Taylor Heinicke’s fairy tale story might be coming to an end upon the close of this NFL season. It was a nice story last year in the playoffs when he gave Tom Brady and Tampa Bay a run for their money. But after an entire season of watching Heinicke under center for Washington, it’s clear that he is not the long-term answer at QB.
Heinicke’s ceiling looks like that of an average NFL QB, and that just won’t get it done for the Football Team. This year, Washington got hit hard by the injury bug, but Heinicke’s play hasn’t lived up to what the team hoped it might be. Taylor has 20 TDs, 15 INTs, and 3,299 yards passing in 15 games this year. That says average to me, and not the franchise’s QB of the future.
The odds of Heinicke panning out and becoming anything more than a fringe starter were long in the first place. At times, Taylor has shown flashes of being a good NFL QB, but he’s had even more instances where his flaws have been too glaring to overlook.
Heinicke does have a four-game win streak on his resume this year in which he and WFT were able to best Brady and the Buccaneers, 29-19. That win streak is also highlighted by Heinicke’s best game, where he passed for three TDs and zero INTs in a 27-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. But that winning streak came after a four-game losing streak where Heinicke’s play wasn’t even average and the team scored 13 points or less in three of the four losses.
Heinicke’s best role moving forward is likely to be as a backup, like it was supposed to be this year until Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury in Week 1 forced Washington to throw him into action. Some players are better suited to play in certain situations or in spot duty as Heinicke did against the Bucs in the postseason. Now, the NFL has an entire season’s worth of film on him, we see the real Taylor Heinicke. He’s an average below-average starter and a pretty decent backup.
Washington will have some decisions to make at the QB position this offseason. The rookie QB crop for 2022 isn’t great, so they might want to go the free-agent route. Hell, maybe they can persuade Seattle to let Russell Wilson go for draft picks and players. While I doubt that happens, head coach Ron Rivera needs to find a QB that can lead this team. The NFC East isn’t the toughest division in the league. If Washington can get a good QB in there, they’ll be right back in the hunt for the division in no time.