May 17, 2016, 5:10 AM EDT
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Monday Tuesday, May 17, seven days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.
—The Redskins last played a game 128 days ago. It will be 118 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: OTAs start 7; Redskins training camp starts 72; Preseason opener @ Falcons 86
It takes some players a season or two to understand the level of work it takes to succeed in the NFL. A select few understand right off the bat; many more talented players never get it and either struggle to hang on or end up out of the league altogether.
Preston Smith didn’t get it during a good chunk of his rookie season. Joe Barry gave the team’s second-round pick a while to catch on but he finally had to pull him aside and talk to him.
“He had no clue what it took to be an NFL football player,” Barry said on Inside the Locker Room on ESPN 980. “You’ve got to tell guys. I sat him down and said, ‘If you want to play in this league, the way you’re preparing and the way you’re practicing, you’re not a bad kid, but you won’t last three years in his league if you continue to prepare and if you act the way you act.’”
It took more than one such sit down session for the bulb to go off but eventually it did for the rookie. He racked up six sacks in the Redskins’ last four games including one for a safety against the Packers in the playoff game.
Smith has continued to impress during the offseason. “Even three months [ago], he was here,” said Barry. “He was working, he was grinding, he changed his body, and he changed his mindset on the way he’s approaching everything.”
Scot McCloughan also praised Smith for his work this offseason, particularly in helping the rookie players who have arrived in the last few weeks pointed in the right direction.
It will be fun to see how Smith plays with a full offseason of quality work under his belt. It probably won’t be much fun for opposing quarterbacks.
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