Washington Commanders head coach is riding the hot hand, continuing with Taylor Heinicke as the team’s starting quarterback even with Carson Wentz cleared for a return.
Wentz last played for the Commanders in Week 6, a tight 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. Washington placed the 29-year-old on the injured reserve after he suffered a fractured ring finger on his throwing hand.
Heinicke has rallied the Commanders since taking over for Wentz, leading the team on a 4-1 run that of course was highlighted by a Week 10 road win against the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
Speaking on Rivera’s decision to bench him in favor of Heinicke, Wentz stated that he understands the call, though he admitted it can drive him “mad.” Here’s what he said on the matter, via ESPN’s John Keim:
“I get it. It’s part of the business. I understand where we are as a team. Obviously as a competitor you want to be out there; I’d be lying to you. You come to work, you want to play, it’s what you sign up for.
At the same time I have a great relationship with Taylor and all the guys. I’ve been happy to see him succeed and what he’s been able to do. I’ll do what I can to help and support him and be part of this and stay ready because this league is crazy and things happen.
I try not to play all those games in my head because you can drive yourself mad. You start to think big picture — what’s next year; you think of careers you think of all these things. I try to hone it back in and say just be present, be positive. Next week will take care of itself. I try not to play all those things in my head, just be ready for what comes.”
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The Commanders acquired the No. 2 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft in an offseason trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Rivera and company actually have an extra incentive to start Heinicke over Wentz: If the latter plays 70 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, Washington will owe Indianapolis a second-round pick. If he doesn’t play that many snaps, it’ll be a third-rounder.
In six game appearances, Wentz has completed 62.1 percent of pass attempts for 1,489 yards and 10 touchdowns against six interceptions. The 29-year-old Heinicke has a 60.8 completion percentage for 1,031 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Seattle Seahawks currently hold the final wild card spot in the NFC with a 6-4 record. Washington is half a game behind with a 6-5 record. The 7-4 New York Giants, who occupy the No. 6 seed, will play the Commanders in Weeks 13 and 15. Both those tilts should have significant playoff implications for both teams.
Heinicke and the Commanders will try to keep the momentum going when they host the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on Sunday.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.