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Wentz Will Take Over For Heinicke Against The Browns

By Mark Solway | January 1st, 2023

The 2022 Taylor Heinicke experiment appears to have come to a close. Head coach Ron Rivera announced this week that Carson Wentz would get the start against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.

The NFL is very much a what have you done for me lately kind of league. And lately, Heinicke has faltered. The Commanders have dropped their last three games and after moving in to a solid playoff position, are now in danger of dropping out of it. In fact, one loss in the last two games would almost certainly take Washington out of the Wild Card position.

So despite taking over for a Commanders team that was down and all but out, Heinicke will make way for the much more expensive option in Wentz.

Is that a good thing?

It depends who you ask.

Fan Choice

There are sections of the Washington fan base that never really embraced Heinicke’s role. They are unabashedly all in, on the move to Wentz.

Then again, there probably as many or more fans that don’t see it that way. Who sing Heinicke’s praises and forgive his physical differences.

You won’t get a sound byte from a Commanders player saying that they prefer Heinicke. However, if you read between the lines of things that were said when he took over, you could come to that conclusion.

Intangible Vs Tangible

It’s one of those things that is hard to put your finger on. Heinicke does not possess the skill set that Wentz does. That’s fairly tangible.

Wentz does not possess the same leadership qualities that Heinicke does. That’s an intangible that’s a little more difficult to prove. It is worth noting though, that players seem to recognize Taylor’s win or die attitude.

Does that make others play harder?

That’s hard to quantify.

The team as a whole has undoubtedly played better as a team since Heinicke came in, but there are other things at work.

The defense has played better. Much better.

Scott Turner has called a much more run based attack with Heinicke at the helm. That not only helps the quarterback, but also helps mask the issues the team has had on the offensive line.

Statistically Speaking

If you just look at statistics, Wentz has thrown for 1612 yards in 2022. He has 11 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and an 86.3 passer rating.

Heinicke on the other hand, has thrown for 1859 yards. He has 12 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and and 89.6 rating.

Those numbers appear pretty even, but Heinicke has played more games.

He’s also won more games.

Making the Switch

Admittedly, it’s a tough call for Head Coach Rivera.

The initial switch to Heinicke was made because of an injury to Wentz, not because the team was looking for a spark.

But it does bear mentioning that Rivera had taken heat just the week before the change because he stated that the reason the team was struggling was, “Quarterback.”

He did later claim that the comment was misunderstood and that he wasn’t throwing Wentz under the bus, but it did appear that way to many at the time.

So what’s the correct play for Rivera?

Do you go with the guy that was brought in this offseason to provide an upgrade at the position? The guy you’re paying almost $30 million to?

Or do you go with the guy that got you to where you are? Which is still in the playoff hunt. Even though his magical pixie dust seems to have worn off slightly of late.

What would you do?

 

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