Gruden on Smith: 'We have to...dissect his brain'

Brian Tinsman
October 10, 2018 - 12:20 pm
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The fallout from Monday night's implosion in New Orleans continues to reverberate around Redskins Park.

It isn't quarterback Alex Smith or the offense's fault that the Redskins gave up 43 points, but they still have plenty of bad game film to watch.

Smith missed wide open receivers for huge gains. He threw an interception directly to a defender, which almost ended up in the other end zone. He held the ball too long multiple times, including one that ended in a sack fumble.

In a phone call with reporters on Tuesday, head coach Jay Gruden said he didn't understand what Smith saw on certain plays, citing communication issues between the two.

"We had some plays we left out there for whatever reason," Gruden said. "We have to make sure we get on the same page as him and dissect his brain a little bit and make sure that we’re all on the same page with what we are trying to read on each given play."

The Redskins invested heavily in the offense this offseason, bringing in Smith on a huge, multi-year contract. They likely envisioned Jordan Reed imitating Travis Kelce in Kansas City, Chris Thompson playing Kareem Hunt and Paul Richardson reprising the role of Tyreek Hill. 

Maybe all of those things are still possible, but they need last year's Alex Smith in order to succeed. And so far, despite having a healthy offseason and months to build chemistry with teammates and learn Gruden's offense, they still are not on the same page.

"It's those details. I thought he was sitting, he broke in, I thought we were--y'know, there's so many of those things that I don't think fans--the guys don't just run routes on paper. All of these things are moving parts," Smith said on his weekly Redskins.com podcast. "It's on the fly. Defenses are adjusting, we're on the road, they're showing one thing and then run out in another, all of these things.

"In a split second, we all have to be seeing them at the same time. Those little details get magnified when they're off. On the road, Monday Night Football, and they did. They did get magnified. 

"Those are the plays that you think about. You're laying in bed, you can't sleep and you're replaying those. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I've got to get that rectified. When we are in that good situation and we're winning, those are the ones you make. You hit, they look great and everyone's feeling good.

"When you're off, and you're off that much, it feels like crap."

This is cause for concern for Gruden, but not panic. Not yet.

"I am a firm believer in really, really close communication with head coach and quarterback, especially the play-caller and quarterback," Gruden said. "That’s something we’re working on. We're going to get him in better situations to succeed."

 

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