Ron Rivera “pleasantly surprised” by how far along Alex Smith is

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Alex Smith‘s bid to return to action after 2018’s severe leg fractures moved forward last month when he was cleared for football activities ahead of training camp.

Smith is on the physically unable to perform list at the moment, but Washington head coach Ron Rivera has left the door open for Smith to challenge for the starting quarterback job if he passes his physical at some point this summer. Rivera discussed Smith’s status again on Tuesday and it sounded like things are moving in that direction.

Rivera said Smith “went through all four workout days and had no residual effect” in his leg as a result of that activity.

“He’s looked good, he really has,” Rivera said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. “I’ll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by how far along he really is. . . . He’s looked really fluid, he really has.”

Given Smith’s body of work in the NFL, his grasp of the offense is less of a question than his ability to handle the job physically and protect himself when things break down around him in the pocket. Judging those two things might be easier if the team had preseason games on the docket, but they’ll have to make the call without them this summer.