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Jay Gruden talks about Alex Smith’s Redskins offense, free agency, and more at the NFL Owners Meetings

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Jay Gruden talks shop in Orlando

Buffalo Bills v Washington Redskins Photo by Larry French/Getty Images

The billionaire’s club of the NFL descended on Orlando, FL this week for the annual owner’s meetings. This week will bring new rules, rule changes, and opportunities for journalists to get a paid vacation to Florida to kick off their Spring.

Redskins Team President Bruce Allen spoke to NBC Washington’s JP Finley yesterday about a number of topics including Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, free agency, draft trades, and the status of the Redskins new stadium.

Today was the coaches breakfast where reporters get to ask a few questions after the first wave of free agency and before next month’s draft. Jay Gruden talked about new Redskins players he expects to step up, the draft, and of course Smith replacing Cousins.

Alex Smith:

“It’s his entire body of work. He’s very good with the intermediate ball. He’s good with the quick game. Obviously he gets the ball out of his hands with the screens and all that stuff. He can run the zone reads, the RPOs, very exciting. The intermediate passes, the deep ball, I mean, and then obviously the ability to ad lib and make plays that aren’t there are exciting – keep plays alive.

“So, really, you know, coaching him I think for the first time will be exciting because I don’t think there’s a limit right now on what he can do. He’s got all the things you want a quarterback to be able to do.”

“I think over time he probably got a little bit better and maybe had a little bit better skill set of guys he could throw to, but the ability has always been there, but I think he’s maybe starting to gain a little bit more confidence in doing it and maybe taking a few more shots as a result of his success. But we’ll wait and see. I don’t have any doubt that Alex can throw the deep ball.”

“Yeah, without a doubt. I don’t want to compare two players, but we’re always trying to be better at every position. We got better. Alex’s experience is well-noted, and his record the last five years is what it is. You could argue that all day, but we feel very good.”

Deep ball:

“He threw deep balls to Travis Kelce, for goodness sakes. Travis is very similar to Josh in that they’ll have a defensive back on them and you’re throwing away from a defensive back, whether it’s back shoulder or over the top or what have you. He’s got that arm talent to throw it to different locations deep.

Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid on Alex Smith:

“You’re talking about the No. 1 ranked quarterback coming out this year, and I don’t think he’s hit the ceiling yet.”

”He’ll be eager to get in there and get Jay’s stuff down. I think he and Jay will hit it off. I have a lot of respect for Jay as an offensive coach, and this is how much respect (general manger Brett Veach) and I had, was to get him in a place where he can win and be with a good offensive line.”

”His ability to change things at the line of scrimmage is phenomenal. You’re not going to run out of gigabytes with the dude. His capacity to learn and still function at a high rate is second to none.”

Johnathan Hankins:

New recovery facility at Redskins Park:

“Our trainer will be here shortly with the final projection and we’ll get it started I think starting Monday. He’s flying up to London – or he’s flying over there – to check out some recovery centers at some of the soccer facilities that they have over there. So we’re adding quite a few things that will hopefully help in the recovery process. Will it cure injuries? A guy getting rolled up on or a shoulder or an Achilles? No. But I think in order to help guys after games recover could be beneficial to everybody. It better be, because it’s quite expensive.”

“There’s a lot of these tanks and things that they’ve been using, some of them, on their own. Now, we’re just trying to have access so they can use them at the facility. Obviously our facility is not gigantic, we can’t add too many of them, but it’s a great start for them.”

Injury updates:

“There is concern, when you have guys coming off of injuries. The big concern is that you want them healthy. Both good guys. They both work extremely hard and they’re both great players. So we got to get them right. I don’t want Trent to go through what he went through last year, he played through a lot of pain and very uncomfortable, and really showed what type of team player, what type of leader he is by trying to do that.

“Morgan did the same thing, both of his ankles were flared up on him pretty good and he came out of multiple games. But still tried to fight through it, and it’s not easy for these guys carrying that much weight that big when you have knees and ankles, but both of them fought through it and hopefully they’ll be back healthy soon.”

“I think he’s had some procedures done on his toes and now it’s just a matter of the rehab and he’s been working hard at it. He’s been working on his upper body while his toe are recovering, so hopefully we’ll see a 100 percent healthy Jordan by training camp.”

New running back:

Kirk Cousins:

Free agency:

“We’re trying to do what we think as an organization is going to make our team better next year. Sometimes you don’t have to go out and sign 35 or 40 guys like certain teams have done. I think we’re able to play a lot of guys last year, we have a lot of guys on our roster that I feel good about, a core group of guys on our team that I feel like can compete. Get those guys ready to go, continue in there developmental process, add some key components in the draft and college free agents. Sprinkle in a few free agents here, from now until training camp and I think we’re ready to compete.”

FA safeties:

“Montae Nicholson’s a great example. We’ve got to get this guy going, we think he’s got a chance to be as good a safety as there is in pro football and pairing him up with D.J. is great. So do we go out and sign a key free agent at safety? And convince him what? That you’re going to be the third safety? That’s hard.”

Defensive depth signings:

“Middle linebacker we’ve got Zach [Brown] and Mason [Foster] we feel good about. Outside backers we feel pretty good about. Getting Jonathan [Allen] back full-time is huge on the inside, and pair him up with Matt [Ioannidis] and the rest of the guys on the inside. So, there are some areas that we can add to our depth, and will, but we feel good about our team and where it is.”

Re-singing Zach Brown and Mason Foster:

Paul Richardson:

Josh Doctson:

“I think Josh will get more opportunities to make plays on 50-50 type balls, which is Josh’s strength. Josh is not a guy who is going to get 5 or 6 yards of separation right away. He’s a guy that builds up his speed. He can adjust to the ball like no other with his 41-inch vertical. That’s where he gets his separation, by leaping and adjusting to the ball.”

Jon Gruden:

Orlando Scandrick:

First round pick:

“Targeting the right guy, the right fit is another story. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do on that.”

“You’re going to get possibly the best corner, possibly the best nose tackle, defensive tackle, possibly the best inside backer, possibly the best receiver on the board, so there’s a lot of different ways we can go and it’s exciting to see how it all pans out, it always is. We’ll get a good player.

Bruce Allen Interview: