Ron Rivera gives surprising answer on Commanders’ QB dilemma

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /

The Washington Commanders ended the Philadelphia Eagles’ bid a a perfect season with their upset win on Monday night. The win propelled Ron Rivera’s group to just a half-game out of a playoff spot, and gives Rivera a decision to make about the QB position with Carson Wentz eligible to come off injured reserve.

While Taylor Heinicke doesn’t have Wentz’s arm or size, he’s led the Commanders to a 3-1 record in Wentz’s wake. It’s not like the offense was humming with Wentz orchestrating the offense, and Washington was 2-4 in his six starts.

It’s not necessarily humming with Heinicke under center, either, but the team seemingly plays with more belief and desire with the former undrafted free agent. His teammates love playing for him — that much is obvious if you saw him iced out on the plane ride home from Philly — and a 3-1 record that could’ve easily been 4-0 during arguably the toughest stretch of the schedule cannot be understated.

Despite all of the factors favoring Heinicke, Rivera is still undecided about which quarterback will start Week 11 against the one-win Texans.

Commanders’ Ron Rivera undecided if he’ll start Taylor Heinicke or Carson Wentz at quarterback.

"“You look at what is best for the team and that’s how it has to be,” Rivera said. “There’s a great saying, ‘You treat everyone the same, you treat everyone fair but you treat everyone according to the team. So the decision will be made about the team first and foremost. Whoever the starter is I will commit to them fully. I don’t want them looking over their shoulder.”"

That’s definitely not the answer fans were expecting after Heinicke led the Commanders to an improbable win on Monday night. The postgame locker room celebrations and plane ride home were incredible. Does the head coach really want to mess with that? Momentum is just as important as skill and talent for a decision like this, and Washington simply has more life with Heinicke running the offense.

However, did Rivera tip his hand with his update on Wentz’s status? Eligible to be activated off injured reserve this week after missing the last four games, Rivera was adamant in saying the former Pro Bowler hasn’t been cleared yet.

At this point, it’d be shocking if Heinicke wasn’t named the starter.

The Commanders are 3-1 in Heinicke’s starts compared to 2-4 in Wentz’s starts, and the team will owe Indianapolis a second-round pick if the latter plays 70% of the snaps for the season. Maybe Rivera was posturing out of respect for Wentz — Washington did give up a lot to acquire him in the offseason — but everyone and their mother knows Heinicke deserves to keep the job, especially after Monday night.

Next. Will Chase Young's season debut come in Week 11?. dark