David Chao, MD: Video From Washington Is Not Good For Smith, Love

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A Washington Football Team staff writer released a limited clip of the first padded practice today and we do not know why.

It could have be a social snafu but, from what I saw, it doesn’t bode well for neither Alex Smith nor Bryce Love. The video shows a markedly underthrown pass from the former and a very slowly run route by the latter.

Now there are the extremely low odds that this was a 3/4 speed drill, but in my two decades with teams, usually when pads come on practice tempo is supposed to be at full speed. Additionally, this was not run against any defenders but if it had been, would have been intercepted — only accentuated the deficiencies.

I will give Smith a break as perhaps he realizes that Love is not as quick as he used to be and adjusted too much thus leading to the late/lazy ball. Unfortunately, this confirms to me that Love is still not back to form.

Analyzing pre-draft video on Love last year, I predicted a medical redshirt and indeed he did not play. 

This new video clip strengthens my suspicions that he is still not back to the college sensation he was at Stanford. Here he is slow of the line of scrimmage, has a hitch in his stride on the right side, makes short choppy steps to compensate for not sticking that right leg in the ground and never demonstrates full motion on his right knee, demonstrating a short stride. Unfortunately for him, he is doubtful to be the go to guy with Derrius Guice gone.

This gives future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson the inside track to open the year as the lead dog. Washington added Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic in the offseason, though neither inspire much confidence.

Antonio Gibson was taken out of Memphis where he produced over 1,100 yards and was versatile out of the backfield in the pass game — a place where Peterson has become almost a non-factor.

We have chronicled that Smith should make the final 53 and should already be given the “Comeback Player of the Year” award. However, there is no way that can ever return to 100%. 

Love has a similar uphill battle.

Fans are used to ACL recovery going smoothly and Peterson’s medical marvel, nine-month return to then rush for over 2,000 yards in 2012 set the standard. However, when return is not smooth, which is the case for Love having missed all of last season, that road often remains rocky. Love still could return to most of his collegiate star form but that is not likely to happen this season.

Typically, when videos are released it accentuates the positive. I appreciate the team giving fans (and me) an inside look. I just am surprised that this video was made public since it shows some deficiencies that I hope both players are able to overcome.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.


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  1. Interesting to hear a medical analysis on someone recovering from major surgery – I hope this is something we can expect to see more often in cases like this – I would never in a million years be able to look at someone and definitively say they’re fully healthy, I guess except in the case of freaks like Peterson. Especially with the aforementioned Smith – we don’t see him really in this play but I’d be very interested to see what you think about his ability to move, which was such a big part of his game, and ability to throw on his miracle-it’s-even-still-attached leg.

  2. I hate to be a Debbie downer about Alex smith’s recovery, but his return and now Love’s too make me think this is an insurance deal.

    Snyder’s salary cap is one pool of money. Snyder’s reimbursement for a catastrophic injury settlement might be another pool. In order for insurance to pay off, the injurwed/insured needs to do everything typical to get back on the field. Even if they fail.

    I wonder if the Redskins are gonna lose more than one year’s worth of games? 😔

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