Could playing behind Alex Smith mean you’re Super Bowl bound? Well, history would suggest for those that do, it’s as good of a guarantee as you can get.
It’s well documented that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes reaped the benefits of sitting and learning from Smith during his rookie year.
“It gave me a blueprint, and it was something that helped me out a lot early in my career,” Mahomes said in his Super Bowl presser this week in Miami. “Just knowing what film I need to watch on what day and how to go out there and practice the right way.”
But the tutelage goes way beyond reading defenses. Chiefs coach Andy Reid says Mahomes learned how to be a pro by watching Smith.
“How to study, diet, his workout regimen, and how to get family acclimated into the NFL,” Reid said, even joking that "Pat couldn’t pay Alex enough for what he taught him."
Mahomes was quick to agree.
“It was the stuff that takes your whole career to learn, and [Smith] taught me that in my first year and it’s helped me have success at such an early age,” Mahomes said.
The young quarterback was a good student and it’s paid off as he leads the Chiefs to what would be their first Super Bowl win in 50 years and Reid’s first after 211 career wins.
But if you go even further back in Smith's career, you’ll find sending his back-up quarterback to the championship game is old hat. Take his time in San Francisco. Smith was the established starter and the 49ers drafted Colin Kaepernick, who didn’t play until his second season when he took over for an injured Smith in Week 10. Kaepernick famously led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, eventually losing to the Ravens.
Smith then headed to Kansas City where the Chiefs drafted Mahomes. He sat for a year before the team traded Smith to the Redskins. Mahomes was a play away from the Super Bowl in his first year under center and is now on the big stage in just his third season.
And don’t forget about Nick Foles. He spent 2016 sitting behind Smith in Kansas City before Philadelphia signed him in free agency that offseason. The Eagles went on to win it all the following year with Foles named Super Bowl MVP.
None of this is to say if you spend time in the quarterback room with Alex Smith you are destined for the Super Bowl, but maybe he is somewhat of a “quarterback whisperer”? And perhaps that means Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. is next in line. Haskins is all ears when it comes to Smith saying that he’s “a really great voice” to have and is thankful for the help from someone he can relate to.
At the end of the season, Smith was asked what he can offer Haskins despite not being on the playing field because of his own injury.
“It’s not always about the X’s and O’s, but a lot of the extra stuff, dialing in his work week, how he’s preparing himself,” Smith said.
And while Smith made it clear he has every intention of coming back to play once again, he was also open about how that relates to his relationship with Haskins.
“That doesn’t mean I can’t be a good teammate. Those things aren’t exclusive from one another,” Smith said.
And perhaps the best advice? He wants Haskins to lead his own way.
“It’s not like there’s one way,” Smith said. “You’ve got to find what works for you.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS
- QB's impact: How Smith changed Redskins
- Kurt Warner: Where Haskins stands
- The new OC: How Turner will attack defenses