HOUSTON — The Washington Commanders will stick to Taylor Heinicke as their starting quarterback so long as he continues to play nicely and the crew retains successful, a supply confirmed to ESPN.
Heinicke has helped Washington go 3-1 rather than the injured Carson Wentz and can make his fifth straight begin Sunday when the Commanders (5-5) go to the Houston Texans (1-7-1).
Wentz stays on injured reserve due to a sprained proper ring finger, which he suffered in an Oct. 13 wins at Chicago. He was eligible to come off IR this previous week, however Washington didn’t really feel he was prepared.
The Commanders’ surge with Heinicke below heart has left the group with a choice to make, nonetheless, when Wentz is activated. Coach Ron Rivera mentioned this previous week that he didn’t need to reveal his intentions earlier than speaking to the gamers. A supply advised ESPN that Wentz has been knowledgeable of the choice to stick to Heinicke.
It’s additionally attainable that Wentz returns to the starting lineup sooner reasonably than later — however provided that Heinicke and the offense wrestle and the Commanders begin dropping once more.
The present situation with Heinicke because the starter is what one supply predicted would occur a number of weeks in the past if the Commanders had responded nicely to Heinicke and have been successful.
Washington made a stable funding to purchase Wentz, buying and selling a third-round decide in 2022 and a conditional third-round decide in 2023 to the Indianapolis Colts. The groups additionally swapped second-round picks final April. Wentz counts $28,294 million on Washington’s wage cap.
The choice to begin Heinicke impacts the conditional decide for Indianapolis. If Wentz performs a minimum of 70% of Washington’s snaps this season, the Commanders would owe the Colts a second-round decide. Wentz has at present performed 59.1% of the crew’s offensive performs. At Washington’s present tempo, if Heinicke begins another sport after Sunday, the Colts would solely get a third-round selection.
Wentz threw seven landing passes mixed in Washington’s first two video games, however the offense struggled within the ensuing 4 video games, scoring a complete of simply 47 factors in that stretch.
For the season, Wentz has thrown 10 landing passes and 6 interceptions whereas taking part in in a brand new offensive system for the primary time in his seven seasons. He was sacked 23 instances, a results of that studying curve, inconsistent move safety and a loss in mobility due to knee and again accidents. Wentz has a 32.5 QBR.
Heinicke, who has spent components of 5 seasons on this offense, has helped together with his mobility in addition to his penchant for connecting with prime receiver Terry McLaurin. In six video games with Wentz, McLaurin had 36 targets and 22 receptions; in 4 video games with Heinicke, he has 37 targets and 24 catches.
Heinicke has thrown 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions however has been sacked solely 9 instances in 5 begins, and has a QBR of 46.6. He additionally has turn out to be a well-liked participant within the locker room due to his underdog story — the previous undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion who was sleeping on his sister’s sofa two years in the past — and his go-all-out model of play.
Rivera’s feedback Tuesday foreshadowed this choice.
“You have to take a look at the momentum and what the temper of the crew is,” Rivera mentioned in the future after Heinicke helped upset the beforehand undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. “There are loads of components.”
The NFL Network first reported the Commanders’ choice to stick to Heinicke.