ASHBURN, Va. - As the Washington Football Team rides a two-game winning streak into Pittsburgh on Monday, out of the blue, Kyle Smith's future has taken center stage a couple of time this week.
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With extra time in between games - something that won't be the case next week - coach Ron Rivera was asked on Wednesday by NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey about the relationship between Rivera and his current vice president of player personnel.
“I think it’s pretty good,'' Rivera said. "We work through the things that we need to work through, and that’s probably the biggest thing. If something comes up, we’ll communicate it. If not, there’s not much else to communicate. We’ll just continue to work on the things we’re working on as far as being out there practicing with the guys and we’re getting ready for our next game. Kyle and his guys are watching tape and getting ready for free agency and the draft.”
Nothing to see here right? Unless you take the first part of the answer and want to chop it up. Rivera could have said it's "good,'' "great'' or "awesome'' and he said it's "pretty good.''
“I think he’s done a nice job for us. Again, as we continue to go forward, I think the big thing more so than anything else is we’ve got to make sure we’re all on the same page.”
When Rivera says that they have to make sure "we're all on the same page," - color us conspiracy theorists - that sounds less than ideal.
Maybe it's just Rivera being annoyed at the line of questioning for whatever reason he has. But .... once again, Rivera could have said something glowing and chose not to.
Perhaps we're just parsing here, which is always dangerous.
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Rivera was asked about Smith again by Scott Abraham of ABC-7 on the same day in a one-on-one interview and the answers were less than warm.
When Abraham asked about the relationship between the two, Rivera said "The biggest thing is, we're doing our jobs," which is true and normal.
"Kyle and his guys are doing a good job of keeping everything active," Rivera added while pointing out that they've needed a bunch of bodies shuffled in and out because of injuries.
Abraham dug deeper, asking if the roster management was a tag-team effort or was it actually Smith doing the molding and shaping.
"Well I think the biggest thing is that it's a collaborative effort ... I've said this before, at the end of the day, we want to be able to agree with what we're going to do and how we're going to do it," Rivera said. "We've gotta make sure that everybody is on the same page."
If you're keeping score at home, that's now a couple of times that Rivera has mentioned that everyone has to be on "the same page,'' which leads to wondering if everyone is not.
Abraham wasn't done with the line of questioning. He asked if Smith was on track to be a general manager for the Washington Football Team.
Said Rivera: "I think it's fair to say that everything is being evaluated as we continue to go forward. We still have five weeks left to go in the regular season and then we're going to get into the offseason."
That's a non-answer answer, the way we see it.
Rivera quickly promoted Smith upon arriving in Washington, but then also brought in Eric Stokes, with whom he worked in Charlotte. Stokes was named the director of pro personnel with the Washington Football Team, after Alex Santos and Richard Mann II were fired. Donnie Warren was also brought back home.
Stokes has experience on both the pro and college side in his NFL post-playing career and had a long run with the Seahawks, helping to discover much of their top talent - Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and more.
Stokes ran the college scouting department in Carolina, which is what Smith used to be in charge completely of here in Washington. Stokes was also an assistant general manager in Miami, where he helped oversee both pro and college departments.
It goes without saying that Rivera must be fond of Stokes' work and was confident that they could work together after their first stint in Charlotte.
Smith, meanwhile, is largely credited with the drafting of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to name a few.
Our hunch? Let's keep an eye on this situation moving forward ... because maybe "pretty good'' isn't good enough.