NFL

Taylor Heinicke will remain the Commanders starting QB

Taylor Heinicke will remain the Commanders starting QB

HOUSTON — The Washington commanders will be attached Taylor Heinicke as their starting pitcher as long as he continues to play well and the team continues to win, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Heinicke helped Washington go 3-1 in place of the injured Carson Wentz and will make his fifth straight start Sunday against the visiting Commanders (5-5). Houston Texans (1-7-1).

Wentz remains on injured reserve after suffering a sprained right ring finger in the Oct. 13 win at Chicago. He was eligible to come off IR this past week, but Washington didn’t feel he was ready.

The Commanders’ surge with Heinicke under center has left the organization with a decision to make, however, when Wentz is activated. Coach Ron Rivera said this past week that he didn’t want to reveal his intentions before talking to the players. A source told ESPN that Wentz has been informed of Heinicke’s decision to stay.

Wentz may return to the starting lineup sooner rather than later, but only if Heinicke and the offensive tackles and the Commanders start losing again.

The current scenario with Heinicke as the starter is what one source predicted a few weeks ago would happen if the Commanders respond well to Heinicke and win.

Washington made a solid investment to acquire Wentz, trading a third-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third-round pick in 2023. Indianapolis Colts. The teams also changed their second-round picks last April. Wentz counts $28.294 million against Washington’s salary cap.

The decision to start Heinicke has implications for Indianapolis’ conditional option. If Wentz plays at least 70% of Washington’s snaps this season, the Commanders would owe the Colts a second-round pick. Wentz has played 59.1% of the team’s offensive plays today. At Washington’s current pace, if Heinicke were to start one more game after Sunday, the Colts would only get a third-round pick.

Wentz threw seven touchdown passes in Washington’s first two games, but the offense struggled in the next four games, scoring just 47 total points over that stretch.

For the season, Wentz has thrown 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions while playing in a new offensive system for the first time in his seven seasons. He was sacked 23 times because of that learning curve, inconsistent pass protection and a loss of mobility from knee and back injuries. Wentz has a 32.5 QBR.

Heinicke, who has spent parts of five seasons in this offense, has been helped by his mobility, as well as his penchant for connecting with the top receiver. Terry McLaurin. In six games with Wentz, McLaurin had 36 targets and 22 receptions; In four games with Heinicke, he has 37 targets and 24 catches.

Heinicke has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions, but has only been sacked nine times in five starts, and has a QBR of 46.6. He’s also become a popular player in the locker room because of his underdog story — a former Old Dominion free agent who slept on his sister’s couch two years ago — and his style of play.

Rivera’s comments on Tuesday foreshadowed that decision.

“You’ve got to look at the momentum and the mood of the team,” Rivera said a day after Heinick helped upset the undefeated. Philadelphia Eagles. “There are many factors.”

NFL Network reported the commanders’ decision to stick with Heinicke.



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