As the Redskins move on from a messy divorce with former quarterback Kirk Cousins, new arrival Alex Smith reassured the team that he understood what it was going through. “Healing from separations, especially when the relationship falls apart over multiple years, is always tough,” Smith said after Couch Jay Gruden admitted to checking Facebook to see if Minnesota was making Cousins happier. “I want the team to know that I’m more than happy to take things slow.”

Smith is one of many team members reporting for voluntary offseason activities. “I’m very grateful that the team gave me a whole locker to keep some stuff here. It’s a really important step for us,” Smith revealed as he placed a vase of fresh-cut tulips in the weight room. Later, he remarked on the amount of time he spent on learning the playbook and studying the team’s favorite films. “You better believe I’m going to put in the effort to make this work,” he asserted. “I respect the risk the team took opening up to me, and I don’t want to betray that.”

Moving into Washington will take considerable effort, but also patience. Cousins left behind multiple teammates who may be hesitant to quickly accept a newcomer. Smith acknowledged that he needs to make the time to really connect with all of the team members. “I know I don’t just get handed an authority role people look up to; I have to earn it.”

Smith has been especially careful when easing into the space Cousins left on the field. Cousins competed with a fiery passion, frequently yelling “You like that! YOU LIKE THAT!” at teammates after making big plays. In contrast, Smith’s gentler, conscientious approach was on display after wide receiver Jamison Crowder caught a long touchdown in passing drills. Smith embraced Crowder in the end zone, whispering, “Is that good for you?”