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Casserly: Alex Smith’s success is ‘fools gold’ and Washington still needs QB

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Washington opened the season with young quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen starting the first eight games before veteran Alex Smith took over as the starter in Week 10.

In three starts, Smith has guided Washington to a 2-1 record and has stabilized the offense.

Head coach Ron Rivera has given Smith significant praise for his play and his leadership, but for former Washington general manager Charley Casserly, the short-term success is not sustainable.  

"I don't think you can sit there and say, 'We're totally comfortable,'" Casserly said. "The long-term answer is not here, and it's fools gold. I don't think they're buying it, what's happening right now, long term." 

Casserly's comments came via The Sports Junkies on 106.7 the Fan on Monday morning and come at an interesting time. 

Washington just played its best game of the season in a 41-16 thrashing of the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and have moved into a tie for first place in the NFC East. 

For Casserly, however, winning a bad division does not mean the QB situation is settled.

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"If they make the playoffs, that's great," he said. "You taught the guys how to win, you have a lot of young players that are playing well right now, that's good. It's important for them to learn how to win and win close games, but you still need to solve the quarterback long-term." 

 

This offseason will be a crucial time for Rivera and the Washington personnel team to make a decision at quarterback. 

Smith remains under contract through the 2022 season with a reasonable price tag for a veteran, but he's also going to be 37 in May. An NFL Network report showed that Rivera wants Smith back next year, but it would surprise nobody if that was partly for his play on the field as well as his ability to help a new QB develop. 

Drafting a quarterback seems highly possible, but if the team continues to win games, it's unclear how that could change draft strategy and position. 

Haskins is also on the roster through 2022, but it seems like his time in Washington will end this offseason. The 15th-overall pick in 2019, Haskins got benched after four games and relegated to third-string. He's now the backup after an injury to Allen.

An offseason trade for Haskins might be the best recipe to move forward. The young QB gets a fresh start, and Rivera can move forward finding the passer he wants long-term for the organization.

Don't count out Allen, even though he's not under contract next season and suffered a serious ankle injury. The staff likes Allen even though most around the NFL view him as a high-end backup.

Looking at this collection of quarterbacks, Casserly's comments makes sense. 

Could a 2020 playoff run change that? Maybe, but Rivera has seemed intent on building a long-term winner. That requires a quarterback in it for the long haul. 

For more interviews, tune into Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.