Commanders Name Taylor Heinicke Week 7 Starting QB

Carson Wentz‘s first season in the nation’s capital has been put on pause due to the finger injury he suffered during the team’s Week 6 game. He has since undergone surgery, but is facing a multi-week absence. His immediate replacement was confirmed on Tuesday.

Head coach Ron Rivera named Taylor Heinicke Washington’s starting quarterback for Week 7 against the Packers. That comes as little surprise, given his experience with the team and the total lack thereof regarding the alternative, rookie Sam Howell“We think he’s on track,” Rivera said of Howell, “but Taylor right now gives us the best opportunity to be successful” (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post).

Heinicke, 29, is in his third season with Washington. He dressed for only one regular season contest in 2020, but made a name for himself in the playoffs in a one-score loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. That landed him a two-year extension laden with playing-time incentives.

He started all but one regular season contest he appeared in last year, going 7-8 and completing 65% of his passes. His 6.9 yards per attempt average and 20:15 touchdown-to-interception ratio left plenty to be desired, and made Washington a key player in the offseason QB market. They made a sizeable move in trading for Wentz, but it was made clear after the draft that Heinicke would remain his backup.

Howell will dress as the QB2 on Sunday, after being inactive for the first six weeks of the campaign. The 22-year-old burst onto the scene at North Carolina, throwing 38 touchdowns as a freshman in 2019. After a successful sophomore season, his passing numbers took a step back in 2021, though he added 828 yards and 11 scores on the ground. He ultimately fell to the fifth round – joining a number of other passers in April’s underwhelming class on Day 3 – setting him up for what the team hopes will be a strictly developmental season.

In a depth move to in the wake of Wentz’s absence, the Commanders also signed Jake Fromm to the practice squad, per a team announcement. The former Bills draftee started twice for the Giants last year, and recently worked out with the Dolphins amidst their QB injury woes. A decision on whether or not Wentz will be placed on IR, meanwhile, is expected to be made later this week, reports CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (Twitter link).

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