Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
No football until next September means it’s time to hunker down and survive its absence.
- As you all know, more then a few Mondays go Sixpackless throughout the year (Memorial Day, Labor Day, MLK Day, etc.), but one Monday every year fails to be given the holiday status it so richly deserves. My Super Bowl hangover continues today, but the world still turns. My hat is off to the freedom fighters that continue to push for either a Saturday Super Bowl or a national holiday on the Monday after the Super Bowl. I especially tip my hat to all the fine schools and offices who closed their doors yesterday. That is the kind of trailblazing we need in this topsy turvy time.
- Another annual tradition here is the recognition of former Redskins that factored into the Super Bowl. Now, I have nothing against Bashaud Breeland, but Kendall Fuller is a local boy and I loved the way he played in the big game. First and foremost, he played in “The League,” otherwise known as the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC). In the same year that his Good Counsel Falcons took down the WCAC (beating an incredible St. John’s squad), his Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. My lasting memory of Fuller as a defensive back is as someone who makes good position decisions. By that, I mean, he puts his body in the right spot to make the biggest impact on a play. In Washington, he always seemed to fight his way to the right spot and get his hips turned to make a play on the ball or the ballcarrier. I get that he hasn’t been the second-coming of Darrell Green, and I know that his time in Kansas City hasn’t been Hall of Fame-worthy, but he is just a solid, solid player. The play he made diving in front of a receiver on Sunday to break up a pass that resulted in NO pass interference penalty was great, and his game-sealing interception was too. Considering that Fuller is a free agent after this season, I love that he made that late mark on the NFL season. It goes without saying that there is a need and a spot for Fuller in the Redskins defensive backfield. Given they have to pay a certain someone named Mahomes, the Chiefs are going to have to make some serious business decisions this offseason. If Fuller becomes available, he is a player we should absolutely chase (no pun intended, though Chase Young did go to DeMatha, also a WCAC school).
- Wouldn’t it be kind of hilarious if the Redskins started both Alex Smith and Kendall Fuller next season after trading one for the other? Is “hilarious” the right word? If you have been reading your Sixpacks faithfully since late 2018, you know that I have been telling you to EXPECT “The Alex Smith Comeback Story” in all of its glory. I have made it clear (as have my co-hosts in the basement) that Alex Smith should NEVER step onto a football field again. His experience both on the field and off of it in the hospital afterward should firmly guide him away from playing the sport again, but instead, it will likely pump up the made-for-Disney aspect of the whole thing. I don’t have any inside information. Alex Smith—to his detriment—doesn’t consult with me on any of his major life decisions, so I have no way of really knowing how serious he is about lining up again. Part of me expected “The Alex Smith Comeback Story” to be used by Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen as yet another distraction from their shenanigans. With Allen gone and with Rivera in control, I am pretty pumped that the sideshow aspect of it might be minimized, but by no means do I think Alex Smith won’t be competing for a starting job next summer.
- Let’s talk about this for a second. With the hiring of a well-established veteran head coach, none of us should be AT ALL surprised that the Redskins are going to entertain the idea of starting a veteran quarterback. This is what veteran head coaches do almost 100% of the time. Very rarely do you see a coach with the kind of resume that Rivera has come in and just be happy to inherit a yet-to-be-developed youngster at quarterback. It happens…sometimes, and there are exceptions to every rule, but the more established a head coach is in the league, the less he wants to rely on a rookie or unproven player when he takes over a team. This is why “The Alex Smith Comeback Story” has legs in my opinion. It is the perfect recipe for his return (that we should all agree has no business ever happening). Think about it: a brand new veteran head coach who is defensive-minded is one who skews even more to the veteran quarterback because he knows that he needs to protect the ball and get his defense involved. The Redskins are already paying Smith no matter what he does, so his salary and salary cap space aren’t even a factor. The other big factor in Alex Smith’s favor is he is already in house…which matters because:
- We can’t just ruin Dwayne Haskins by Snydering him in his second season. How do you Snyder someone you might ask? It harkens back to a time in the not-so-distant past where Dan Snyder ALWAYS preferred to sign a free agent to fill holes instead of develop and promote players already on his roster. It was a fun time…said nobody. Alex Smith saves this from happening because he isn’t some shiny object on the free agent market that we covet and then sign to supplant our quarterback-of-the-future. In fact, I can think of nothing less shiny and appealing than a 36-year old quarterback that spirally fractured his leg and then almost died as a result of the injury. Nothing against anyone here, but the agent working for that free agent player has his work cut out for him (like, spirally cut out for him). Alex Smith was part of the Super Bowl talk over the last week, with plenty of Chiefs players and coaches crediting him with being such a huge part of the culture that ultimately became a championship culture. Last time I checked, we could use guys like that around Redskins Park, which is exactly why we jumped up and down in the basement when he was added. Haskins has had Smith around him since he got here, and part of me thinks that part of him would be rooting for his elderly teammate. I am sure he wants to play and start, but if Smith wins that job, Haskins hasn’t been usurped is my point here. If the Redskins chase down some free agent veteran, that could be a bad development for the…development of our guy.
- I am not sure how this turned into such an Alex Smith piece, other than the topic has comprised about 87% of the Redskins questions I have been asked over the last two weeks. Yes, I do think he is going to try and play next season. Yes, I do think a coach like Ron Rivera places a high premium on experience under center. No, I don’t think Alex Smith’s presence in any way impedes the long-term development of Haskins. Yes, I do think there will be commercials, and slogans, and t-shirts on this. Yes, I do think I will get swept up in it between now and July and may very well have a tattoo of some kind celebrating Alex Smith’s return to football. I don’t think it is the worst thing that could happen to Dwayne Haskins. After all, the last guy to learn under Smith’s tutelage just won the MVP of the freaking Super Bowl. Oh God…have I already started?