Alex Smith has started 166 NFL games, and if Washington's quarterback is up to the challenge Sunday night, Ron Rivera will put the veteran on the field once more even if he doesn't practice this week. 

"I still believe that veteran players, specific guys like him, are the kind of guys that can watch, they can absorb, they can get it and then they can go out and play and play well," Rivera said Wednesday. 

Rivera's message is clear - Smith does not need to practice this week to start for Washington Sunday night. The coach first made that statement after Smith suffered the calf injury three weeks ago against the 49ers. 

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While Smith has since missed two starts - and two losses - Rivera knows the QB will be ready to roll if he's medically cleared. 

"I'm not worried about that."

In Smith's starts this season Washington has gone 4-1, and in the last two games he's missed with the calf injury, Washington has lost both and averaged about 10 points-per-game. 

Still, it hardly seems like a lock Washington will get Smith back for the division title game on Sunday night in Philadelphia. He didn't practice on Wednesday and Washington gave backup QB Taylor Heinicke all the first-team reps.