On Monday, Washington coach Ron Rivera told reporters Allen will remain the team’s starting quarterback if he’s healthy enough to play. Allen exited Sunday’s game with an arm injury after taking a hard hit from Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, prompting Rivera to insert Smith for the first time since he suffered a devastating spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg on Nov. 18, 2018.
“We had a good conversation about that. I told him ‘hey, as long as you’re feeling well’ — I know he was pretty sore, he’ll be even more sore today — but as long as you’re feeling well and we’re ready to roll on Wednesday, he’s our starter,” Rivera said of Allen.
Consider it a likely development. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that while Allen remains sore from the shot he took to his non-throwing arm, it’s expected that he’ll be good to go in Week 6 against the Giants, barring a setback.
Allen was relegated to being a spectator for much of Sunday as Smith completed his first pass attempt, a short dump-off to running back J.D. McKissic. The veteran was sacked by Aaron Donald soon after to end the drive but it proved Smith could withstand the physicality of an NFL game.
Other than the heart-warming sight of seeing Smith again in an NFL game less than two years after his gruesome injury and resulting complications nearly cost him his leg, the quarterback was largely average, completing 9 of 17 passes for 37 yards and a passer rating of 58.7 in a rain-soaked affair. With the weather uncooperative and Washington seemingly going nowhere offensively, it’s hard to blame Smith for his pedestrian performance. Washington’s offensive line, which allowed Smith to be sacked six times, didn’t help much, either.
“I spent a little bit of time with him in the locker room,” Rivera said of Smith. “He felt good. I was pleased, I was excited for him. He went out and had a good time. It would’ve been a lot better if we could’ve protected a little bit more. But I thought he handled it well, I thought he made some good decisions. He made quick decisions, got the ball out of his hands.
“It was tough. You’re playing from behind and the other team knows it, they change their approach. That’s tough. I thought he handled it very well. We’ll see how he is. He’s gonna be sore but I bet it’s gonna be a good kind of sore.”
With Washington sitting at 1-4 but still very much in contention in an awful NFC East, Rivera must feel compelled to go with his best option at the position in an attempt to stay in the division race. The coach’s decision to bench Dwayne Haskins means he believes Allen is that option, bringing sense to why he’d again prefer to go back to Allen if he’s healthy enough to play.
For now, Smith’s comeback story stands at his improbable return to the field. We’ll see in the weeks and months ahead if he’ll get another chance to continue his inspiring tale.