Washington’s Taylor Heinicke benched for Carson Wenz, position to be reevaluated

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Washington head coach Ron Rivera benched Taylor Heinicke to replace Carson Wentz in the fourth quarter against San Francisco on Saturday, but Rivera said he doesn’t yet know if it will be a permanent move. Rivera said he will name a starting quarterback early in the week.

Wentz suffered 37-20 losses in Washington’s final two series, dropping the Commanders to 7-7-1. They remain in the seventh and final playoff spot.

Rivera said he would assess the situation and discuss it with his offensive coaches before making a decision. Washington will host Cleveland (6-9) on Sunday.

Turner said he wasn’t going to make a “kneeling decision” but used the fourth quarter as an opportunity to evaluate Wentz’s game. said.

“It was an opportunity to see where Carson was and he did a good job,” Rivera told reporters after the game. “We’re in pretty good shape right now.”

Wentz last played on October 13, when he broke his right ring finger in a 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears. He returned to the active Gameday roster last week and was on the verge of joining the game in the second half.

Wentz completed 12 of 16 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in two streaks.

“We’re all competitors. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We all want to be there,” Wentz said. “If you lose it in this position, you’ll be out very quickly, so it will mean a lot.” [to start] But it’s out of our control. We get ready, we wag our tails and work, but circumstances don’t change anything. ”

Heinicke said he’s used to this situation and has always been underdog or on the verge of losing his job, especially in the NFL.

“I’ve heard stuff like that my whole life,” Heinicke said. “I try not to pay attention to it. I control what I control and it’s going out and playing as hard as I can. That’s what I feel I’ve done.” If they need Carson in there, OK. Work hard at the facility every day and do the best you can.”

Heinicke played one of the more efficient halves of the season in the first two quarters, completing 8 of 11 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Another drive ended at the 1-yard line when Washington failed to convert a fourth goal. He threw his second touchdown pass in the third quarter.

But in the fourth quarter, Heinicke lost one fumble at his own 11-yard line, leading to a field goal for the 49ers. , resulting in a second field goal and a 27-14 deficit.

“I was pretty beaten up and my last two drives were turnovers, so I understand,” Heinicke said. “Carson did well”

Rivera said Heinicke played “pretty good” in the first half, adding: “It’s going to be hard to pin all the turnovers on him. There were some,” he said.

Still, it was enough for Rivera to change to Wentz. Washington’s offense moved the ball with Heinicke’s starting lineup. The Commanders were 13th in total yards in his first seven starts. However, they were 25th in red zones and scoring and 27th in third downs.

Rivera was pleased with Wentz’s play.

“He knew very well what we were doing. He stood tall in his pocket, got the ball out a few quick times and threw a good ball,” Rivera said. .

Washington traded two third-round draft picks to Indianapolis and acquired Wentz last April in exchange for a second-round pick. He hit his $26.7 million salary cap in 2023, but with no bond left, Washington was able to fire him without any financial penalty. However, the Commander wants to know if he can become their man in the future.

If Wentz starts, he’ll be playing a more run-heavy offense than he did in his first six games. The coaches hope it will lead to more success for Wentz.

“Our ability to move the ball takes a lot of pressure off quarterbacks,” Rivera said. There are a few things that show what he can do when he gets the chance to stand with him.”

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