Ron Rivera ‘pleasantly surprised’ by Alex Smith’s progress
Alex Smith is staging an improbable and remarkable comeback from a potentially career-ending injury suffered in 2018, and Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera is impressed with how far along the veteran quarterback is in his inspiring recovery.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Rivera indicated he’s “pleasantly surprised” by Smith’s progress.
Ron Rivera on Alex Smith: "He's looked good, he really has. I'll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by how far along he really is. … He's looked really fluid, he really has."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 4, 2020
“He’s looked good, he really has,” Rivera said of Smith, per John Keim of ESPN. “It’s been exciting to watch his progression. He’s looked very fluid. It’s a tribute to who he is, a tribute to his trainers and his doctors to get to where he is today.”
Rivera didn’t stop there, either, as he went on to state he “can envision” a scenario where Smith is involved in an open quarterback competition with Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen.
“The big thing is if he can do the things we need him to do, that he needs to do to help himself on the field,” Rivera said. “He’ll be part of the conversation most definitely. … We’ll see how he is this week.
“It’s a matter of: Can he do the movements he needs to do? Can he protect himself when on the field? He’s going to have to hand the ball off, drop back in the pocket and throw the ball. He’s going to have to escape. We have to make sure he can do those things and protect himself as he plays.”
Smith’s devastating injury occurred when he suffered a spiral and compound fracture to the fibula and tibia in his right leg during a game on Nov. 18, 2018 that without question ranks among the most horrific scenes ever to occur on the field in NFL history.
Despite the optimism, it merits noting that Smith has yet to be cleared by Washington for football activity and was also placed on the physically unable to perform list before training camp. Still, Smith simply being at this point after such a nightmarish injury is nothing short of awe-inspiring.