The Washington Commanders have a decision to make at quarterback, but coach Ron Rivera still isn’t sure when it should be made.
Rivera said he still isn’t sure if Carson Wentz will be active off injured reserve this week, having missed the last four games with a fractured right ring finger. It was originally thought that the injury would sideline him for four weeks. If so, Wentz could be activated this week.
However, even if he is available, there’s a good chance Washington will stick with his replacement, Taylor Heinicke. Although he lacks Wentz’s size or arm, the Commanders got off to a 3-1 start with Heinicke and pulled off a big upset on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Rivera said he still has to meet with the trainers to discuss Wentz’s situation and then with offensive coordinator Scott Turner and quarterbacks coach Ken Zumpies.
Then, when Rivera decides on a starter, he first meets with the players involved and then informs the team. That won’t happen until Wednesday morning at the earliest.
“You have to look at the momentum and the mood of the team,” Rivera said. “There are a lot of factors.”
Washington acquired Wentz, the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, from the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. The teams swapped second-round draft picks last April, and the Commanders also sent a third-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third in 2023. The latter turns into a second-round choice if Wentz plays 70% of the snaps this season.
Wentz, who started the first six games, fractured his right ring finger on October 13 in a 12–7 victory over the Chicago Bears and was placed on injured reserve.
While the offense remained inconsistent, they led a late drive to clinch a win against the Green Bay Packers and a last-second march to win in Indianapolis in addition to a Monday night upset.
Heinicke has posted a 47.2 quarterback rating in his four starts, compared to Wentz’s 32.4 in six starts. After playing in a different system his previous six seasons, Wentz also had to learn a new offense. This led him to hold the ball longer than usual behind shaky pass protection at times. He was dismissed 23 times.
Rivera said, “You look at what’s best for the team and that’s the way it has to be.” “There’s a great saying, ‘You treat everyone equally, you treat everyone fairly but you treat everyone according to the team. So first the team will be decided. Whoever Will be the starter, I will be fully committed to him.” I don’t want them to be looking over their shoulder.”
But Rivera stopped short, saying that any decision would be for the rest of the season.
After Monday’s victory, Heinicke said he was not worried about any decision.
Heinicke said, “I said back at OTAs that we brought Carson in as a starter. If my number is called, I’ll be ready to go in.” “Whatever decision they want to make, let’s go. If I’m backing Carson next week, great. The biggest thing for me is let’s just win. Let’s keep winning, whether that means playing or No.”
Heinicke enjoys locker room support. They have drawn attention to his underdog story — the former undrafted quarterback who was sleeping on his sister’s couch at this point two years ago before Washington signed him in December 2020. in a 31–23 loss.
Receiver Terry McLaurin said, “He’s been great for us since he’s been here, to be honest.” “He plays without fear, not everything is pretty. He’s going to play with his feet and get tough yards. He’s going to get us in the right situations. You just want a guy like that.” A lot of people want to measure his height, his arm, all those things. You can’t measure what’s inside his chest.”