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The Washington Commanders’ desire for stability at the quarterback position took a negative turn on last Thursday when Carson Wentz fractured the finger on his throwing hand during the game against the Chicago Bears.
“He [Wentz] did have surgery yesterday on his right hand,” head coach Ron Rivera explained. “He’s gonna be in L.A. for a couple of days. He’s been doing rehab already and we’ll get a little bit more of an update by the end of this week.”
With the news that Wentz will be out 4-6 weeks, Taylor Heinicke will take over as the team prepares to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Now that Heinicke is taking over, Commander fans are hoping he can create a spark after Washington broke a four-game losing streak last week with a win over the Bears.
“I think because of the familiarity and the things that we do, it’ll be an easy transition for us. I think with Taylor too, there is always the ability to run the ball,” Rivera said. “He’s got a little bit of that in him, so it’ll be interesting. The things that we’ll do will certainly match his skill set.”
While it is possible he will add a different dimension to the offense for a few weeks, the fact still remains that the Heineke experiment last season resulted in the Commanders trading for Wentz in the offseason.
That is a clear indication that Heinicke is not the long-term answer. However, he could be the short-term change the team needs to gain momentum.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve done is just being prepared if my number is called. That’s going from taking classes and being called up playing Brady in the playoffs to the same thing with [Ryan Fitzpatrick] last year and, Carson [Wentz] right now,” Heinicke said. “So yeah, I think that’s the biggest thing as a professional is just you have to be ready when your number’s called. That’s how you get your opportunity.”
Ultimately, if Heinicke can help the Commanders win a few games, it will breathe some life into a team that is still searching for their identity under the leadership of a newly acquired quarterback.
Heinicke will have his work cut out this weekend with Green Bay in town, but he is no stranger to this matchup. Although he came up short last year, falling 24-10 to the Packers, he is excited for a second chance to get a victory.
“To go up to Lambeau last year was super neat and to get the first start this year against Green Bay at home, it’s gonna be super cool.”
Heinicke finished the 2021 season with a 45.8% quarterback rating, 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.