Let Taylor Heinicke Play
Brad Johnson. Jeff George. Tony Banks. Shane Mathews. Patrick Ramsey. Danny Wuerffel. Tim Hasselbeck. Mark Brunell. Jason Campbell. Todd Collins. Donovan McNabb. Rex Grossman. John Beck. Robert Griffin III. Kirk Cousins. Colt McCoy. Alex Smith. Josh Johnson. Mark Sanchez. Case Keenum. Dwayne Haskins. Kyle Allen. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Taylor Heinicke.
Who are all these people? That is the list of everyone who has taken a regular season snap at QB for the Washington Redskins/Football Team since Dan Snyder bought the team. It really isn’t a good list. It’s made up of past their prime/high expectations/trading off their college skills/‘big’ names/overhyped ‘attractions’. I’m not writing this to knock any of those players. The all had the skills to play QB in the NFL. 24 players Washington has used in an attempt to lock down the most important position in the NFL for a once storied franchise.
As I’ve previously stated I’m not exactly a Washington football fan. But I do live in the DC metro area and their games are aired here by broadcast rights stuff and they get the lion’s share of other media coverage. Since I’m inundated with WFT coverage in this area I enjoy it when they do well. Problem is for most of the Snyder ownership they haven’t done well. 6 post season appearances since he took over the team in May of 1999. To routinely make the playoffs you need, if not a star, then certainly an above average QB. That list I gave you, there’s not a lot of either on it.
So why hasn’t Washington been able to draft or sign a quality QB to lead their team? The simple answer is Dan Snyder and his management team. Washington certainly isn’t the only team to have issues finding a QB to lead their team, but 24 QBs over 22 years? Something is wrong there.
All that talk of the past brings me to today as Taylor Heinicke prepares for his 1st regular season start for Washington. If you were to look at his career stat line of 59 of 92 for 589 yards with 3 TDs and 3 INTs there is nothing special at all there. Average bordering on not very good. Why should anyone care about a guy that seems destined to just be a name on a list of Washington QBs? Because, he’s just different.
Taylor Heinicke has no expectations about him. He’s a football player. The first ever QB from Old Dominion University to play QB in the NFL. Honestly he shouldn’t even be here. But just the sheer fact that he is says something about him. He has tried and worked and given his all to play as an NFL QB. Named the starter for their playoff game last season against Tampa Bay by a coaching staff that was either out of options or saw something in him, or maybe both.
After they lost 31-23 to the Buccaneers there was some who thought he might deserve a chance to be the starter. None of those people were Washington executives as they went out and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick in the off season. On paper Fitzpatrick over Heinicke seems simple, but the NFL doesn’t play on paper.
Ahead of their matchup with the Buccaneers last season, and in a very short time Heinicke endeared himself to his teammates. Many players were thrilled he would lead them in that game with the longest of odds going up against Tom Brady. And the team played their hearts out for him as well. Washington put up a hell of a fight against Tampa last season, but they just weren’t good enough.
How did that happen? Why are they so much in Heinicke’s corner? Because the guy is a baller. He’s got no shot to make it so he gives everything he’s got on every play because it could be his last. Teammates can see that and they love it. And the fans love the guy too. He’s no Kurt Warner but he has a similar fire in his belly.
I think it’s that it’s his toughness and hope that his teammates and fans latch on to. Washington has tried everything else at QB why not give this a shot? What if it works? What if he’s Kurt Warner-esq? What do you have to lose? If he stinks up the joint just draft another QB or pull another one off the scrap heap and continue on their merry little path of being mediocre. But there’s no name or no flair to him. How’s he going to sell jerseys? By winning. And that the biggest issue Washington has had under Snyder, they refuse to build a team the correct way. They want to take shortcuts to try to win now.
Heinicke has his teammates supporting him. Has the fans chanting his name. Has a drive and desire to prove he can play. Does he have the skills? Stats may point to ‘no’ but the only time he’s practiced with the first team offense was ahead of the playoff game against Tampa. What could the kid become if the team executives and coaches finally threw their support behind him and gave him a REAL chance to be the starter and prove if he can perform or not. Like I said before, he could be the next Kurt Warner or he could just be a name of the list of Washington QBs that couldn’t get it done. If it were me I’d throw caution to the wind, look at what the locker room wants, and see if he could become capable of leading a NFL team.