SNIDER: Redskins need to name Kyle Smith GM

Rick Snider
April 28, 2020 - 10:11 am
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The Redskins' next big signing should be a contract extension and new title for Kyle Smith. The young executive proved to be the right mixture with coach Ron Rivera so needed if this franchise is to grow from 3-13 into a contender by 2022.

Titles don't really mean much. Smith is currently vice president of player personnel, but naming him GM provides more cache leaguewide. His contract has only one year remaining and the Redskins should not let him escape. After all, how differently would the last 18 years have been if not letting John Schneider leave Redskins Park to later become Seattle's GM and architect of one championship and two Super Bowl teams.

Now Schneider wasn't ready to take over the Redskins as Marty Schottenheimer's vice president of player personnel in 2001. He needed seven seasons in Green Bay where they do things right to take over the Seahawks in 2010. But Smith has served 10 seasons in the Redskins front office and is the son of well-regarded football man A.J. Smith, who was San Diego's GM before spending his final two years as a Redskins consultant through 2015. That makes Kyle a football lifer in experience.

It would seem an odd mix – a 58-year-old head coach and a 35-year-old exec – where each has power and the balance is good. Normally, the elder coach would command much more power, but Rivera's mentor is John Madden, who taught Rivera to empower people to be themselves.

"When Coach Rivera came in," Smith said, "he said, 'I want you to kind of do everything that you've been doing the last few years and run it how you feel comfortable, and then we'll adjust from there.'...

"Process is always about the people and coach, and I have a great relationship and it's easy, it's smooth. We're on the same page – (defensive coordinator Jack) Del Rio and (offensive coordinator Scott) Turner – I've been very happy with how easily we've meshed after not knowing each other for a long time, and that's what made our process very smooth. It's about the people and communicating and you can't go wrong when you do it that way."

Rivera appreciated Smith's talent evaluating, so the draft process was cleaner.

"I thought that the communication between Kyle and I as he was setting the final board was exactly what you look for," Rivera said, "because then as you go through the process you should see things quite close to one another. . . . I thought we talked ourselves through a lot of things."

The Redskins didn't overthink the No. 2 pick last week and went with one person who could help them greatly. The same approach now applies to Smith.

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

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