Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera named Taylor Heinicke the starter for Sunday's away game against the Houston Texans. Carson Wentz has been on IR for the last four weeks after breaking his right ring finger against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. Rivera said he was throwing lightly last week, and he has been cleared to throw officially. He has not been cleared to return to practice, and while Rivera left the door barely open for him to be Heunicke's backup, he's likely to stay inactive this week.
Chase Young will reportedly be activated this week, but Rivera said if he does play on Sunday he will be on a pitch count. Young tore his ACL a year ago and had reconstruction surgery that resulted in Dr James Andrews using a graft from his left patellar tendon to reconstruct the ACL in his right knee.
LIVE: HC Ron Rivera meets with the media https://t.co/5r7c4Bv1VS— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) November 16, 2022
Carson Wentz vs Taylor Heinicke:
It’s official. Taylor Heinicke will be the starting quarterback on Sunday for the Commanders. pic.twitter.com/dqJXzclE5c— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) November 16, 2022
Ron Rivera says Carson Wentz has been cleared to start throwing but they haven't designated him to return to practice. Taylor Heinicke WILL start this week— Ethan Cadeaux (@Ethan_Cadeaux) November 16, 2022
This is not a case of the coach declaring who is the long-term starter. Rivera said there's a world where Wentz could be cleared for activation later in the week and be QB2, but, IMO, that is highly unlikely. https://t.co/pDlnxJKJ7V— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 16, 2022
Rivera on the luxury of patience afforded by Taylor Heinicke's ability to help win games: "We have time."— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 16, 2022
Carson Wentz as the backup this week?:
Rivera said they'll "see how it goes" before determining if Carson Wentz could even be the backup this week, but he made it clear Wentz would need practice time before that could happen.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022
Ron Rivera said they'll see how Chase Young feels tomorrow after going through everything today. It was just a walkthrough, so the challenge is finding him reps that come as close to live action as they can to see where he's at.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022
Chase Young's status for Sunday remains TBD, per Rivera. He'd be on a "pitch count" whenever he's activated. Did participated in practice this week on the turf after the team sat him when they moved indoors last week.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 16, 2022
Taylor Heinicke appeared on the Pat McAfee show yesterday and had a pretty interesting interview. He rehashed a few things he talked about there including the plane ride home where he was getting iced out by his teammates and he seemed more interested in double fisting Busch Lights(endorsement incoming) from a trashcan full of ice and beer.
He also said he might buy his offensive line some Jordan’s after it was brought up that he buys a new pair with the $125k bonus he gets for every win he has as a starter. He confirmed he did buy them new shoes, just now the same ones he got for himself.
Heinicke talked about not underestimating the Houston Texans, even though they only have one win. They have played a few teams hard, and could easily have a few less losses this year. Heinicke also said he’s been working on finding Terry McLaurin on the deep passes.
LIVE: QB Taylor Heinicke meets with the media https://t.co/JR0pQ4upyC— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) November 16, 2022
Plane ride home:
“I was just hanging in my seat and guys kept putting their chains on me…I was surprised those things are heavy” pic.twitter.com/gMVvUISU0V— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 16, 2022
Taylor Heinicke; "Honestly, I was sitting in my seat enjoying the win and a lot of the guys started putting their chains on me. I wasn't going to stop them. I did know how heavy those things were."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022
Jordans for the offensive line:
Taylor Heinicke on his OL: “They've been busting their ass all year and I think they need to be compensated for that, so I ordered some 'Js' for the starting offensive line this past week. And, heck, if they keep doing that, they'll be getting some more."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022
Taylor Heinicke said he did buy Jordans for the O-line and said "if they keep playing like that they'll be getting more."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022
But not the same ones for himself.
"No, no. I can't spend that much," he said.
Taylor Heinicke shares what Ron Rivera is emphasizing to the Commanders: "The message today was these guys have only won one game... but they could very well be 5-3."— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) November 16, 2022
Adds: "We can't take them lightly"
Taylor Heinicke on the Texans: "We can't take them lightly." He said all the Texans' games are close, saying they could have a winning record instead of 1-7-1 if things had broken their way.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) November 16, 2022
"The worst thing we could do is go lay an egg," he said.
Heinicke says one of the biggest improvements this season is his ability to find McLaurin on deep passes. It’s been working during the 4 game stretch— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 16, 2022
Darrick Forrest saved the ball that he scooped up after Benjamin St-Juste forced the fumble: pic.twitter.com/klXUUufMbq— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) November 16, 2022
This synopsis of @Commmanders DE Casey Toohill's "Griddy" dance at the end of MNF is hilarious!@NickiJhabvala @PeteHaileyNBCS@Sam4TR @michaelpRTD & @HolderSports all teaming up for some great stuff! For more from the MNF win visithttps://t.co/q4J6lmH9X9#HTTC pic.twitter.com/Y2Pi3M9Eet— Lou Holder (@HolderSports) November 16, 2022
Commanders in the bubble today. They’re conducting a walkthrough. pic.twitter.com/QOFOHJWASv— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) November 16, 2022
From Monday Night Football to Wednesday Late Afternoon Walkthrough pic.twitter.com/TLGQb6OdoI— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) November 16, 2022
Commanders walk thru in the bubble today. Last week Rivera said the Commanders didn’t have Chase Young do much in the bubble because of the turf. Will be interesting to watch what that means for a walk thru today. pic.twitter.com/0hl5OdS8YJ— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 16, 2022
No Carson Wentz
No QB Carson Wentz during the warmup session at Commanders practice in the bubble @wusa9 #HTTC pic.twitter.com/cbJCnDTvdV— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) November 16, 2022
Wentz has not yet been designated to return to practice, so he couldn’t participate anyway. But he’s not in the bubble observing during the media-viewing portion of the walkthrough. https://t.co/Tu84MVhLhL— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022
Don’t see LB Cole Holcomb (foot) or RB JD McKissic (neck) at walkthrough either.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 16, 2022