The move came on the heels of Alex Smith sustaining a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg on a sack in the third quarter of Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the Houston Texans.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Smith’s career is not thought to be in jeopardy after the injury.
Colt McCoy entered the game in place of the 34-year-old Smith, who was injured 33 years to the day of former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Theismann, ironically, was in attendance at Sunday’s game.
With Smith sidelined, Washington (6-4) brought in Sanchez, EJ Manuel, T.J. Yates, Kellen Clemens and Josh Johnson for a workout on Monday. Sanchez won the job and will serve as McCoy’s backup as the Redskins face a quick turnaround before Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5).
Sanchez is reunited with Redskins offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, who served as his quarterbacks coach with the New York Jets from 2009-12. He also will get reacquainted with Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who held the same title for three seasons during Sanchez’s time with the Jets.
“We had a workout today; looked pretty good,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “But based on his past experiences with Coach O’Connell and Cavanaugh; he’s won some playoff games, he’s got a lot of experience. I think this time of the year, you need somebody who’s taken some meaningful snaps, a lot of experience; and Mark’s done that.”
The 32-year-old Sanchez served a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs to start the season. He last started a game for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, but served as a backup quarterback in Dallas the following year and in Chicago in 2017.
Sanchez has thrown for 86 touchdowns against 86 interceptions since being selected by the Jets with the fifth overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Washington traded a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs for Smith in January. The Redskins signed Smith to a four-year extension worth up to $94 million with $71 million guaranteed.
Smith has thrown for 2,180 yards and 10 touchdown passes against five interceptions this season.
–RB Adrian Peterson made history again Sunday, scoring twice to move up to sixth all time with 105 career rushing touchdowns. He past former Redskin and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Riggins, who had 104 rushing touchdowns over his 14-year career. Peterson is one touchdown behind Jim Brown, who has 106 career rushing touchdowns. He finished the game with 51 yards rushing on 16 attempts and two touchdowns.
–QB Alex Smith completed 12-of-27 pass attempts for 135 yards before suffering a gruesome leg injury in the third quarter. He was placed on injured reserve Monday.
–QB Colt McCoy saw his first action after Alex Smith left with an injury in the third quarter. McCoy completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 54 yards and one touchdown for a passer rating of 90.3.
–TE Jordan Reed led the Redskins with seven receptions for 71 yards (10.1 avg.) and one touchdown. It was Reed’s first touchdown catch since Week 1.
–QB Mark Sanchez was signed to serve as a backup to Colt McCoy after QB Alex Smith was lost for the year with a right leg injury. Sanchez is reunited with Redskins offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, who served as his quarterbacks coach with the New York Jets from 2009-12. He also will get reacquainted with Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who held the same title for three seasons during Sanchez’s time with the Jets.
–LB Mason Foster had a big game against the Texans. He recorded 10 tackles (nine solo), one interception, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery. Foster has recorded 10 or more tackles in a single game for a career best, six games in a season.
–LB Ryan Kerrigan started his 122nd straight regular-season game, the longest active streak among active NFL linebackers. Kerrigan has not missed a start in his NFL career.