Alex Smith’s status for Sunday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles is still in question, but the Washington quarterback took first-team reps with the offense Thursday in an important step toward being cleared to play.
Washington plans to start Taylor Heinicke at quarterback if Smith is unable to play after releasing former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins earlier this week.
Heinicke, a former undrafted quarterback who Washington signed to its practice squad Dec. 8, has appeared in just eight NFL games in his career but impressed with a pair of fourth-quarter drives last week against the Carolina Panthers.
Smith is dealing with a calf injury he suffered in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. Haskins replaced him midway through that contest and started the last two games before Washington ultimately cut ties with him. The team now has only Smith and Heinicke on the depth chart with former Colorado quarterback Steven Montez on the practice squad as the emergency QB.
Sunday night’s game against the Eagles will decide the NFC East. Washington clinches the division title with a win but a loss would hand the playoff spot over to either the Dallas Cowboys or New York Giants.