Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Washington mulls rotating QBs in wild-card game

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday he is considering rotating quarterbacks in Saturday night’s wild-card game against Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Alex Smith returned from a two-game absence because of a strained calf to lead Washington to a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, clinching the NFC East with a 7-9 record. However, Smith’s mobility appeared limited, leaving Rivera to devise an alternate plan for a matchup with the blitz-happy Buccaneers (11-5).

“We have to definitely look at that,” Rivera said Tuesday. “The truth of the matter is we play a very aggressive defense this week; it’s something we most certainly have to look at.”

Enter Taylor Heinicke, who was signed to Washington’s practice squad on Dec. 8 after a two-year hiatus from the league.

Smith’s calf injury, on the same leg that was seriously injured in 2018, came in a Week 14 victory at San Francisco. Dwayne Haskins started the next two games while Smith recovered, but the team released the former first-round draft pick on Dec. 28.

Heinicke played in Washington’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 27, subbing for a benched Haskins and throwing for 137 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL action since 2018 when he was with the Rivera-coached Panthers.

Rivera said Smith “had his moments” during the Eagles’ game but noted some instances that the veteran would have benefited from better mobility. Heinicke should be better prepared to help the cause after taking 25 snaps against the Panthers.

“We’ll just know as we go through the game and we get in certain situations or circumstances, we may have to consider something like (multiple quarterbacks),” Rivera said. “I can’t tell you what (the deciding factor) would be. It has to be something that comes up in the moment of the game.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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