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The 5 O'Clock Club: The Paul Richardson & Alex Smith introductory press conferences

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Click here to watch Alex Smith press conference on Redskins.com

Click here to watch Paul Richardson press conference on Redskins.com

Some of the interesting things I heard in the press conference:

From Doug Williams

“He [Alex Smith] chose us, and he chose us for a reason. It’s because of who we are; the history of the Washington Redskins, the legacy of the Washington Redskins.”

“I promise you, we’ll get the running back situation straight.”

“We’re glad that he chose us for the next five years; and if we have to add a couple more years, we’ll do that too. We’ll take seven.”

“I can tell you [Jay’s] a little different than his brother. He don’t like to talk.”

“Is [Eric] Schaffer in here? Here’s a guy that hadn’t slept since I don’t know when. He needs some NoDoz.”

from Paul Richardson

“[I’ll] just provide some speed downfield — beat guys downfield, take the top off of coverages, and challenge people downfield.”

“With my frame, I was able to surprise people with how I attacked the ball in the air.”

“I was excited when I heard [the Redskins] were interested. It’s a great new start.”

“I’m friends with Desean, I’m friends with Pierre, they’re both great guys — great receivers. When Pierre told me this would be a great fit for me, I trusted him.”

“Pierre said, ‘They need a receiver; I think you’ll be a great fit there.’ For him to say that after leaving here, that meant a lot to me, so that was easy.”

“Desean, for a decade, he sets people up so great with a double moves downfield. He has great ball tracking ability over his shoulder — all parts of my game that I’ve been working on that I can’t wait to be able to show.”

“I look at this offense and I’m seeing windows that I’ve never seen before, and I can picture myself in those windows, so I’m looking forward to different concepts... how they get guys open, and I think I’ll be able to contribute.”

“I want [Alex Smith] to know I’m always available; just throw it. It don’t matter where it is, I’m gonna go get it. I’m gonna turn him into a believer.”

“Alex doesn’t have to leave the pocket. He can deliver balls on time in the pocket. Then, when he does scramble, he’s dangerous. He can go get the yards himself, or he’s gonna find whoever’s available.”

“I feel like I have the burden to prove something every time I touch the field. I welcome it; I’m embracing it, and I’m just gonna have fun in it.”

“I like going up against defenders and turning 50/50 balls into 100% balls.”

“As long as [Alex Smith] is moving, and I’m still able to move, I’m gonna run past people, whether it’s across the field or down the field and I think that .. uh.. he’ll find me.”

Asked why he is keen to “go over the middle” (something he mentioned several times), Richardson had a quick reply:
“You gotta catch me.”

My impression of Paul Richardson

Paul Richardson couldn’t stop smiling. His enthusiasm was obvious, and he’s clearly happy to be here with the Redskins. He has a youthful charisma and energy that makes him instantly likeable. He was at the press conference with his parents, and he seemed more like a college kid than a 25 year old, 4-year veteran.

I think the fan base is going to take to Richardson immediately.

Paul Richardson’s contract per OverTheCap

Typical Redskins contract structure, with low first year cap hit ($4m), and an easy “out” on the contract at the end of Year 3. If the Skins cut Richardson after 2020, he would be paid $24m for 3 years (the same $8m APY as the full 5 year contract). Fully guaranteed money is $12.5m (including the $10m signing bonus). If he plays the full contract, $10m cap hit should be affordable after 4 or 5 years of cap increases.

from Alex Smith

“I’m excited that this day’s here.”

“The next date we’re staring at is April 16th, and a chance to finally come together as a team and start the process.”

“The common denominator amongst all successful veterans when I was a young player — especially quarterbacks — was that they were tough.”

Speaking on what impresses him about the Redskins organization:

“Very clear, immediately, the desire to win...from top to bottom. The competitiveness, from top to bottom... the stakes, the urgency. I think those are all important things that need to start at the top. I think you have to have that sense of urgency every day.” (note from BiB: I hear this comment about “desire to win” and “urgency” from every veteran that the team signs... I seem to remember almost the identical thing from Josh Norman when he signed here. Dan must talk incessantly about winning when he meets them in his office)

“As a quarterback, you’re a reflection of a lot of guys around you. I’m excited about what that means here; going out and being the facilitator... being the guy to distribute the football to all this talent.”

“As a quarterback you certainly watch a lot of film. You get to see a lot of other defenses, but you get to see a lot of other offenses, and certainly from afar, watching everything that’s taken place here over the years, the system, the guys that are here, it looked fun. I wanted to be a part of it.”

“[Vernon Davis] was one of the first guys to reach out when it “unofficially” happened. He’s a great guy; such a great teammate and friend, so I’m looking forward to being around him again.”

“Seeing all the things you get to do [in Jay Gruden’s offense], certainly as a quarterback I feel like I can do a lot. I like that — I like being able to be a ‘Swiss army knife’ and being able to take advantage of a lot of things.”

Asked what he remembered from the game against the Redskins in Arrowhead Stadium last season:

“Staring at Manusky on the opposite sideline.”

“I remember how good they were, playing at that point and healthy, and with everybody going.”

About what keeps him excited after such a long career:

“The challenge [of trying to win a championship] excites me more than ever. That excites me, that challenge. Can we find a way? Can we find a way to come together and get it done?”

“I’m excited about the opportunity, because that’s what it is at this point — an opportunity. I’m excited for that. Now we gotta go do it.”

My impressions of Alex Smith

I didn’t want to, but it’s hard to watch Alex Smith in front of the microphone answering questions and not compare him to Kirk. They’re very similar in many ways. The answers that Alex gave were pretty much exactly the same sorts of answers we heard from Kirk, including the choice of wording at times (being the “facilitator” and “distributor” on offense).

That said, Alex didn’t look as comfortable in front of the microphone. Part of that is simply that Kirk was so very good at press conferences, but beyond that — although we’ve all known for a month or more that this was going to happen — the anti-tampering rules and CBA restrictions on off-season contact have meant, I think, that Smith really just got to meet his new employers the day of the press conference.

Reporters were asking him questions that seemed to assume facts not in evidence, and I got the feeling that at times Alex was squirming to find a way to talk knowledgeably and positively about a group of people that he’d only just met. He often looked uncomfortable.

From the head nods given by both Doug Williams and Alex Smith, it was clear that Paul Richardson was present at the press conference. Smith only really lit up with enthusiasm 3 times while he was answering questions. Once was when he talked about getting to work with Richardson, who was right there. A second was when he mentioned Greg Manusky, who used to coach with Smith’s team in the past. The third time was talking about Vernon Davis, who was on the receiving end of so many Smith passes in San Francisco.

Alex Smith looked like a guy thrust in the spotlight in a strange place and being asked to play the gracious host. I suspect he’ll appear much more confident and at ease when he appears before the cameras post-game in 2018. He certainly mentioned that he looked forward to getting out of his suit and onto the practice and playing fields.

He did, at least, look much more dapper in his grey suit and crisp white shirt than Kirk did wearing a bright purple and gold striped tie over a white & purple shirt at his introductory press conference in Minnesota.

All in all, I liked what I heard from Alex Smith at the podium, especially his repeated references to having to prove everything on the field. I have read an awful lot of the Arrowhead Pride website, and it’s clear that the KC fans see Alex as a great teammate, leader and professional capable of leading a locker room.

Click here for a much video of a much more relaxed Alex Smith talking about being a Redskin

I look forward to the coming off season, regular season and post season with Alex Smith in charge of the offense on the field.

Poll

With Alex Smith at the helm, can the Redskins get off to a fast start by winning their opening game of the regular season?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    yes
    (213 votes)
  • 1%
    no
    (5 votes)
  • 30%
    let’s see the schedule before I answer that
    (95 votes)
313 votes total Vote Now

Poll

On a scale from 0 - 5 where 5 is "absolutely freaking thrilled" and zero is "angry and resentful", how do you feel about Paul Richardson becoming a Redskin?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    5
    (99 votes)
  • 49%
    4
    (148 votes)
  • 16%
    3
    (49 votes)
  • 1%
    2
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    0
    (1 vote)
302 votes total Vote Now