It has been more than a month since word of the trade sending Alex Smith to Washington first broke, but it didn’t become official until the start of the new league year Wednesday.
That means Jay Gruden hasn’t been able to talk about his new quarterback in anything but the most general of terms. Now that Smith is officially on the team, Gruden is able to share his thoughts about the move and what it means for the Redskins.
Gruden said that the uncertainty involved with going into free agency with Kirk Cousins likely walking out the door made it a “no-brainer” to make a move for Smith before the Super Bowl. The move to Smith has Gruden excited about what the offense will be able to do with a mobile quarterback.
“That’s something you can’t coach,” Gruden said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “Some quarterbacks are better than others, and Alex is one of the best at it. His off-schedule plays are well-documented. He’s a problem when he gets outside the pocket. You have to be well aware of your rush lanes when you’re playing Alex Smith. You have to be aware of the coverages you play. You can’t have your defensive backers and safety and corners with their backs to the quarterback covering receivers in two-man because he’ll gut you. His movement skills are very, very underrated. He can really, really run. He’s really a good athlete. That’s not to say we’ll run the zone read every time, but the ability to get on the edge and outside the pocket and do some of the college stuff [is appealing].”
Washington has added Paul Richardson to their receiving corps and he should bring more speed to the group. Smith has been criticized for not taking advantage of downfield opportunities in the past, but Gruden said he’s “not too concerned” about Smith’s ability to generate big plays with his arm.
Given the trade and the four-year extension Smith received, one would guess that Gruden and company don’t have too many concerns about Smith’s ability to do the job.