Are we sticking with Alex Smith, or is it time to go back to Dwayne Haskins and give him another shot? That was the pressing question early on Sunday afternoon when it was clear that Kyle Allen was out for the season, and Smith was currently struggling to get much of anything going in the right direction late in the first half against the New York Giants.
If you took a straw poll of Washington fans at that time, I bet a slim majority would have told you that they’d seen enough, and though they appreciated Smith’s vigor and tenacity, it was time to get the young-gun back in there and see what he’s learned after being benched several weeks ago.
And then the second half happened, and we are now confident enough to say the following: Alex Smith earned the right to start at QB in Washington, for the next few games at least.
After trailing 20-3 at the half, Smith came back in the third quarter and started a comeback attempt that pulled the game to 23-20, throwing for 325 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he also threw three interceptions, two of which were absolute back-breakers that cost Washington the game. However, not every story is Disney-certified, and asking a veteran player who has had almost zero reps with the first-team to be perfect is a bit far-fetched. What we saw from Smith wasn’t enough to make us think that he can lead Washington on a tear of 8 games that has the team running away with the NFC East division title, but he may be good enough to accomplish their realistic goal of getting back into the hunt for a playoff spot by winning a few games over the next month.
So that’s what we’re willing to give him. With games against the Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals, and Dallas Cowboys over the next three weeks, Smith will have every chance to prove whether or not he is the guy to get the job done for Washington this season. If he succeeds, and can at the very least get Washington back to the top of the division by the time December rolls around, outstanding — take the keys for the rest of the season and show us what you’ve got. If not? Oh well, thanks for trying — the playoffs were a lofty goal anyway.
If the latter is the case, it should absolutely be Dwayne Haskins who gets the nod at QB1 going forward, giving him a chance to get back into the good graces of the fans and the coaching staff after being effectively put in timeout after his three interceptions in Week 4 against the Cleveland Browns. If Haskins proves that he’s grown and can be a decent NFL QB, Washington may have their answer at the position going forward; if not, then they’ll likely be in a prime position to draft a new one in April.
We often want to dictate every little thing when it comes to the QB situation in Washington, and rightfully so. After years without a solid answer, it becomes exhausting to watch the carousel spin round and round, without success being one of the stops. This time, however, I have a feeling that it’s largely going to work itself out.
If Smith is good enough to win, he’ll prove it — if not, give Haskins a shot. If Haskins is good enough to earn a look going forward, he’ll prove it — if not, you’re likely going to be in a spot to draft a guy and start this whole circus over once again.