Russell: Alex Smith's been impressing Washington coaches in practice


Midway through the 2020 season, which of the Washington Football Team's backup quarterbacks has the edge, in the event that starter Kyle Allen couldn't go one week, for whatever reason?

While it's a given Washington would turn to Alex Smith, the only other quarterback dressed, in a pinch, it remains to be seen what they'd do if they were suddenly forced to make a decision at quarterback for multiple weeks. Chris Russell tells The Sports Junkies he believes Smith still maintains an edge over Dwayne Haskins, who was benched in Week 5, even after Smith's lone, miserable performance this season against the Rams.

"We saw Alex. Everyone in the country's rooting for Alex, but he's shot at this point," said Junkies host Eric Bickel, setting up a hypothetical in which Washington would be forced to turn to Dwayne Haskins, in the event that Kyle Allen potentially became unavailable to play. "You can't start Alex Smith. I've already determined that."

"They believe differently, though," Russell said. "They believe that Alex has really shown them something in practice."

"Like in the last couple weeks they think that?" Bickel asked. "I mean, he couldn't move! He couldn't get out of the way."

"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," Russell said. "They were even saying that right after that game."

"They were impressed?" Bickel said in disbelief.

"Yes," Russell said. "I mean, now, we can't see it, because we're only allowed out there for 10 or 15 minutes, so it's impossible to see, but that's what they all say, and some of the players have said it as well."

"So they don't think he's too slow?" Bickel said. "Maybe it's just because the Rams were so dominant, and they just dominated us at the line of scrimmage."

Smith was pressured relentlessly in Washington's Week 5 loss to the Rams, Smith's first game back since suffering his horrific leg injury in 2018, taking six sacks in the process, en route to passing for just 37 yards on the day.

"That's part of it," Russell agreed. "Plus a monsoon of rain, and they were trying to get rid of the football as quickly as they could, because they knew they couldn't block up Aaron Donald. Not only they couldn't block up Aaron Donald, they couldn't block up anybody. I mean they had some third-string linebacker that had three sacks. He hadn't had a sack in 20 games. I mean, they couldn't block anybody. So I don't know if we should just judge Alex Smith just based on that.

"Listen, I'm not telling you that if Alex Smith has gotta play a bunch this year, that they're in a good spot. Obviously Kyle Allen gives them their best shot, but I think the shelf life based on probably Kyle Allen is, I would say, a short shelf life."

Russell went on to say that if Smith ends up playing a significant amount of time in 2020, it's either because Allen was injured or played himself out of the starting role.

"If you're on your third quarterback, are you really gonna win a lot of games at this point?" he said. "Probably not. I mean we all know that this team doesn't have their quarterback of the future, so I guess the one good thing about getting to Alex Smith is you'd probably — by process of elimination — assure yourself: A) of a better draft pick, and; B) of the reality that you know you need a quarterback, in a pretty good draft, on the surface, coming up for quarterbacks."

The conversation picks up at the 5:45 mark below.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images