Washington’s playoff hopes depend entirely on regaining Alex Smith’s stable hand. – NFL Sports

Smith, as Pederson said, is definitely not flashy.

Still what? Pederson spent most of his playing career backing up Brett Favre. Brett Favre was definitely flashy, but he also knew how to win the game. Too often, Pederson seemed to imply that the flashy numbers were a chain of flashy numbers scattered across the stats sheet, implying that the rankings had no meaning.

Pederson said, “300 yards here and there, you lose the game. [Smith’s] I’m not going to do that. “

That’s why Smith is currently the most important player in Washington, even if Chase Young, Terry McLaughlin (whose injury status is a question mark) or someone else is looking at the field. Smith was a calm island in a year of lasting turmoil, when the coronavirus pandemic lost basic normality every day, the team name disappeared, and coaches fought cancer. That’s why Washington won the NFC East and won one.

Washington desperately needs his sick calf to stop the pain enough for him to play against the Eagles on Sunday night, as even the reduced Smith gives Washington the best chance to play off. That’s why. Mainly because he is not. Mainly because it’s not flashy.

“He will run offenses, be efficient and take shots when they are there,” Pederson said. “It’s okay to throw it flat or to checkdown because he knows he’s playing in front of the chain and staying on the field. That’s the league’s. Because it’s a purpose. It has given him many victories. “

There is no doubt that Smith is the NFL’s best story of the year. There is a miraculous recovery from his horrific right leg injury and 17 surgeries to get rid of the infection that almost killed him. But of the team no longer blinded to his return, the biggest story is to take Washington from the last place to the first place and tell its coach Ron Rivera that it’s relevant. It is a consecutive win of four games that made me declare that there is.

Smith’s calf is the biggest concern that has remained since Rivera’s “related parties” floated in the changing room after four consecutive victories. Without him, Washington seemed to lose and suffered two consecutive losses, including a match against the depleted Carolina Panthers last Sunday. He should play Sunday night in Philadelphia unless he has no reason but to be the most flashy player on the field.

“It’s about controlling the game,” Rivera said on Monday when asked what Smith brought this year.

This is not an easy task. Much is lost in today’s NFL statistics. Smith rarely becomes a 300-yard passerby. He doesn’t throw a lot of touchdown passes. His nickname that follows him from San Francisco to Kansas City and now to Washington is “Captain Checkdown.” It shouldn’t be a compliment.

Still, all these checkdowns are wins. Smith was 4-1 at the start of the fifth inning this year, and the fifth went overtime, if not due to an unconscious penalty when the time was up and a very long field goal for his opponent. .. The successful part of the season, the stretch that made it possible to imagine the postseason, is the part that the team deliberately maneuvered as he wanted.

This is the part that was missing in the last two weeks as Rivera burned the rest of her patience with Dwayne Haskins. If it’s going to win the division championship 7-9, that’s the part Washington has to regain.

“He doesn’t turn the ball over,” Pederson said. “If you don’t turn the ball over, you have a chance to win.”

Despite all its complexity, football remains a simple game. If you don’t deal the ball, you usually win. With these four victories, Smith was intercepted only twice and Washington won each game’s turnover battle. He threw more than 166 yards only once.

Smith said in a weekly video press conference Wednesday that the past two weeks have been “frustrating” for him and he is working hard on a carefully constructed return plan. A plan that demands that he not push himself too fast, patiently and slowly. At the age of 36, this is probably something he can handle, as he was already faced with what felt like an end to his career. Crawling in order for Sunday night in Philadelphia.

When asked what he brought to the team this year, he was silent for a while. These are the questions that he seems to look down on and require him to talk about himself. When he finally spoke, he used phrases such as “keep your end” and “accountable to your teammates, coaches, and everyone in this organization” to influence him. I explained.

“Obviously, quarterbacks and touching the ball take a lot of responsibility for every play, as we all depend on each other, and many people who depend on you to get out there and make good decisions. There is, “he added.

It wasn’t flashy. In fact, it was really boring. Still, that was exactly what his team had to tell him on the last day before the most important match of the strangest and crazy year.

– NFL Sports

Washington’s playoff hopes depend entirely on regaining Alex Smith’s stable hand. Washington’s playoff hopes depend entirely on regaining Alex Smith’s stable hand.

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