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Redskins coach Jay Gruden says Alex Smith has to win right away

Alex Smith, Redskins

The Washington Redskins had the first major move of the offseason with the decision to trade for Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith to step in as their starter in the wake of the decision to part ways with Kirk Cousins.

This has also put a tremendous amount of expectations internally on Smith to immediately step into the fold and experience success in his new surroundings. It is something that head coach Jay Gruden believes will be crucial for the 34-year-old to latch himself as the long-term piece of the puzzle, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

“One thing about Alex, he is the smartest guy I have ever been around, without a doubt, and he is in great shape,” Smith said. “He can move around and he can handle a lot of different things. We are not in here to build the team around him, the team is built and he has to lead it like right now. This isn’t a two- or three-year process. This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.”

Smith is stepping into a situation where he will be handed the reigns to lead the Redskins offense as has some young and proven talent around him with tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, wide receivers Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson. The team also possesses some promising talent in the backfield with Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson, and rookie Derrius Guice.

He will be charged with leading the charge in making it all work while leading the team to the playoffs, which the franchise hasn’t been in two seasons. Smith has received nothing but praise from his teammates about his control of the offense and performance on the practice field up this point in the offseason.

This is a fresh opportunity for Smith to further show his ability on the field while proving he can be the centerpiece of a playoff team that could experience a deep postseason run in 2018.