The Washington Commanders have announced that they will be starting Taylor Heinicke for the final game of the regular season.
The #Commanders are expected to turn back to Taylor Heinicke as the starter for Sunday’s season finale vs. the #Cowboys, but rookie QB Sam Howell is also slated to play, marking the NFL debut for the fifth-round pick, per source. Barring change of plans, this will be the setup.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 4, 2023
Rookie Quarterback Sam Howell is also expected to play in some capacity. Howell was picked on the 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of North Carolina.
When Washington decided to start Carson Wentz in a win or go home scenario for the playoffs, it was surprising. Heinicke has been doing a capable job. In his nine starts, Heinicke has a record of 5-3-1 on the season. He’s thrown for almost 2,000 yards with 12 touchdowns passes to 6 interceptions. Most of those starts came from when Wentz was injured, but Heinicke ultimately took the job from the recently acquired QB.
With their playoff hopes out the door in the loss against the Cleveland Browns, this game against the Dallas Cowboys will be a good time to evaluate the other quarterbacks. The Commanders know Wentz is not the answer long term, and they have seen what Taylor Heinicke can do. Maybe Sam Howell is the better option.
In fact, in a recent turn of events, Head Coach Ron Rivera has stated that Sam Howell will start in week 18. A good move to see what the rookie is made of.
#Commanders HC Ron Rivera announced that rookie Sam Howell will start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 4, 2023
If neither of them seem to work out, the Commanders could be in a market for a veteran quarterback, however. Washington has a good enough roster to be a borderline playoff team. Even with sub-optimal QB play, Washington still was one win away from the playoffs. With the NFC East now looking like one of the better divisions in the NFC, Washington looks to be on the outside looking in when it comes to competing for the top spot.
It will be interesting to see what route Washington goes with the quarterback position. It also remains to be seen what they do with Carson Wentz.