Redskins passing issues start with Alex Smith

Ben Krimmel
October 19, 2018 - 1:07 pm

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After trading for Alex Smith and signing the 34-year-old quarterback to a four-year deal worth $71 million in guaranteed money, the Redskins hoped the veteran would bring consistency to Jay Gruden's offense. 

But after scoring just 21.2 points per game, the offense has yet find its groove this season.

Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman said Smith's struggles are coming from multiple issues, including the quarterback not going through his progressions fast enough and too often locking on his first option.

"The job is to get through the progression and read the defense," Hoffman told the The Sports Junkies Friday. "He's not doing a good job right now of: a) identifying pre-snap what (the) coverage is; b) working the right side of the field based off of that; and then c) getting through the actual progression after the ball is snapped." 

This critique echos what DeAngelo Hall told Chad Dukes Thursday about Smith forcing the ball to tight end Jordan Reed.

"Alex throws that pass and you could clearly see – a blind man could see – that Jordan is being covered great," Hall said. "So don't go there, go somewhere else. But to see Alex just force that ball there had me thinking, 'Why wouldn't Alex go somewhere else with the ball?' Some of those things, it seems like we should be saying Alex needs to go other places with the ball in certain situations."

Hoffman spoke to a former NFL quarterback earlier this week who analogized Smith's transition from the Chiefs' offense to Gruden's offense like somebody adjusting to driving in England on the wrong side of the road.

"It's the same kind of decisions, but it's different. And you're in a different car and in a different place," Hoffman said. "So adjusting to that is going to take time."

Injuries to several Redskins' receivers haven't helped Smith's transition either. 

"And with the pieces moving in and out at practice, that's not helping either because every receiver runs every route with a little bit different timing. It is not just learning an in (route) at the coaching points of Jay Gruden's offense and where it's supposed to be in a progression on a certain play. It's learning Jamison Crowder's in (route), and Maurice Harris' in (route), and Josh Doctson's in (route)."

Also, the Redskins have struggled in protection.

"The line has not helped him either. And he's really uncomfortable in the pocket right now, I think in part, because he feels like he's going to get pressure all the time," Hoffman said.

In addition to Smith's five fumbles this season, Washington has allowed 12 sacks and 25 QB hits. Football Outsiders ranked the Redskins offensive line 20th at protecting the quarterback.

"There's a lot of different factors, which is not exactly encouraging, because it is more things that are going wrong," Hoffman said. "Clearly it starts with the quarterback and the ability to quickly process information."

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