Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 3, 23 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
Will Alex Smith pass for over 4,000 yards this season?
Usually, when we break out the $100 in imaginary casino chips here they are spread out over multiple propositions. But nothing says that the chips can’t go on a yes or no question. So let’s put them down on whether or not Alex Smith will surpass 4,000 passing yards in 2018.
Betting tips: Smith surpassed 4,000 yards in the air for the first time in his 12-year NFL career in 2017. He racked up 4,042 yards in 15 games (he sat out Week 17 as the Chiefs rested their starters.) Previously, Smith had not come close to passing for 4,000; his best prior season was 3,502 yards in 2016. It was a significant jump from his average of about 3,400 yards per season he had in his first four years with the Chiefs.
Running the same offense as Smith will be in this year, Kirk Cousins threw for over 4,000 yards in each of the past three seasons with an average of nearly 4,400 per season.
No, $60—Last year just looks like an outlier in Smith’s career. It came in his fifth year in the Andy Reid offense with some impressive weapons like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. While his yardage has been trending up for the last three years, it jumped nearly 15 percent from 2016-2017. That’s a big jump; I’m not a statistician but that seems to be unlikely to repeat.
Plus, if the Redskins can get some traction in the running game with the addition of Derrius Guice, Smith may not get the 550 or so pass attempts he’ll need to get to 4,000. If the Redskins’ defense improves this year, they may be playing from ahead more often and relying on the ground game to run out the clock.
Yes, $40—The main reason that many will cite when they say that Smith won’t reach 4,000 yards is that he won’t have the receiving talent that he did in Kansas City. But consider that Cousins passed for 4,093 yards last year with targets such as an inconsistent Josh Doctson, 33-year-old Vernon Davis, and Ryan Grant, who had nine receptions in 16 games the previous season. Terrell Pryor was ineffective before going on injured reserve and Jordan Reed never really got going before he was put on IR. Getting 4K in the air is possible with a group of weapons that did not keep any opposing defensive coordinator up late while preparing to play the Redskins.
We don’t know if Reed will be available more this year, but there’s a chance. And the addition of Paul Richardson will give Smith the deep target that Cousins lacked last year.
And while Guice may give the ground game a boost, Jay Gruden is still going to try to move the ball primarily through the air. The running game may be humming and Gruden could still have Smith airing it out 35 times a game, giving him plenty of attempts to get to 4,000 yards.
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Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was born on this date in 1990.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 23
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 37
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 60
The Redskins last played a game 184 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 68 days.
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