Alex Smith removes curtain hiding Washington Commanders ‘turmoil’

Alex Smith removes curtain hiding Washington Commanders ‘turmoil’

April 2, 2022

Only former players like Alex Smith can truly explain how dysfunctional the Washington Commanders franchise is.

Alex Smith may have only been part of the organization for three seasons, but he knows first-hand how truly dysfunctional the Washington Commanders franchise really is.

Smith ended his Hall of Very Good career in the nation’s capital. When he arrived in The DMV, he was fresh off a playoff berth as the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback. Smith left Washington after two name changes and nearly losing his leg in the process. All the while, the organization’s perpetual dysfunction continued to fester, no matter who entered and exited the team’s facility.

Smith spoke with Rich Eisen candidly about what it is like to play in a place like Washington.

“It’s tough. I think you’ve got to try to eliminate the noise there. There’s a lot of noise,” said Smith on The Rich Eisen Show last week. “There’s a lot of distractions — that entire organization, everything surrounding it — and, obviously, deservedly. It’s been flawed the last 20 years. There’s a lot of stuff going on there, a lot of distractions, and it makes it difficult to kind of focus in on the football.”

Washington was once a proud franchise, but has been nothing short of a scandalous hot mess since despised owner Daniel Snyder bought the team at the turn of the century.

Alex Smith describes what it is like to play for dysfunctional Washington

When asked if the chaos from upstairs trickles down into the locker room, Smith offered this.

“How could it not?” replied Smith. “All the stuff there with just the entire organization from ownership down, head coaching and G.M., there’s been historically a lot of drama there. It’s a big market, obviously, the capital and a lot going on, and that organization is a really storied franchise and there’s a lot of turmoil and a lot of distractions.”

He would wrap up by citing these type of distractions to do happen in winning organizations.

“So to say that the stuff going on in the building doesn’t infiltrate the locker room or out on the field would be crazy,” explained Smith. “That’s what happens everywhere. I think that’s what great organizations eliminate and the bad ones have a hard time with. All that noise creeps into the building. Yeah, it does. It does affect the product on the field.”

Smith played for a well-run organization in Kansas City. He also left the San Francisco 49ers better than he found them, if you can believe that. What type of picture Smith is really painting here is this. Winning is hard, but it is even harder when the organizational culture manifests an environment where everybody has to overcome such great adversity just to even get to baseline.

The good news for Washington is they have an excellent head coach in Ron Rivera who has been to a Super Bowl before, a team president in Jason Wright who seems to be about the right things and a talented, but flawed quarterback in Carson Wentz playing with a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. Factor in the NFC East not being very strong, Washington could surprise some people.

Winning fixes everything, but it is hard to win when the franchise’s culture is always on the mend.