Rivera believes Smith can compete for starting job if progress continues
The Washington Post / Getty

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera "can envision" Alex Smith forcing his way into the competition for the starting quarterback job if the veteran's recovery from a career-threatening leg injury continues to progress, according to ESPN's John Keim.

While Rivera made it clear he is happy with sophomore Dwayne Haskins, who is the favorite to start for the NFC East club, he has been impressed with Smith's work in practice.

"He's looked good, he really has," Rivera said. "It's been exciting to watch his progression. He's looked very fluid. It's a tribute to who he is, a tribute to his trainers and his doctors to get to where he is today."

Smith suffered a broken fibula and tibia in November 2018, and there were fears that his leg would need to be amputated. He underwent 17 surgeries to give himself a chance of resuming his NFL career.

While the 36-year-old received clearance from his surgical team to return to football activities, he began training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Washington needs to grant the quarterback further clearance to ramp up his work, and Rivera cautioned that Smith still needs to prove he's capable of doing everything he'd be required to do in live-game action.

"He'll be part of the conversation most definitely. ... We'll see how he is this week," Rivera said. "It's a matter of: Can he do the movements he needs to do? Can he protect himself when on the field?

"He's going to have to hand the ball off, drop back in the pocket, and throw the ball. He's going to have to escape. We have to make sure he can do those things and protect himself as he plays."

In addition to Haskins and Smith, Washington's quarterback competition would likely include former Carolina Panthers signal-caller Kyle Allen, who was acquired from Rivera's old club this offseason.

Rivera believes Smith can compete for starting job if progress continues
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