Week 17 Reality Checks: Washington vs Eagles
By Tim Payne
1. The Reality Is, Washington doesn’t have a long-term answer at quarterback.
In only the rarest of situations has an NFL franchise been able to win a Super Bowl without a long-term franchise quarterback in place. In no situation since Joe Gibbs (only the greatest football coach of all time) has a franchise been able to complete multiple Super Bowl runs with different non-franchise, non-long-term quarterbacks. And I’ve got news for you…Joe Jackson Gibbs ain’t walking back through that door…so if Washington doesn’t land a long-term answer at QB this offseason, nothing that happens these final two weeks of this season will have any lasting impact on the organization.
The last two starts have cleared out all but the family-level members of the “Heinicke is the answer” hive. Kyle Allen can’t even get a look from this coaching staff when the other backup on the roster is struggling mightily. It’s obvious this organization believes they need to address the quarterback situation once and for all this offseason.. So what does that mean for these final two games of the season? Weirdly, it means they may stick with Taylor Heinicke (believing he’s the more viable long-term back-up) even though Kyle Allen may have a better chance to operate effectively with the patchwork offensive line and limited offensive weapons available at this point in the season.
Allen has a bigger arm, more height, and the ability to make tough throws from the pocket. Heinicke seems to have the edge in intangibles and the support of the roster. He also is the more gifted scrambler. However, he appears to have hit the proverbial “rookie wall”. He’s suited to a high-end backup and spot-start role. Allen doesn’t seem to have quite as much of the “clutch” gene and is equally prone to a big mistake, but likely won’t get action unless Heinicke stumbles out of the gate against Philly.
Look for clues about who may or may not be back next season in a place-holder or backup role as you observe how Rivera handles his quarterbacks this week and next. At the end of the day, I think Washington ends up fighting hard for Rivera and Heinicke plays much better this week than he did in his last two starts.
And yet, without so many key players (including Chase Young, Landon Collins, Sam Cosmi, and even Tress Way), I think they will fall short against a healthier and more confident Philadelphia team. Washington brings a lot of fight, but ends up losing 24-20.