Alex Smith’s lingering calf issue has been a cause for concern over the past few weeks. The Washington Football Team made their official decision on the quarterback’s injury status on Saturday afternoon.
The organization has ruled Smith inactive for Washington’s Wild Card matchup with Tampa Bay later tonight. Backup QB Taylor Heinicke will get the start.
Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith is inactive. Taylor Heinicke will start.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2021
You might be thinking: “It’s a playoff game, why can’t he just tough it out?” Besides, Smith has certainly become accustomed to playing under severe pain.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter has the answer. Schefter reports the injury isn’t about pain threshold, but more about functionality. Smith and the WFT both decided that he simply wouldn’t be able to perform if he were to step out on the field tonight.
It’s a functionality issue with Alex Smith and his calf injury, not a pain-tolerance issue. Smith could not function how he nor WFT wanted to be able to start tonight. https://t.co/ETGSScbTxI
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 9, 2021
Without Alex Smith under center this year, Washington is 2-8. With Smith as the starter, they’re 5-2.
After squeaking out a 20-14 win over Philadelphia to clinch the NFC East in Week 17, Washington needs its quarterback now more than ever.
Of the four different quarterbacks that have played this year, Smith has proven himself as far and away the No. 1 available option. Following a horrible Week 16 performance and a refusal to speak to the media, Washington cut its rookie first rounder Dwayne Haskins — leaving Heinicke as the only available backup.
In less than two quarters of play in Week 16, Heinicke threw 12/19 for 137 yards and one touchdown in a comeback attempt against the Panthers.
Hopefully the young QB can keep that momentum up as gets his first starting gig with the WFT tonight.
The Washington-Tampa Bay Wild Card matchup kicks off at 8:15 p.m. E.T.
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