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Taylor Heinicke Won't Lose Starting Job to Carson Wentz, Commanders' Ron Rivera Says

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2022

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 18:Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) on the field during the second quarter of the game at FedEx Field on December 18, 2022 in Landover, MD.  (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said Monday the team will not bench Taylor Heinicke after Sunday's 20-12 loss to the New York Giants.

"The biggest thing more than anything else is sticking with Taylor and what we're trying to accomplish," Rivera told reporters.

The coach indicated a quarterback change could still come if things don't improve for the 7-6-1 squad.

"It is something to be quite frank, I do have to think about at some point," Rivera added. "But if we get back on track and play the way we've played and do the things we've done, then we'll stick where we are."

Carson Wentz, who started the first six games of the season, was activated from injured reserve last week after dealing with a finger injury.

The Commanders acquired Wentz in an offseason trade with the Indianapolis Colts, although he struggled in the new location with 10 passing touchdowns and six interceptions in six games, producing an 84.1 passer rating.

Washington was just 2-4 in his starts.

The team has fared better with Heinicke under center, going 5-2-1 in his eight eight games, although the last two starts resulted in a tie and loss to the New York Giants.

Heinicke also hasn't been much better on an individual level, totaling 10 touchdowns with five interceptions and an 87.7 rating.

He ranks 27th in the NFL in Total QBR, while Wentz is 31st of 33 qualified players.

The Commanders have been good enough to overcome mediocre quarterback play this year, ranking fourth in the NFL in total yards allowed and ninth in points allowed. It's kept them in playoff position entering Week 16, half a game ahead of the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions for the last wild-card spot.

Heinicke will keep his starting job ahead of next Saturday's game against the San Francisco 49ers, but he might have a short leash if he continues to struggle.