I’ll be the first one to admit - I’ve been tough on Taylor Heinicke.
It’s not because I dislike him as a member of the Washington Football Team, rather, in this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, Taylor has never won an NFL game. He’s not a rookie who has yet to be given an opportunity, rather a 28 year old veteran who has bounced around from team to team, including a stint in the XFL, and has never been able to latch on.
He is also not the chosen one for Ron Rivera...
If you remember, it was Kyle Allen, who our head coach gave up a 5th round draft pick to acquire in 2020, while Heinicke, who was out of the league, could have been had for nothing. Then, after getting a new deal this past offseason, he was passed over for the starting gig in favor of another veteran journeyman who coach Rivera hand-picked in the offseason, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
All I have ever wanted this football team to do was win - and with zero W’s on his professional resume, can you blame me for being skeptical?
Well, after yet ANOTHER quarterback injury, here we are again facing at least some of the season with a backup under center.
For now, this is Taylor Heinicke’s team, and if there was ever a time to make a name for himself, It’s THAT time!
There are a lot of positives to Taylor’s game. For one, it feels like the team believes in him under center - and this is important. Second, he has the ability to extend plays outside the pocket when things break down, and if last Sunday was any indication, things WILL break down. Third, he is an anticipatory thrower, who knows this offense, and if given time to go through his progressions, will usually get the ball to the right spots on time. Finally, he’s got a bit of moxie, and plays with a chip on his shoulder - and I like that from my quarterback.
For the list of positives, there are also some negatives. First, he doesn’t have the strongest arm. This limits him when coverage is tight or timing is off. He’s not just going to snap his wrist and fire a dart into tight windows, or will he be able to extend the field vertically like Fitzpatrick could. His deep ball has way too much air under it, and his intermediate passes tend to float - so defenders in tight coverage have an advantage. Second, he’s not the biggest guy, so seeing over the line when he’s in the pocket tends to be an issue, and batted passes at the line of scrimmage haunt him. Third, he’s been injury prone over his career. It’s actually part of the reason he’s been out of the league for periods at a time. His somewhat reckless style of play may be the culprit here, and if he can play within the scheme, and take better care of his body by avoiding big hits, this concern can be mitigated significantly. Finally, he has had some ball security issues. Taking hits and coughing the ball up won’t be tolerated by this staff, so he’ll need to eliminate these negative plays in a hurry if he wants to remain under center for the foreseeable future.
What this all boils down to, is Taylor being able to go out there, execute the game plan, and come away with the victory - something he’s yet to prove to anyone he’s capable of doing in this league. If he can preform well tonight, and give The Football Team a much needed home win against a division rival (who has owned us as of late), in prime time, my perception of him could change.
Regardless, I am, and always will be, pulling for the guys who wear Burgundy and Gold. I hope tonight’s game will change my perception of Taylor Heinicke for the better; because we all know - we can sure use some good news around here!