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Interview: Washington Football QB Alex Smith

Every week All-Pro Reels will bring you day by day coverage of the Washington Football Team through the eyes, ears and lenses of our content creators.

ASHBURN, VA -- December 30, 2020

On how he felt in practice today:

“I felt good today. It was kind of planned as far as what we did and the way we did things, but I felt good out there on my feet. I felt like it was a positive. Obviously, trying to take advantage of as many mental reps as I can. The last couple weeks have been frustrating dealing with something like this. But, yeah, just working through it and continuing to try to get better. Obviously, this week, we’re leaving it all on the line and all the focus with Sunday in mind and trying to make the most out of every second.”

On if he will do anything different in his rehab this week:

“No, I think if anything in a situation like this, just the details get magnified. You just go through things and you try to do every little thing that much better. You try to have the best week of the year and try to have the best Wednesday of the year. You’re not doing anything different or out of the ordinary, you just try to do everything a little bit better, obviously, because everything’s riding on this.”

On if he would watch a movie about his recovery:

“Heck no, I wouldn’t watch it. That’s the last thing—I’m not thinking about that at all. For me—I talk about this a lot and I think our team’s a great example of this—the challenges continue to increase, and this week’s a great example of that. We’ve got another big challenge in front of us. What an awesome opportunity that is. To me, to make the most of the opportunity this week. To have gone back to all of us back in April and to present this, Week 17 with it all on the line, I think everybody would take it across the league. You couldn’t ask for anything better than this. So, definitely making the most of the opportunity right now.”

On if potential inclement weather Sunday night affects his preparation and rehab:

“No. I’m doing everything I can to get it right and be ready to roll. I definitely can’t control the weather. So, for me, not losing sleep over it. You just have to deal with it when you’re out there and prepare the best we can.”

On QB Taylor Heinicke:

“I think he’s fit right in since he’s gotten here, certainly, having experience with [offensive coordinator] Scott [Turner] and having been in the system. I’ve been impressed with how he went out there. To having limited reps since he’s been there and to go out and play the way he did, I thought was really impressive. Certainly, you could see a lot of that play-making ability out there. I was happy for him. He’s been a great addition to the room.”

On how close he was to playing last week:

“Close. I felt really close. Certainly, I got a lot in on Friday. That was my mindset all week that I was trying to be open and honest with everyone in the decision-making process with the coaches, the doctors, the trainers. Everybody kind of had an input. Certainly, myself, being honest with myself on what I could do out there. Really close, though. I guess it’s hard to say other than that. Certainly, right on the doorstep of it.”

On if his soreness last week impacts his optimism to play this week:

“A little bit of both. I do feel like, hopefully, I’ll continue to progress. Hopefully, beyond that, it’ll be better than that. At the same time, I’ll use the progression of this week and see how it goes. Certainly, my focus is on Sunday and doing everything I can to get ready for that.”

On the team releasing QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.:

“Again, obviously, it affects us from the quarterback room perspective. Those are decisions that are way above my paygrade. It’s tough to have much time to reflect at this point of the season. There are obviously huge ramifications this week for the biggest game of the year. Obviously, wishing Dwayne well as he moves forward and his next opportunity. For us right now and where we’re at, just all eyes on this game and doing everything we can to work toward a win.”

On if there is one hurdle he needs to clear in order to play:

“No, I don’t know if there’s any one thing. I’m not sure if it’ll be Saturday morning or when, but there are some things as far as feeling good out there on the field. Moving, obviously, once the bullets are flying and being able to do what’s required of you as a quarterback. I think it’s an all-encompassing kind of thing. I don’t know if there’s any one thing, several though. I’m feeling good about all those things. Once the bullets are flying against any team, especially with a team like this, you have to be able to handle every situation out there.”

On if he had a plan mapped out for rehab this week and his inspirations at the Center for the Intrepid:

“For the first part, yeah, it has been a communication as far as the progression of the week working toward Sunday and what we were looking for each day. For me, it was making the most of today, Wednesday, and what I was able to do out there. Then, obviously, taking advantage when I wasn’t, mentally. Then, as far as my time at CFI, they all were really memorable and life-changing from my first visit. I was still on crutches and a fixator to the last couple when I really got to go down there and train and rehab and work with different people at each visit down there. There were definitely a number of people that left a mark on me and imprinted on where I am, not just service men and women, but certainly the people working down there, the doctors and trainers that have helped me on my visits. It’s hard to name just a few. There were a lot.”

On how his narrative has changed this season:

“I think, hopefully, for me there was a big point where you stop worrying about some of those narratives and really just focus on the journey and getting better and trying to reach your potential not only as a player, but as a team as well. I think I’ve never really thought about that and I’m not thinking about it currently. For me, as a player and especially the game of football, toughness is a part of the game and a really big part of the game. Certainly, I think every player likes to consider themselves tough and able to push themselves and work through injury. But, certainly, there’s a fine line that once you are out there and the whistle blows, this is a resultoriented game and you really have to be accountable to your teammates, to the coaches, to everybody in this building that’s depending on you. There is a fine line between playing through things and being able to go out there. You better be able to perform at the same time. At the end of the day, I don’t think anybody cares what you’re working through. At the end of the day once you step on that field, you better be able to hold up your end.”

On the affect he has on his teammates:

“I don’t pay much attention to that or see it. Certainly, I go about my business and role the best way I can. When you step in the huddle or interactions with guys on the sidelines and in the locker room and stuff like that, for me it’s being authentic and being myself and I guess things that you’ve picked up throughout your career. For me, it’s all about being able to go out there and help us win football games. I’m not thinking about anything else beyond that. Certainly, I think when you are older and have been in some of these situations, there’s a comfort level that maybe you do have that you don’t realize.”

On what he has been able to bring to the team this year:

“Again, obviously, I’m focused on Sunday and doing everything I can for that. Ultimately, when I have opportunities, it’s exactly what I’ve been talking about going out and holding up your end, being accountable to your coaches and teammates and everybody in this organization. We all depend on each other. Obviously, the quarterback touching the ball every play carries a lot of responsibility. A lot of people depend on you to go out there and make good decisions and be accurate with the football. That’s not something that I take lightly at all. For me, it’s a great responsibility and a great challenge.”

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