Football Team

Report: Smith's return 'challenging,' Haskins gets starter reps

Football Team

As the Washington Football Team's game against the Carolina Panthers grows closer, there is a feeling that it could be "challenging" for quarterback Alex Smith to play as he continues to deal with a calf injury, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

Schefter added that Haskins was taking the starter reps during Washington's practice on Thursday. NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay noted that Smith was throwing to wide receivers during individual drills, per the team's PR department.

Smith's calf injury began creating problems for the quarterback in Week 14, forcing him to exit the contest against the 49ers. The veteran then sat out Week 15, and while the report doesn't sound too optimistic, Smith said on Wednesday that he is planning to be out there come Sunday.

Should Smith be unable to go, it will be Haskins who starts under center for Washington. The second-year passer who was benched after Week 4 returned to the field as the starter in Week 15. After a sluggish start featuring two interceptions, Haskins rebounded in the second half to nearly lead Washington to a comeback win over the Seahawks.

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The potential for Haskins to once again take the field comes during what has been a turbulent week for the 2019 first-round pick. After photos surfaced of the quarterback partying mask-less over the weekend, Haskins was stripped of his captaincy and fined $40,000 for his actions that violated COVID-19 protocols.

 

Despite putting himself and his teammates in a dangerous situation, Washington plans to keep Haskins on the team and after apologizing to the players in the locker room, his peers are looking to help him learn from his mistakes.

All this comes at a time when Washington is on the brink of a playoff berth. A win on Sunday coupled with a loss by the New York Giants would deliver Washington the NFC East division title.