Why Dan Orlovsky is pulling for Washington to win NFC East originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
If you've followed the Washington Football Team this season, the quarterback drama has been a constant during a season that's provided plenty of unprecedented challenges.
That QB drama ended on Monday when Washington released Dwayne Haskins a year after selecting him 15th overall in the draft. The decision came after Haskins broke the league's COVID protocols by partying without a mask, then playing poorly in the Burgundy and Gold's loss to the Panthers on Sunday.
"The only reason Washington has to win this week is because they've had a child playing quarterback over the last two weeks," ESPN's Dan Orlovsky said on "Get Up!" "I'm going to pull for the Washington Football Team because I believe in Alex Smith, and I want that storyline."
While the Haskins saga showcases the shortcomings of a young quarterback and his on- and off-the-field decision-making, as well as the shortcoming of the team's front office during the Jay Gruden era, Smith's comeback story would put a totally different tone on Washington's 2020 season.
From 17 surgeries during almost two years of rehabilitation to being the key difference in helping your team to the playoffs, it would be quite the story for Smith. If he hasn't locked in the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award already, he has the opportunity to do so this Sunday.
"Yes, this division is bad," Orlovsky said. "But I will believe in and trust Alex Smith if he's healthy."
Orlovsky's fellow "Get Up!" analyst Ryan Clark said he believes whoever wins the NFC East will get clobbered in the NFC Wild Card round, and he doesn't know who will come out on top. There is one thing Clark is sure of, though.
"We thought we had something with the Washington Football Team," Clark said. "Then, Alex Smith gets hurt and you realize how important he was to that team, and if he doesn't play next week, they can't win."
Rex Ryan, on the other hand, thinks spite might come into play rather than pride in deciding the winner of the worst division in football.
"There's no way in hell Philadelphia is going to let Dallas win this division. There's no way," Ryan said of the Eagles, who welcome Washington on Sunday night. "There's no chance in this because Washington is going to win this thing, because (Philadelphia is) going to give it up, and there's no way they're beating Washington."