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Haskins gets 1st team reps as Smith rests leg ahead of Sunday’s game; no clear decision on starter yet

Washington Football Team v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After Sunday’s victory over the 49ers, head coach Ron Rivera expressed little concern over Alex Smith’s calf injury and full confidence in Dwayne Haskins’ ability and readiness to play if needed.

Reports on Monday and Tuesday indicated that the coaches would know more after seeing Alex at Wednesday’s practice, but that the priority was likely to be on Smith resting the leg this week rather than taking reps ahead of the Seahawks game scheduled for 1:00 pm Sunday at FedEx Field.

There were apparently no surprises on Wednesday, as Haskins reportedly took first team reps and Smith rested. QB Alex Smith said his right calf strain was unrelated to his previous major injury to the leg. Smith called it “a freak thing” that was minor the week before and it became a bigger problem vs SF.

“It was something that was very minor that week. I practiced and it was something that was good all week. For me, it was there a little bit but certainly not inhibiting me all week. Then during the game, very quickly it got worse to the point where it was really, really affecting my ability dropping back and being able to decelerate and push off. I felt like it was affecting me a ton, especially those last several drives battling with that for me, mentally, how much it was affecting me and limiting me out there.”

Alex said that the calf strain had nothing to do with the unique circumstances surrounding his reconstructed right leg, “I think it’d be the same situation to answer your question if I had a completely normal leg. But obviously with everything that’s happened, with the anatomy the doctors and physicians certainly go through all their checks. But everything looks great.”

With respect to whether he will be ready to play against Seattle, Smith said, “It would be ridiculous for me to try to say right now, especially with the type of injury it is. There are several days right here to see how this goes. A lot can change day-to-day.”

Smith added, “I feel alright. ... It’s early in the week, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Since taking over as the starter in Week 9 following the injury to Kyle Allen, Smith’s steady hand and leadership, along with the emergence of the defensive line group, have been credited with being integral the team’s success.

With an important game against Seattle coming up with huge playoff implications, this week doesn’t seem to be the ideal time to change horses and return to Haskins as the starter, though Coach Rivera was clear that he had full confidence in the young quarterback, saying on Wednesday, “He’s done exactly what he’s needed to do today. It was a good day.”