pick. As he matured, he bounced back, and became a very able, and competent quarterback with a Niners defense there to support him.

He was ultimately supplanted by Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, and Smith then landed in Kansas City. There, his relationship with Andy Reid helped turn him into the Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback that the Niners drafted.

Still, despite winning games and making the Pro Bowl, how “good” Alex Smith still seems to be debated. Smith has thrown for 4,000 yards only once in his career, in an NFL where quarterbacks regularly throw for that kind of yardage. Smith says that he would prefer to stack up wins over stats , which detractors like to say is somehow shirking accountability.

Smith hasn’t always pushed the ball down the field in his career, but looked very proficient doing so with the luxury of speedster Tyreek Hill to help him get there. Kirk Cousins was perhaps more proficient at times getting the ball downfield, but usually with the same type of help from DeSean Jackson.

For all the differences that people want to point to in the two quarterbacks, they are actually very similar in game management, and they types of throws they like to make.


“Alex Smith” by  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If he can get the Redskins to the playoffs, he has plenty of experience. Smith’s biggest playoff success came in San Francisco, where he reached the NFC Championship Game. Unfortunately for him, he was shut down by the New York Giants in the game, and hasn’t been as close to the Super Bowl since. And with Super Bowl LIII NFL betting odds putting the Skins as longshots to win the title, he may not be the only hole the Redskins need to fill before seeing the Super Bowl again one day.

One thing that Redskins fans can look forward to upon Smith’s arrival is his reunion with tight end Vernon Davis. Davis had a superstar performance in the playoffs against the New Orleans Saints as a member of the Niners, when he and Smith were working together in San Francisco. That performance led to a shocking upset of the Saints, and that connection could be an important one for Smith and the Skins. This is especially true given how Davis has already performed in Washington, and that starting tight end Jordan Reed has struggled with injuries throughout his career with the Redskins.

Alex Smith has been a very good quarterback for most of his career.

Can he push the Redskins any further than Cousins could?

More By Mark Solway

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