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Alex Smith will not play in Wild Card round

Washington’s backup QB will get the start in Wild Card round

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday update: Alex Smith is inactive for the first round of the playoffs, per Adam Schefter. Taylor Heinicke will get the start.

Thursday PM update: Alex Smith is listed as questionable. Ron Rivera said that Taylor Heinicke took the bulk of the reps in practice on Thursday and that Smith is “a little bit sore,” per Nicki Jhabvala. Rivera also said he wishes they had an extra day for Smith to heal.

Wednesday PM update: Smith got in a limited practice. Heinecke got first team reps while media members were able to watch, but they are likely giving Smith as much rest as possible, much like they did last week.

Wednesday update: Heineke saw first team reps to start Washington’s practice on Wednesday, per Nicki Jhabvala. With Rivera saying both could see time against the Buccaneers, we really are going to have trouble predicting what happens at quarterback for the Football Team.

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera says that they may need to rotate Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke depending on Smith’s health heading into the game against the Bucs, per team reporter Nicki Jhabvala.

Heinicke played well enough in relief two weeks ago to be considered on par with Smith, especially at less than 100 percent. Smith didn’t look comfortable against the Eagles, as he threw two interceptions and dinked and dunked to just 5.1 yards per attempt.

Rivera will likely have a quicker trigger finger this week in the playoff game against the Buccaneers and he’s laying the groundwork to pull Smith if he isn’t effective. They also are facing an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that ranks fifth in blitz percentage. If Smith can’t avoid the pass rush, they won’t have much of a chance.

Against the Panthers we saw Heinicke take off three times for 22 rushing yards, so there is an obvious element that Smith doesn’t have right now. We could even see Rivera end up going with Heinicke as the starter.