SNIDER: Alex Smith Looks Like Leader Redskins Need

Rick Snider
March 15, 2018 - 6:34 pm
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The Washington Redskins have finally found a quarterback unafraid to lead. Someone who knows how to win and more concerned with reaching the Super Bowl than selling T-shirts or coining phrases.

Alex Smith officially joined the Redskins on Thursday ready to work. The plain-speaking former Kansas City passer spoke of the team’s front office commitment to winning, and how it trickles down to the locker room. Smith sees an offense that is fun to operate with many opportunities for success. How he didn’t want to oversell himself, saying "Talk’s cheap, gotta do it."

And it all rang true.

After listening three seasons to Kirk Cousins speak sideways over his future and predecessor Robert Griffin III’s frequent blame game that angered those around him as too self-promoting, the Redskins have a seasoned leader. Someone who has the third-most wins in the NFL over the last three years, despite no Super Bowl ring. The quarterback with the best passer rating league-wide last season, who talks of learning a new system with confidence.

Smith is remindful of Brad Johnson, who may have been the last Redskins quarterback with enough experience and savvy to instantly command respect in the huddle and in the stands. Johnson arrived in 1999 after five seasons in Minnesota to lead Washington to the NFC East title. He would have lasted longer than two seasons, only owner Dan Snyder wanted Jeff George instead.

It was once a given that Redskins quarterbacks were unquestioned leaders. Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien ran this team for nearly 30 years. But when coach Joe Gibbs retired in 1993 and the franchise fell apart, it went through 24 quarterbacks before Cousins finally played three straight years. But, Cousins was always one foot out the door and the other in the bank vault, and that wore on teammates and fans.

Smith is now in charge. It’s refreshing. Now he's just "gotta do it."

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks