Washington Football Team: Taylor Heinicke, it’s time to put up your Dukes

Washington QB Taylor Heinicke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Washington QB Taylor Heinicke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Once again, for the fourth consecutive season, the Washington Football Team is now starting multiple quarterbacks. In 2018 and 2020, Washington started three different quarterbacks. In 2019, Washington again started three different quarterbacks. Now this season, fan-favorite Taylor Heinicke appears destined to see multiple starts in 2021.

Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of a significant hip injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now, Washington once again finds itsself in quarterback limbo. Against Chargers in a relief effort, Taylor Heinicke provided Washington’s offense with a spark. Although he had two errant throws in his first possession, Heinicke settled down as he ended the game 11-15 with 122 passing yards and a touchdown.

His 37-yard completion to Terry McLaurin electrified the offense on the opening possession of the second half. On the very next play, Taylor Heinicke threw his lone touchdown pass to Logan Thomas. Since his arrival in Washington, Heinicke has shown the ability to lift Washington’s offense. On Sunday, that was no different.

Now, the Old Dominion product is preparing for his first start regular season start with the Washington Football Team, as they look to avoid an 0-2 start versus the New York Giants on Thursday night.

“Big Blue” was dominated by the Denver Broncos 27-13 at home in their season opener. Veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had an efficient outing against a solid Giants secondary, going 28-36 with 264 yards, and two touchdowns. However, New York has owned the WFT as of late winning the past four games, sweeping the season series the past two years.

The last time Washington defeated the Giants, they still went by their old name, Adrian Peterson turned the clock back five years, and Eli Manning was the starting quarterback.

Despite a poor outing vs Bridgewater and the Broncos offense, the Giants’ defense still has the pieces to make it a long night for Taylor Heinicke and Washington’s offense. Leonard Williams remains a force upfront. In two games versus the WFT in 2020, Williams notched 13 tackles, two sacks, and eight quarterback hits. New York’s defense also accounted for seven turnovers in both games versus Washington.

Jabrill Peppers had accounted for an interception and fumble recovery. James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Blake Martinez added interceptions as well. Tae Crowder’s 45-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown proved to be the winning score in the 20-19 win for New York last year. With three games of film on Taylor Heinicke, the Giants defense can certainly send Washington to an 0-2 start.

Can Taylor Heinicke be a reliable starter at quarterback?

It is no secret that the Washington Football Team has been plagued at the quarterback position. Since 1993, the football team has started 31 different quarterbacks. Having that instability at the most important position in sports has played a major role in the decline of the franchise over the past 28 years.

In two regular-season games with Washington, Taylor Heinicke has completed 23 of 34 passes with 259 yards and two touchdowns in relief efforts. He also has an impressive 109.8 passer rating in limited action. Now, he’ll be counted upon to deliver as QB1 for the WFT. In his first game action of 2020, Heinicke outplayed Dwayne Haskins in a 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

In the Wild Card loss to Tampa Bay, Heinicke played quite admirably. In the season opener, Heinicke’s play was even more inspiring than Ryan Fitzpatrick’s. Washington signed quarterback Kyle Shurmur to the practice squad on Monday in a move that signifies the faith the coaching staff has in Taylor Heinicke. However, Heinicke does have a significant injury history.

Being that Heinicke is acclimated within the system and has an understanding of the playbook, the offense doesn’t have to change too much. Ultimately, the most important key for Heinicke will be limiting turnovers. If the Washington Football Team can play mistake-free football, particularity on offense, they’ll be able to snap their four-game losing streak to the Giants and earn their first win of the season.