The Washington Post

Willie Smith encouraged by showing against Jason Pierre-Paul

Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman praised the performance of his offensive line, which turned in a solid effort in pass protection Sunday, holding a dominant Giants defensive front to just one sack.

New York defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul entered Sunday’s game with 12.5 sacks (fifth in the NFL), but recorded only one sack on Grossman going against undrafted rookie left tackle Willie Smith. Pierre-Paul recorded three hits on Grossman and also had a team-high 16 tackles.

Willie Smith (69) warms up on a cold morning before Sunday’s game against the New York Giants (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

“I fell like I did a good job,” said the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Smith, whom Washington signed this summer as a free agent out of East Carolina. “I did a lot of film study this week and pretty much knew what he was going to do out there. I just tried to compete at the highest level and I think I did a pretty good job out there. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel like I keep getting better week by week.”

Smith said the key to fending off Pierre-Paul was not letting him get past him on the left edge. Smith tried to sell the inside to Pierre-Paul, and then worked to block him into the congestion toward the middle of the line.

“I just knew like if you open him a little bit, he’ll take the inside,” Smith said. “I kind of watched him down, and that helped me out a little bit. It definitely boosts your confidence, but you know what, week by week, you’re going to face great guys. I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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