- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2020

ASHBURN, Virginia — Washington ruled out quarterback Alex Smith for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Dwayne Haskins will start in Smith’s place.

The team had hoped Smith could play even without getting practice reps. But Smith’s calf injury, which forced him out of last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, did not progress to the point where he could suit up Sunday.

Coach Ron Rivera said Friday that Smith went through some work on the side and could still feel tightness in his calf. He added the team did not want to risk further hurting Smith and that the quarterback will be reevaluated next week.

Smith’s injury is a tough blow to a Washington team that has won four in a row and is fighting to remain in first place of the NFC East.

Rivera, though, said Washington has confidence in Haskins, who will get his first start since Week 4. Haskins, of course, was benched after four games in which he made repeated mistakes. The coaching staff did not see enough growth in Haskins, a second-year quarterback whose work ethic has been questioned.

Rivera said Haskins has been working hard behind the scenes to improve and has grown.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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