A two-quarterback system might make an appearance on Super Wild Card Weekend.
Washington coach Ron Rivera told reporters Tuesday his staff will “definitely have to look at” rotating his two quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke, because of Smith’s calf strain, per NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay. Rivera also made it clear he’s not saying Washington certainly will split time between the two signal-callers, but will consider it.
Smith managed to return from the injury to play in Week 17’s division title-winning victory, completing 22 of 32 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions in the narrow triumph. With Smith needing to rely on his right calf as part of the leg he uses to plant and drive when throwing the ball, the injury becomes more significant to his ability to play effectively.
Smith’s movement was limited by the calf injury in Sunday night’s win, in which the quarterback got off to a strong start with a touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin and threw another touchdown to Logan Thomas, but was also part of an offense that struggled to the finish line in a six-point victory.
“I thought he had his moments,” Rivera said of Smith, via the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. “That first drive was what we were looking for. … As long as he’s performing and doing the things to help us, we’ll keep rolling.”
Should the injury further limit Smith, Rivera might be forced to turn to Heinicke, who provided Washington with a spark in relief duty, completing 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a 29-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic in a Week 16 loss to Carolina.
Washington will have little room for error against a Buccaneers team that is firing on all cylinders offensively, scoring 31 or more points in each of its last three wins, including two 44-plus-point performances in the past two weeks. Adjusting on the fly might be vital if Washington hopes to score an upset win on Super Wild Card Weekend.