Redskins react to Alex Smith’s season ending injury
LANDOVER Before Alex Smith was fully carted off the field in Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the Houston Texans, the Redskins quarterback pressed his palms together and thanked the FedEx Field crowd.
At that moment with an air cast around his leg Smith likely knew his season was over.
Coach Jay Gruden confirmed the news afterward: Smith suffered a fractured tibia and fibula Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. The 34-year-old will undergo surgery “right away,” Gruden said.
Smith broke his right leg after he was sacked in the third quarter by J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson. Immediately following the hit, the quarterback remained on the ground with his hands over his face.
“Your heart drops when something like that happens,” running back Adrian Peterson said.
The horrific injury was reminiscent of Joe Theismann’s broken leg against the New York Giants, which, coincidentally, happened 33 years to the day. The Redskins also lost that game by the same score.
This wasn’t the outcome the Redskins envisioned when they dealt a third-round pick and promising corner Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason for Smith. Washington viewed Smith as the perfect quarterback to lead them after the Kirk Cousins era.
Washington still holds a one-game lead in the NFC East over the Dallas Cowboys, who the Redskins face on a short turnaround on Thanksgiving next Thursday.
They’ll do so with quarterback Colt McCoy, who has been with Washington since 2014. Against the Texans, McCoy finished with 54 yards and a touchdown, while completing 50 percent of his passes.
“I feel very confident in Colt McCoy as our starting quarterback,” Gruden said. “Always been a big fan of his, but I just wish there were different circumstances, so to speak.”
Still, Smith’s injury could be hard to overcome.
While the quarterback had yet to have a dominant passing performance, the Redskins valued his ability to take care of the football. Though he threw two interceptions including a pick-six against the Texans, Washington entered the afternoon with a third-best +11 turnover differential, which Gruden cited as a key to why the team had been 6-3.
In nine games, Smith had 2,045 yards, ten touchdowns and three interceptions.
Tight end Vernon Davis said he wondered why it couldn’t have been him hurt instead.
“Because I played with him so long ... to see him go down and suffer is like, ‘Why not me?’” Davis said. “Maybe I should suffer and let him continue out there and do his job and help the team win, because I know how bad he wants it.”
Gruden said the Redskins, who dont have a third quarterback on the roster, will look at several candidates Monday and plan to sign another quarterback this week.Had McCoy also gone down, rookie wide receiver Trey Quinn was set to be the emergency signal-caller. Washington will sign at least one before Thursday’s matchup with the Cowboys.
According to the NFL Network, EJ Manuel, Kellen Clemens, Mark Sanchez and TJ Yates will be among the quarterbacks the Redskins work out.
McCoy, though, will be the one at the helm, responsible for leading the Redskins to the postseason. Gruden said the offense won’t change with the veteran, given the familiarity between the two.
“My approach has always been the same,” McCoy said. “If I’m called upon to play inside of those white lines, give my team the best opportunity to win the game. I think as long as I approach it that way, things will happen like they’re supposed to.”
As for the division race, Peterson said to not count the Redskins out.
“This whole season, we’ve been about us and overcoming adversity,” Peterson said. People can say what they want to say, but at the end of the day, when we step on the field, we’re working to get a ‘W.’ Period.”