Ron Rivera 'Pleasantly Surprised' by Alex Smith's Progress in Leg Injury Rehab

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2020

Washington Redskins' Alex Smith before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera is encouraged by what he's seen so far from Alex Smith as the three-time Pro Bowler continues working his way back from a fractured fibula and tibia.

"He's looked good, he really has," Rivera told reporters on Tuesday. "I'll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by how far along he really is. ... He's looked really fluid, he really has."

Rivera's comments echoed a report from NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay on Sunday: "Speaking with sources close to the Washington Football Team, Smith participated in four consecutive days of on-field workouts with trainers and performed well. Perhaps more importantly, Smith suffered no setbacks after the on-field work."

Smith missed the entirety of the 2019 season as he faced an arduous road back from his leg injury. His wife, Elizabeth, spoke to ESPN's Stephania Bell in May and said the quarterback had an injury "more comparable to a military blast injury."

An E60 special, Project 11, shadowed Smith along the recovery. In one clip, the 36-year-old explained the various procedures he had undergone on his right leg.

E60 @E60

When @Redskins QB Alex Smith broke his leg in 2018, no one thought it would take 17 surgeries to fix. Here’s a look at #Project11 https://t.co/lwcj1l0fV6

Perhaps Smith can complete an improbable comeback and make a full return to the field. Washington will be prepared in the event his days as a starting quarterback are over, though.

The team selected Dwayne Haskins 15th overall in the 2019 draft, and Finlay reported he has "impressed the coaching staff this offseason" following a shaky rookie year.

Washington also acquired Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers. Allen made 12 starts for the Panthers in 2019 after replacing Cam Newton.