Alex Smith’s right calf remains sore and hasn’t loosened up. Thus according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport , there’s a “real chance” Taylor Heinicke starts at quarterback for the Washington Football Team in Saturday’s wild card playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith wasn’t able to do much this week in practice. As a result, Heinicke took the bulk of practice snaps and is set to go if needed.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera said on Thursday he wished Smith had an extra day for the team to evaluate his calf with the game being on Saturday as opposed to Sunday. Smith is officially listed as questionable for the game.

Smith initially injured the calf Week 14. He missed the following two games before returning in Week 17 to lead Washington to an NFC East-clinching win against the Philadelphia Eagles. However, his lack of mobility was clearly evident in the game.

While his stats haven’t been overwhelming, there’s no question Washington prefers Smith to start against Tampa Bay. Smith is 5-1 as a starter this season. He’s also 11-5 in 16 starts since being traded to Washington in 2018.

Heinicke was signed to Washington’s practice squad on Dec. 8 and was added to the 53-man roster shortly afterwards. He appeared in relief of Dwayne Haskins in the fourth quarter of Week 16’s loss to the Carolina Panthers and looked good. Heinicke was promoted to backup following the release of Haskins.



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