On April 26, the Washington Redskins will draft a quarterback, and Coach Mike Shanahan has said that he is open to starting that rookie from Day One.
The Redskins will pair that player – expected to be Baylor’s Robert Griffin III – with a veteran wide receiving corps. Although the quarterback will have to endure a learning process and the receivers must acclimate themselves to that passer, success can be had, according to Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith.
Last season, Smith found himself in the same position when the Carolina Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall and started him immediately. Newton went on to have a Pro Bowl season, and Smith wound up having one of the most prolific seasons of his 11-year career.
Smith, while making an appearance on the NFL Network on Tuesday night, was asked what advice he could offer Redskins players as they prepare for life with a rookie quarterback. Smith said having an open mind is key.
“The one thing that helped me was, ‘Don’t think about what I can teach [Newton],’ ” Smith said. “Really [it was], ‘What I can learn from Cam?’ With a young guy with a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective, being at the college level coming into an organization he knows nothing about, the things he sees and observes is totally different from me because I’m a little skewed because of how long I’ve been here. It was refreshing having a new set of eyes in there. I learned a lot from him and continue to learn a lot from him as well.”
Smith recorded 79 catches for 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The Panthers won only six games in Newton’s first season, but the team boasted impressive offensive numbers, ranking fifth in scoring (25.4 points a game) and seventh in the NFL in total offense (389.8 ypg), which indicates that they began laying the foundation for success should Newton continue to improve.
The Redskins hope the addition of Griffin leads to similar success.
Said wide receiver Anthony Armstrong on the day after Washington pulled off the trade for the No. 2 pick: “If everybody can step up and do their jobs, it eases pressure on him, maybe he can have a Cam Newton-type impact coupled with some more wins and we can start something special.”
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