Alex Smith: 'There’s always going to be naysayers'

Photo credit Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
RICHMOND – Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is so different than predecessors Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III. He doesn't care what you think.

Smith is 34 years old, ancient in NFL years versus Cousins and Griffin that grew up making mistakes before the TV cameras. Smith won't play gotcha games, can't be cornered into roles. Nor will he counterpunch with "fake news."

Fourteen years in the NFL, including three teams and two comebacks, has left Smith confident and cocksure. He's going to be fine no matter what critics say.

"The longer you play the longer you realize there's always going to be naysayers," said Smith as the Redskins opened training camp in Richmond on Thursday. "I mean you're never going to make everybody happy. There's always going to be people that aren't with you. I know that's the nature of the game, that's the nature of sports though to try to expect to please everybody, (making) everybody happy is unrealistic.

"I think you have a better understanding and grasp of what reality is the older you get."

So take that, haters. The civil war of quarterbacks that plagued Redskins fans since Griffin and Cousins' 2012 arrival – and many times since the 1960s – finally has someone that won't be bothered by catcalls. So what if he's the team's oldest player by two years over backup passer Colt McCoy, and a decade older than most Redskins. After a breakout season in Kansas City last year, Smith is looking ahead when many players his age are staring at retirement.

"I still feel like my best football is ahead of me certainly,"he said. "I still feel like I have been ascending. I still feel like I haven't reached my potential, which pushes me (and) challenges me to continue to strive to get better. I still feel like I am a young 34-year-old and I do have a lot of ball ahead of me. I am excited to keep pushing that - push that ceiling. I still feel like I haven't reached it."

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks