Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera had just one word to describe why he confirmed his decision to keep the team's new sheriff in town and start quarterback Taylor Heinicke over Carson Wentz in a 23-10 Sunday win over the Houston Texans: Winning.
“Heinicke will start today against the Texans, with Carson Wentz not quite ready to return from his finger injury,” NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said in a Sunday morning report. “As one source explained, Heinicke will remain the starting QB until he’s not. In other words, until there is no choice but to make a move.”
The five-year NFL quarterback and 15-game starter for the Commanders last season threw for 191 passing yards with 15 completions on 27 attempts, placing him slightly behind his 210 yards per game in 2022 over five assigned starts from Ron Rivera. Taylor Heinicke played a key part in earning three wins over the Green Bay Packers, the Indianapolis Colts and an upset win over the then-Philadelphia Eagles, placing 2-1 in one-score games this season.
Carson Wentz, the former No. 2 overall pick behind now-Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff in the 2016 NFL draft, garnered just below 1,500 passing yards and 10 touchdowns with a 62.1% completion percentage on his way to a 2-4 record in six starts. The 7-year NFL veteran earned two wins over the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars and faced two division rivals in the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys before undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right ring finger in mid October.
Rookie Sam Howell will continue to serve as the team's second option. A three-year starter for the North Carolina Tar Heels, Howell was considered a first-round pick by NFL Draft Analyst Chad Reuter before the Commanders took him in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Commanders will kick off against the Atlanta Falcons at 1 p.m. EST next Sunday in FedEx Field. The game will be broadcasted on Fox.