Alex Smith Starting At QB For Washington Football Team?
The idea of Alex Smith starting at quarterback for the Washington Football Team seemed ridiculous just a few months ago.
The organization had invested a first round selection in Dwayne Haskins, and Smith was coming off a devastating injury that almost cost him his leg.
This week, however, new head coach Ron Rivera indicated that Smith stepping in to lead the offense was a very real possibility.
“This could be a very interesting challenge for us because of Alex Smith,” Rivera said.
“If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he’s going to be in the throes of this competition. It’s going to unfold I think very nicely for us as a football team. This competition is only going to make you better, it’s going to push the young guys as well.
“So I just feel really good about what we’re going to be doing as we start going forward. It’ll be a very challenging situation to make sure everybody’s reps are equitable and their competition is the same.”
Ron Rivera on Washington’s QB competition: pic.twitter.com/27Qm9swn6N
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 10, 2020
Alex Smith Has Made A Tremendous Recovery
Smith has made a remarkable recovery over the last couple of years.
Back in November of 2018, he found himself on the wrong end of a terrifying sack from Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt that resulted in a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg.
Comparisons were made to Smith’s injury and the one that caused Joe Theismann to end his career back in 1985.
Shortly after having surgery, Smith suffered life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis and sepsis. Over the course of nine months, he underwent 17 different surgeries. At one point in the process, medical professionals seemed convinced that amputation was the most prudent option.
Somehow, Smith overcame all this.
Over the course of 2019, the former Utah standout pledged that he would continue playing football. It seemed like a ludicrous idea, but Smith refused to quit.
Surely enough, in July of this year he was officially cleared by doctors to resume football activities.
Dwayne Haskins Questions Linger
Smith’s resilience notwithstanding, the other big component at play here is questions about Haskins.
The former Ohio State star showed some glimpses of promise over the course of his limited playing time in 2019-20, but also did nothing to ensure confidence in his long-term viability as a franchise quarterback.
Haskins finished the year with 1,365 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Prior to going down with his injury, Smith recorded 2,180 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.
It could turn out that Haskins will make major strides in his sophomore campaign and render this entire conversation moot. However, there is something to be said for the fact that Rivera, a guy who likes proven veterans, sees a proven veteran quarterback at his disposal with a track record of leading teams successfully.
Anything Can Happen In The NFC East
Above all else, the thing that makes this story most intriguing is the fact that it is taking place in the NFC East – a division essentially begging for someone to step up and take over.
Last season was supposed to be the Dallas Cowboys’ year, but Jason Garrett dysfunction torpedoed that. Now, coming off a career year, Dak Prescott is salty about his contract situation and may regress. Even if he doesn’t, chemistry issues appear inevitable.
The Philadelphia Eagles are very much a question mark after accidentally stumbling into the playoffs in 2019-20 due to Dallas’ missteps. The perpetually-hurt Nick Foles guarantees you never know what the offense will look like from week-to-week.
Joe Judge taking over in the Big Apple means the New York Giants will inevitably have some growing pains as they try to make sense of all their young talent and a new scheme.
So the door is definitely open for Washington, under Rivera’s leadership, to step into the void and make some noise.
Will that involve Smith being the starter, though? Time will tell.