Alex Smith inches toward participating in 11-on-11 drills

Sport

Washington quarterback Alex Smith is practicing with the team, but he’s not yet participating in 11-on-11 drills. That could change soon.

“Well, we’ll see,” coach Ron Rivera recently told reporters. “I don’t know if you guys saw [on Sunday], but there was a breakdown in the route combination and he tucked the ball and took off running and threw on the run. Those are the kinds of things that we’re looking for. Those are the things that could lead to the next step for him.”

The coaching staff wants to be sure that Smith can move around effectively and protect himself properly before throwing him even more into the fray. Even though quarterbacks aren’t subject to contact during practice, plenty of things continue to happen around the quarterback’s legs. Given that Smith suffered a badly broken leg followed by an infection that nearly claimed the leg and his life, the coaches are taking it slowly.

As a result, it’s keeping Smith from fully and fairly competing for the starting job with Dwayne Haskins, given that the season starts in 20 days. Still, Smith is making a great impression on his teammates.

“It’s incredible,” quarterback Kyle Allen told reporters on Monday regarding Smith’s comeback. “It’s awesome. It’s inspiring to watch. I wasn’t here . . . his first one or two years almost of grinding and seeing him through all the stages. But to see him at the end of the stages and watching his documentary and to see all that he went through and the gruesomeness of the injury and then to see him back out there and have a smile on his face when he takes some reps finally and really see him climb from basically ground zero to all the way up to where he’s close to being where he wants to be. It’s incredible to watch. It’s fun to watch him go out there every day. It’s just pure love of football. It’s really pure.”

For now, it’s still incomplete. Any day now, however, Smith could once again be working in an 11-on-11 setting, setting the stage for possibly playing this year.