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Smith Peels Back The Curtain, Just Days After His Retirement

Washington issued a lovely good luck in your retirement to Alex Smith in a press release last week. They probably thought it would be the last time that they had to issue a press release on the retiring former player. It seemed almost metallic to read at the time. Perhaps it felt that way to the quarterback as well.

Not only did Smith not go gently into that good night, he is the subject of many-to-most of the Washington headlines in the last 24 hours.

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Categories Posted In News | Washington Commanders

Washington Football Team 2021 Free Agent Subtractions

It’s been a busy offseason in the NFL. Here’s a breakdown of all of Washington’s 2021 NFL free-agent losses, including players that are as of yet, unsigned. Updated with each free agency transaction.

Updated: May 20th, 2021

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Categories Posted In News | Transactions | Washington Commanders

Will Alex Smith Be The Key To Success For Washington?

“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 being 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.

First Stop

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.

Second Stop

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. He 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. Read More

Categories Posted In News | Washington Commanders

Can Alex Smith Improve the Washington Redskins in 2018?

The Washington Redskins have ended the Kirk Cousins era and they have a new one to start in 2018; this one will be under former Kansas City Chief quarterback Alex Smith. Smith may not the best quarterback in the league, but he is solid enough to build on. Smith was quietly effective for the Chiefs, and there is no reason to think he can’t do the same for the Redskins. Washington are hoping what will help Smith is a solid triumvirate of running backs.

Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine form an exciting trio and, on their day, they are as good as most running back committees in the league. They have the ability to gain important yards, make themselves available for catches from the backfield and score touchdowns.

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Categories Posted In News | Washington Commanders

How Do The Washington Redskins Bounce Back Next Season?

There’s no sugar coating it, a 7-9 season and a second consecutive failure to make the playoffs is not good enough for the Washington faithful. Add to that, the final effort of the campaign was a tame 18-10 loss to the woeful Giants. Yes, the season was over, but a good performance in that game would have been a much better way to sign off.

Injury Factors

If you were looking for mitigating factors, you could point to the injuries. Perhaps the biggest of them all was in the game against New Orleans when Chris Thompson broke his leg in the third quarter. With Thompson in the team, the Redskins averaged 359.4 yards and 23.1 points per game. Without him, those figures dropped to 267.5 and 17.3 respectively. You can’t pin the whole season on one injury. But if the Redskins were going to pick one player they could least afford to do without, it would have been Thompson.

The injury count was horrific. The squad ended the season with 20 players on the injury reserve list. Other notable injury problems were the nagging complaints that limited the effectiveness of Trent Williams and Jordan Reed. The loss of Jonathan Allen after week five, seriously weakened the defensive line.

The fact that the Redskins ended up using more than 26 different offensive-line combinations tells its own story.

Mistakes At Key Times

Still, it wasn’t all about the injuries. The Redskins ended up with a middle-of-the-road record, and that’s how they played. They went 1-5 against division winners but were 5-1 against teams that had a losing record going into the final week. They could have won some key road games – at New Orleans and Kansas – but they blew both of them, and key players made mistakes at key times – not least quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw three interceptions.

Defensive Problems

Defense continued to be a huge problem. The Redskins have ranked 17th or lower in points allowed for nine consecutive seasons now, and 16th or worse in yards allowed per game for the last six years. It doesn’t matter how powerful your offense is. If you’re giving up that much territory on defense, it’s next to impossible for the team to move forward.

Quarterback Change

Despite the obvious need for a shake-up, Cousins’ departure was something of a surprise. Largely because Alex Smith isn’t that much different, and not the kind of player considered able to carry an offense.

Betting Man

Certainly, the betting markets have not been impressed by the move. The Redskins remain low down in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl odds, but while the latter may prove beyond them, it’s actually not impossible to imagine things coming together for an inexperienced group. The focus on young talent will bear fruit at some point, and they could be a decent outside bet for the Division title, assuming they stay injury free.

For one thing, while Smith is not an exciting replacement for Cousins, he could be a good fit.

He’s more consistent and consistency will give the offense a little more confidence next time around. He’s a good fit with the passing game that Jay Gruden has developed. He has more mobility than Cousins, and throws fewer interceptions. Smith could turn out to be a positive acquisition.

By resolving the quarterback issue at this relatively early stage, the Redskins are now free to address the squad overhaul that will be needed to get this group ready for next season.

Squad Overhaul?

The focus on developing young talent is the key to future success in the long term. The team clearly needs strengthening in some areas, most notably at cornerback. They lost Kendall Fuller – one of their top three corners – in the Smith / Cousins dea. they also need help at wide receiver, where they look in need of a strong and reliable playmaker. The defensive line improved in terms of yards allowed last season, but they were still below average. A top defensive lineman should be a priority.

If they can address those issues and add another dynamic, game-changing running back to compliment Thompson, and if they can stay clear of the injury problems that blighted the 2017 campaign, then next season’s projected steady improvement could be upgraded into something altogether more spectacular.

Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

Interview with Doc Walker: Part 1

The University of Maryland hosted a sports injury symposium at Knight Hall Wednesday night titled “Sports Injuries: the Risks of Playing the Game from Kids to the Pros.” Among those in attendance were Dr. Stephen Haas, a retired physician for the Wizards, Capitals and Nationals, Sean Sansiveri, NFL Players Association Staff Council; Scott Hallenbeck, Executive Director of USA Football; Katie O’Donnell, 2009 National Field Hockey player of the Year from the University of Maryland; Mark Hyman, author of “Until it Hurts” and adjunct professor at George Washington University; and former Washington Redskins tight end and current ESPN 980 and Comcast SportsNet media personality, Rick “Doc” Walker.

Following the event, I had the chance to speak with Doc about a wide range of topics. In the first of a three-part interview series, Doc talks about his post-career injuries, the Catch-22 that NFL players face with concussions and job security, expanding NFL rosters, his dislike of the Scouting Combine, and whether the 49ers should trade for Darelle Revis.

Photo Courtesy of DocWalker.com.

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Categories Posted In Washington Commanders