Smith is next passer up
Warpath|December 2020
“Every day, I think about the things that he’s done and where he is today. I mean, it’s a heck of a story, but to be honest with you, the thing I’m really pleased with [is] the way he’s played.” – Ron Rivera
Rick Snider

Normally, starting the third quarterback in a season is a bad thing. A street free agent who doesn’t know the system and just trying not to lose games.

This time, Washington may have saved its best for last. After nearly cutting Alex Smith in the preseason over fears he wasn’t physically ready, it’s now giving him the second half of the season to show that just maybe he’s the 2021 starter, too.

With Kyle Allen not ready until next summer after suffering a dislocated ankle and Dwayne Haskins benched after not showing improvement in the season’s first month, Smith is the ultimate survivor.

Two years after nearly losing his life and limb to a broken leg, he appears healthy once more and maybe even a better study of defenses. Smith has lost two close games since returning, but it’s far better than the season’s earlier lopsided losses.

Perhaps his only limitation is being slower to drop back that makes him more susceptible to pass rushers. But given time, Smith is able to pick apart defenses with a high completion rate. Suddenly, the forgotten man could be the main man.

Rivera was non-committal on Nov. 16 after losing at Detroit but wasn’t ruling out Smith’s future with the team, either. Washington has two years left on the passer’s contract. While there’s no guaranteed money remaining that would make him easier to cut, it’s also invaluable to retain him as an option.

“Every day, I think about the things that he’s done and where he is today,” Rivera said. “I mean, it’s a heck of a story, but to be honest with you, the thing I’m really pleased with [is] the way he’s played. When you get that kind of play from the quarterback, it shows the development of the other guys around him. Look at what we’ve seen from Cam Sims, look at what we’re seeing from Isaiah Wright, Antonio Gibson. When good things are happening like that, you’re developing players. That’s the other thing that we have to work on as we go forward is making sure our guys are developing and giving us a chance to compete out there.”

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