Washington QB Smith practices ahead of big game

  • Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
  • Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith practiced for a second consecutive day, but he is questionable for Sunday’s game at the Philadelphia Eagles.

Washington (6-9) will win the NFC East if it beats the Eagles (4-10-1). Washington has lost two consecutive games with Smith unable to play.

Smith practiced on back-to-back days for the first time since suffering a strained right calf during a Dec. 13 game vs. San Francisco. Last week, Smith did not practice until the Friday before the game; his calf did not respond well the next day, and he missed his second straight game.

Running back Antonio Gibson (turf toe) and receiver Terry McLaurin (high ankle sprain) also are listed as questionable for Sunday. Neither practiced this week, but both did work with trainers off to the side, and coach Ron Rivera said he was “encouraged” by what he saw.

Gibson played last week against Carolina, carrying 10 times for 61 yards, but McLaurin missed the game and hasn’t practiced in two weeks.

On Thursday, Rivera said of Gibson: “Antonio’s fine. You try to be smart with it and try to keep him off of it as much as possible. He gets a lot of reps in the walk-throughs and stuff like that. That’s the important part.”

If Gibson and McLaurin can’t play, it complicates Washington’s situation regardless of Smith’s status.

Rivera said Smith was able to take all the reps they had planned for him Friday. But, Rivera said, another test comes Saturday morning when they see how Smith’s calf has responded to two days work.

“I thought he had a good day,” Rivera said. “He moved around well, he threw well.”

If Smith can’t play, Taylor Heinicke would start. Heinicke relieved Dwayne Haskins in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-13 loss to Carolina. In two drives, Heinicke completed 12-of-19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Haskins was released Monday after struggling on the field and running amiss of COVID protocols off it.

Washington signed Heinicke on Dec. 8 to its practice squad; he has been on the active roster the past two games.

“This league is crazy,” Heinicke said. “You never know what will happen. Alex has been a great guy in the team room and will get me prepared in case I have to play. We’re all ready.”

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