RICHMOND—Last year in a Week 4 Monday night game, the Redskins were tied with the Chiefs in the late going. From his own 29 with 42 seconds left, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith couldn’t find a target, scrambled to his right, and found Albert Wilson for 37 yards into Washington territory. Three plays later a 43-yard field goal with four seconds left gave the Chiefs the win. 

Smith’s mobility is one of the things that attracted the Redskins to him. But he doesn’t have to scramble out of the pocket for his mobility to be effective. Sometimes it just takes a few steps to make a big difference in the outcome of the play. 

During 11 on 11 drills on Friday, Smith dropped straight back to pass. He didn’t have a target and some pass rush started to develop up the middle. Keeping his eyes downfield, he shuffled a few steps to his left. That bought some time for Josh Doctson to get some separation over the middle. Smith quickly spotted him and fired the ball in to the receiver over the middle. It was not good for a huge gain, just about 10 yards. They didn’t have the chains out, but it probably would have been a first down. It wasn’t a big play but put into the context of a game it could have been an important play. 

A big scramble like the one he did late against the Redskins or plays where he takes off and runs tend to draw more attention. Last year Smith had runs of 70 and 37 yards and a total of 11 runs of 10 yards or more. Those are the plays that make fans say, wow, he can move. 


But those plays are relatively few and far between. The subtler adjustments like when he shuffled a few steps to his left to throw to Doctson might be needed once or twice during a possession. They don’t get into the stats and they don’t make the SportsCenter highlights. But they move the sticks and keep drives alive and over the course of the season that adds up to a lot of impact. 



Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,, follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS, and check out his Instagram @RichTandler