Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke to start again Sunday

ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington Commanders didn’t have to make a quarterback decision after all. With Carson Wentz still not training, Taylor Heinicke remains the starter.

Washington coach Ron Rivera said while Wentz has been cleared to start throwing, he has not yet been designated to return to practice. For this reason, Rivera said Heinicke will continue to start. Rivera hasn’t said who will start when Wentz is ready to practice and play.

Washington (5-5) won 3-1, with Heinicke starting at quarterback and heading to the Houston Texans on Sunday.

“We have time,” Rivera said. “[Heinicke] has done some good things and we’ll see what happens this week. It’s not just about the individual [how] it affects the team. Having this situation is pretty good; it’s a good problem to have.”

Wentz broke his right finger in a 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears on October 13 and was placed on injured reserve. There is still the possibility that Wentz will be activated before Sunday and thus serve as a backup for Heinicke. However, Rivera said that even in this scenario, he likely would want Wentz to have practice time before making him active for a game.

Heinicke has a 47.2 quarterback rating in his four starts, compared to Wentz’s 32.4 in six starts. Wentz also had to learn a new offense after playing under a different system for the past six seasons. This meant that he sometimes held the ball longer than usual behind shaky pass security. He was fired 23 times.

Washington’s offense is better in part because the running game has been a bigger focus and its tight end group has gotten healthier. Heinicke has thrown five touchdown passes to four interceptions, but he’s also earned the respect of the locker room for his style of play and underdog history — the former undrafted quarterback retired from football two years ago. Receiver Terry McLaurin said Heinicke played without fear.

For Heinicke, he said he’s not worried about having one more game to prove he should continue as a starter.

“I don’t see it that way,” said Heinicke. “The coach told me I’m up this week so I’m doing everything I can to prepare for Houston and try to get a win. The team is playing really well right now… what’s happening.”

Also on Wednesday, Rivera said he was still unsure if Chase Young would play on Sunday. Young, who has torn his right cruciate ligament, could be included in the 53-man squad depending on how he fares in training over the next two days. But even if he’s activated and playing, Rivera said Young would be limited to a quick count throughout the game. Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke to start again Sunday

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