For some of us, it was apparent quite early on - at least since the loss to the Cowboys - that we didn’t need to see any more of Carson Wentz to know that he wasn’t the answer in DC. It took two more games and an injury to Wentz’s ring finger against the Bears to pull the personnel trigger for Head Coach Ron Rivera.
In much the same way that it did with Landon Collins last year, and William Jackson earlier this season, “injury” managed the roster more effectively than the front office and coaching staff did in Washington.
While Taylor Heinicke looked shaky in his first half of relief against the Packers, he came back with a vengeance, assisted significantly by Terry McLaurin, who had been woefully underutilized in the previous three weeks:
Lest this be perceived as support for the notion that Taylor Heinicke is “the answer” for Washington at quarterback, let me address that off the bat. I think Taylor Heinicke is one of the best back-up level quarterbacks in the league. I think he’s currently the quarterback on this roster most likely to help the team win. I think he’s better than Carson Wentz. I think this current run is his last chance to show that he might be able to succeed as a starting QB in the NFL. And, I’m also skeptical that he will.
In any case, Heinicke certainly looked very good in the second half against the Packers last Sunday, and he has another favorable match-up this week against the Sam Ehlinger-led Indianapolis Colts.
After that, in order, the Commanders face the Vikings, Eagles, Texans, Falcons, and Giants before their bye in early December. With one win already under his belt, if Heinicke can go 3-3 during that run, putting the team at 6-7 going into the bye, you stick with him through the end of the season to see if he might be able help win a wildcard berth.
If he goes 2-4, or worse, you pull him at the bye and give the rookie, Sam Howell, the last 4 games to show what he does, or doesn’t, have. Playing the Giants, Cowboys, 49ers, and Browns will provide a fairly broad range of competition to see what the rookie is made of, if it comes to that.
What you absolutely do not do is start Carson Wentz one more game at quarterback. Currently on injured reserve, Wentz will be eligible to come back in three more games, after the Eagles’ game. A more likely scenario, depending on the time it takes his finger to heal, would be for him to miss through the Falcons’ game, returning against the Giants, just before the bye week.
Under either scenario, I expect Heinicke to be no less than .500, which would be a substantial improvement over Wentz’s 2-4 record before his injury. Keeping Wentz out also guarantees that Washington won’t owe Indy its second round pick next year, a variable, which, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to matter much to the man in full command of football operations:
Ron Rivera to @TheAthletic on whether the 70% snaps clause in Carson Wentz's contract would affect future decisions: “It shouldn’t have to. ... We’ll see. I don’t want to bench a guy and not play a guy just because of something … we put in the contract." https://t.co/mwyTmmIrMw— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) October 25, 2022
The Carson Wentz experiment should be over in DC, and the franchise should be positioning itself for salvaging whatever joy can be mined from this season, while at the same time coming to grips with the certainty that it will have to secure a first round quarterback in the 2023 draft.
Even if Heinicke or Howell show out over their audition period during the rest of this season, there can be absolutely no excuse for not adding high-level competition to the quarterback room before the 2023 season begins.
Do you want to see Carson Wentz take any more snaps in a Commanders’ jersey?
This poll is closed
I’m a Colts fan.