Taylor Heinicke

Atlanta Falcons
Quarterback #8
Atlanta Falcons
Quarterback #8

Taylor Heinicke News

Won't start Sunday

Coach Ron Rivera relayed Wednesday that Sam Howell rather than Heinicke will start Sunday's season finale against the Cowboys, Ben Standig of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Previous reports suggested that Heinicke would draw the starting assignment, with Howell also in line to play. However, Rivera subsequently clarified that the 2022 fifth-rounder will take the first snap for the team Sunday. At 7-8-1, the Commanders have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Jan 4, 2023 10:25 AM EST

Set to reclaim starting role

Heinicke is expected to be named the Commanders' starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Cowboys, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: With Carson Wentz flopping in his return to the starting role in last week's 24-10 loss to the Browns, head coach Ron Rivera looks set to turn the offense back over to Heinicke with little on the line in the season finale for the 7-8-1 Commanders, who have been eliminated from playoff contention. Over his nine starts this season prior to being benched Week 17, Heinicke guided Washington a 5-3-1 record while completing 62.2 percent of his passes for 1,859 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions while adding 96 yards and another score on the ground. According to Fowler, Washington plans to get a look at rookie fifth-round pick Sam Howell at some point during Sunday's game, so Heinicke doesn't look as though he'll be in line to play the full 60 minutes. Meanwhile, Wentz appears likely to be inactive for the contest as Washington's No. 3 quarterback.

Jan 4, 2023 6:17 AM EST

Replaced by Wentz

Carson Wentz will draw the start at quarterback over Heinicke Sunday against the Browns, John Keim of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: With the 7-7-1 Commanders 0-2-1 over their past three games, the team will turn to Wentz, who replaced Heinicke in Saturday's 37-20 loss to the 49ers. Wentz started Washington's first six games of the season before breaking his right ring finger on Oct. 13, and since then Heinicke had started nine games, with the team having gone 5-3-1 overall in that span.

Dec 28, 2022 6:20 AM EST

Benched after two late turnovers

Heinicke completed 13 of 18 pass attempts for 166 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble lost in Saturday's 37-20 loss to the 49ers.

Analysis: Heinicke -- who entered the game already on the hot seat -- was unceremoniously benched in the second half in favor of Carson Wentz (12/16 for 123 yards and a touchdown) after he committed turnovers on consecutive drives. The 29-year-old was actually having a solid game against one of the league's top defenses before unraveling late in the contest. Head coach Ron Rivera said after the game that he will review the game film and decide on his starting quarterback early in Week 17, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. Heinicke wasn't providing eye-opening numbers prior to his recent struggles, so Rivera's decision is unlikely to shake the fantasy waters this late in the campaign. If he sticks with the incumbent, Heinicke will have to deal with Cleveland's dominant edge rusher, Myles Garrett, next Sunday after getting harassed by Nick Bosa in Saturday's loss.

Dec 24, 2022 7:03 PM EST

Remains starter for now

Heinicke remains the Commanders' starting QB ahead of Saturday's game against the 49ers, John Keim of ESPN reports.

Analysis: In the wake of Sunday's 20-12 loss to the Giants, coach Ron Rivera noted that the team plans to stick with Heinicke for now, but added that he'd consider pivoting to Carson Wentz at some point if the team doesn't "get back on track." Wentz, who began the season as the team's starter, suffered a broken right ring finger on Oct. 13 and last suited up for game action in Week 6, but he's back from a stint on IR and suited up in Week 15 as Heinicke's backup.

Dec 19, 2022 2:46 PM EST

Comes up short in SNF loss

Heinicke completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 249 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He rushed three times for 33 yards and lost two fumbles in a 20-12 loss to the Giants.

Analysis: It was an eventful game for Heinicke despite the losing effort and middling fantasy line. The undrafted veteran almost brought his team back late in the fourth quarter on a gutsy scramble that was ultimately stopped one yard short by the Giants' Kayvon Thibodeaux. The latter also stripped Heinicke of the ball for a scoop and score at the end of the first half that changed the tides of this game. On the flip side, the 29-year-old had success taking deeper shots down the field -- particularly on a 61-yard bomb to Jahan Dotson -- resulting in his third-highest passing yardage total through eight starts. Heinicke might find it tough to replicate those big-yardage plays against the Nick Bosa and the 49ers' ferocious pass rush on Saturday.

Dec 18, 2022 10:53 PM EST

Builds up yardage numbers in tie

Heinicke completed 27 of 41 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Commanders' 20-20 tie with the Giants on Sunday. He also rushed twice for six yards and committed two fumbles, losing one.

Analysis: Heinicke brought Commanders back from a touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter, tying the game on a nifty 28-yard touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson on which the receiver made a nifty spin move in the red zone to eventually cross the goal line. However, the fifth-year quarterback's afternoon was not without blemishes, as his early-third-quarter fumble on a sack led to a Giants recovery at the 20-yard line that set up New York's final touchdown of the afternoon. Heinicke also only led the Commanders to 29 yards on eight plays in two overtime possessions, but he put together an impressive day from a fantasy perspective with a season-high yardage tally in addition to his fourth two-touchdown effort of the season. Heinicke and the Commanders now head into a Week 14 bye before a home rematch with the Giants in Week 15.

Dec 4, 2022 2:50 PM EST

Two touchdowns in win

Heinicke completed 14 of 23 passes for 138 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Sunday's 19-13 win over the Falcons.

Analysis: Both Washington and Atlanta were content to rely on their rushing attacks, leaving Heinicke with very limited passing volume. Despite that, he did manage to throw for two touchdowns, which came from 14 and 16 yards away, respectively. When able, Washington will look to continue to limit Heinicke's passing volume, and he's now thrown for 200 or fewer yards in three of his last four games.

Nov 27, 2022 6:42 PM EST

Struggles on the road

Heinicke completed 15 of 27 pass attempts for 191 yards against Houston on Sunday.

Analysis: Washington built a safe lead early in this game and perhaps the resulting lack of urgency had something to do with Heinicke's poor production, but it more so seems like he properly struggled against one of the NFL's weaker defenses, taking six quarterback hits from a non-existent pass rush. The Falcons don't have much of a pass rush, either, so hopefully Heinicke can make a better showing against them in Week 12.

Nov 20, 2022 1:44 PM EST

Wins starting gig going forward

The Commanders are expected to proceed with Heinicke as the starting quarterback to finish the 2022 season, unless his performance necessitates a change, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Heinicke has won three of his four starts this season, with six touchdowns (one rushing) and four interceptions in that span, and it his command of the offense has evidently convinced Washington's coaching staff that the starting job should be his to keep. Even with Carson Wentz (finger) eligible to come off IR and rookie fifth-round pick Sam Howell waiting in the wings, it appears that Heinicke will be able to avoid any sort of quarterback controversy as long as he's able to look the part. Sunday's matchup against the Texans offers the 29-year-old an ideal opportunity to take advantage of a less-than-stellar defense, especially if he can keep up his rapport with top target Terry McLaurin, who has two 100-yard games in Heinicke's four starts.

Nov 20, 2022 3:59 AM EST

Named as Week 11 starter

Heinicke will start Sunday's game in Houston, Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post reports.

Analysis: Carson Wentz (finger) is eligible to return from injured reserve this week, and a recent report from Sam Fortier of The Washington Post suggested the Commanders were preparing Wentz to reclaim the starting role. If that's the case, it apparently won't happen this week, giving Heinicke at least one more chance to make his argument to keep the job.

Nov 16, 2022 2:17 PM EST

Makes case to remain starter

Heinicke completed 17 of 29 passes for 211 yards and one interception in Monday's 32-21 win over the Eagles. He added 10 yards on five rushing attempts.

Analysis: Heinicke's fumble on a strip sack put the Eagles into the red zone less than two minutes into the game, but he recovered nicely and helped the Commanders wear Philadelphia's defense down with methodical drives en route to a 20-14 halftime lead. With Washington clinging to a 23-21 lead early in the fourth, Heinicke committed another costly turnover, throwing an interception in Philadelphia territory, but Washington's defense forced three turnovers after that point to hold on for the win. Heinicke's numbers don't jump off the page, but his ability to minimize mistakes and make throws in big moments has helped him lead the Commanders to a 3-1 record in Carson Wentz's (finger) absence. Wentz will be eligible to return in Week 11 against Houston, but after this signature win, the Commanders could conceivably opt to stick with Heinicke even after Wentz regains health.

Nov 14, 2022 9:24 PM EST

Throws pair of TDs in loss

Heinicke completed 15 of 28 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the Commanders' 20-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. He also rushed four times for 17 yards.

Analysis: Heinicke had a positive impact with touchdown tosses of of 49 and six yards to Curtis Samuel and Dax Milne, respectively, but his fourth-quarter interception could hardly have been more ill-timed. With the Commanders up by seven, Heinicke overthrew Logan Thomas by an appreciable margin midway through the final period, resulting in a Harrison Smith interception that set up a game-tying 12-yard receiving touchdown by Dalvin Cook two plays later. Heinicke does have five touchdown tosses in his first three starts while throwing a pick in each game, and he'll aim to boost his numbers in a tough Week 10 road matchup against the Eagles on Monday night, Nov. 14.

Nov 6, 2022 3:04 PM EST

Leads game-winning drive

Heinicke completed 23 of 31 passes for 279 yards, one touchdown and one interception in Sunday's 17-16 win over the Colts. He added six rushes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Analysis: Heinicke capped an impressive comeback win with a one-yard run off right guard into the end zone late in the fourth quarter to put the Commanders ahead for good. He completed a key 33-yard pass to Terry McLaurin earlier in the drive and peppered his star receiver with deep targets throughout the game -- also connecting for additional gains of 42 and 18 yards. In two games since taking over as the Commanders' starter, Heinicke has combined to complete 43 of 64 passes for 480 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Oct 30, 2022 9:47 PM EST

Throws two TDs to beat Packers

Heinicke completed 20 of 33 passes for 201 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in Sunday's 23-21 win over the Packers. He added two rushing attempts for four yards.

Analysis: Heinicke got off to a dreadful start, completing just one of his first seven passes and throwing a pick-six. He bounced back on the ensuing drive by throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gibson. Later in the first half, another potential pivotal Heinicke error was erased by a penalty, as an illegal contact penalty on the Packers defense negated a Heinicke fumble that was returned for a touchdown. His 37-yard touchdown to Terry McLaurin put Washington up 17-14 in the third quarter and the Commanders led the rest of the way as Heinicke notched a win in his season debut replacing the injured Carson Wentz (finger). Heinicke will look to build on this winning effort in Week 8 against the Colts.

Oct 23, 2022 3:03 PM EST

Confirmed for Week 7 start

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera confirmed that Heinicke will start at quarterback in Sunday's game against the Packers while Carson Wentz (finger) has been ruled out for the contest.

Analysis: Heinicke's appointment to the No. 1 role was fully expected after reports surfaced over the weekend that Wentz fractured the ring finger on his throwing hand during the Commanders' Week 6 win over the Bears last Thursday. Wentz underwent surgery Monday and is expected to be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks, but the Commanders haven't yet moved him to injured reserve, perhaps holding out hope that he may be ready to return as soon as Week 10. Heinicke looks to be in position to start at least the next three games, though if he struggles against Green Bay, the Commanders could be motivated to give rookie fifth-round pick Sam Howell a look.

Oct 18, 2022 9:25 AM EST

Taking over for injured Wentz

Heinicke will bump up to the top of Washington's quarterback depth chart while Carson Wentz recovers from a fractured ring finger on his throwing hand, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Wentz's recovery is expected to take 4-6 weeks.

Analysis: Heinicke will reclaim Washington's starting quarterback job starting with Sunday's game against the Packers. He went 7-8 in that role last season while posting a 20:15 TD:INT.

Oct 17, 2022 11:58 AM EST

Backup role on tap

With Carson Wentz set to be traded from the Colts to the Commanders, Heinicke is in line to serve as Washington's No. 2 QB in 2022, Ben Standig of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Heinicke recorded a 7-8 record in his 15 starts last season after after taking over at QB for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who injured his hip in Week 1. However, based on the team's pending move to trade draft picks for Wentz, Heinicke is now in line to revert to a backup role in 2022.

Mar 9, 2022 1:08 PM EST

Lackluster numbers in finale

Heinicke completed nine of 18 passes for 120 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and rushed twice for three yards in Washington' 22-7 win over the Giants on Sunday. He also committed a fumble that was recovered by the offense.

Analysis: Heinicke finished with absolutely pedestrian numbers, but going up against a Jake Fromm-led Giants squad, they proved to be more than enough. The Old Dominion product also got help from his defense, which recorded a pick-six. Heinicke appeared to be making a strong case to serve as the team's long-term answer under center at one point after taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick (IR-hip) in the opener, but he subsequently introduced plenty of doubt into the equation by throwing for under 200 yards in four of the last five games and also tossing six interceptions in the final six contests as well. Despite the rocky finish to the campaign, Heinicke is on the books for a manageable sub-$3 million figure in 2022, so he'll almost certainly be in the quarterback conversation come training camp while battling a likely offseason addition or two.

Jan 9, 2022 4:18 PM EST

Starting again Sunday

Heinicke will start Sunday's game against the Giants, Matthew Paras of The Washington Times reports.

Analysis: Heinicke struggled once again during Sunday's Week 17 loss to the Eagles and completed 27 of 36 passes for 247 yards, no touchdowns and an interception while rushing twice for 14 yards. He's now thrown at least one interception in each of the last five games, but coach Ron Rivera confirmed Monday that the 28-year-old will remain the starter for Sunday's regular-season finale.

Jan 3, 2022 10:07 AM EST

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