The Redskins were thrilled to secure their quarterback of the future in trading for Alex Smith. But Andy Benoit, an NFL analyst for Sports Illustrated, predicts the honeymoon won’t last long in Washington.
Benoit considers Smith to be “a downgrade from Kirk Cousins,” as he wrote for The MMQB last week. Benoit elaborated on this point to Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan, specifying that it’s not Smith’s age — 33 — which concerns him.
“I think I see him a little differently in terms of what kind of down-the-field quarterback he is,” Benoit said. “He went down the field early in the season when Kansas City’s offense was clicking on all cylinders and they were getting a lot of man coverage, which really defines the read for a QB.”
“When teams shifted back into zone coverage,” he said, “and now you’re reading multiple defenders, and trying to isolate windows and throw on-schedule, Alex Smith reverted back into a lot of his old tendencies, and the offense dried up for a while, he didn’t look good and Kansas City, that’s why they drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first place, because Alex Smith has had these issues throughout his career.”
“He’s a system QB. Cousins is a system QB,” Benoit went on. “That doesn’t mean they’re the same system QB, though, and what Cousins gave you, that I don’t think you’re gonna get from Alex Smith — and I think it’s gonna really drive Jay Gruden crazy after a while — is Cousins could throw with some anticipation and he had a turn-it-loose mindset. He was willing to take the chances, so to speak.
“In Gruden’s scheme, with the way that’s set up, you have to be a little bit more of an anticipation passer, and a little bit more aggressive, than you do if you’re running Andy Reid’s offense. And I don’t think Alex Smith will meet those demands.”
“I don’t ever want to forecast something negative like this for people,” he said. “I think this is going to go very badly, though, Chad.
“I don’t think Gruden’s going to be happy with what they’ve got at QB, come around October or November, where there are a lot of throws that will be getting left on the field.”