Alex Smith started his first game in nearly two years Sunday, completing 38 of 55 passes for 390 yards in Washington’s narrow 30-27 loss to the Detroit Lions. Even though he didn’t find the end zone, Smith did well to limit turnovers and nearly led a comeback victory after Washington fell behind 24-3.
NBC Sports Washington analyst and former Washington return specialist Brian Mitchell spoke on Washington Football Postgame Live about whether he feels comfortable with the team starting Smith over Dwayne Haskins moving forward.
“I think he showed enough because of the numbers,” Mitchell said. “We heard Ron Rivera talk already. He’s going to talk about the stats, but you know the one stat that really counts is the W column. There was a zero in the W column and an L in the loss column. It’s one more and I think ultimately, yes, he gives you a chance.
“But are you going to have Alex as your quarterback next year? That’s the thing. If they feel that they want him to be the quarterback next year, I understand keep moving forward. But if not, if that’s not in your plans, then you have to start thinking about something else.”
Washington turned to Smith this week after Kyle Allen suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 9 against the New York Giants. Smith entered that game at the end of the first quarter with Washington trailing 10-0. Washington outscored New York 20-13 the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough as the team lost a nail biter there too.
For Mitchell, he wants to see Smith throw the ball downfield more often. According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Smith is tied with Haskins for the fewest average completed air yards in the league this season at 3.8 yards per pass.
“I look at the numbers and all of those different things but for some reason, [Smith] seems to want to dink and dunk,” Mitchell said. “He seems to want to throw the ball short. But when they get behind, yes you throw it down [the field] because now you start being more aggressive as a play-caller and the quarterback has to go with that. But if you start the game off like that — maybe just maybe — I think if he had done it the whole game, I would have a different opinion.”