Coming into the 2021 NFL season, Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke was slated and prepared to be the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, things have now changed.
Fitzpatrick could reportedly miss 6-8 weeks due to a right hip subluxation that he suffered on Sunday in a loss against the Chargers.
If the 28-year-old Heinicke plays well, this could be his job for the rest of the season and beyond. In four seasons, Heinicke has started just one regular-season game in 2018 with the Panthers and started a playoff game for Washington last season, where he threw for over 300 yards in a losing effort to the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild-Card round.
At this point, with Fitzpatrick out, Washington has not brought in another veteran quarterback, which means Washington is giving Heinicke a chance to shine.
“I think someone asked me the question after the game, you’ve had a lot of doubters out there, stuff like that, and I don’t care about the doubters outside the facility,” Heinicke said on Tuesday. “It’s the people in the facility that I care about. If they have confidence in me and they believe in me, that’s all that I care about. Like you just said, that kinda tells me they have that confidence in me. So, it means a lot to me; it helps me play better. It gives me a lot more confidence, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Heinicke has been dreaming about being a starting quarterback in the NFL, but for Heinicke to keep the job, his mindset has to be one play at a time.
“Something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life, being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and here we are,” he said. “So, I really try and take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time, one play at a time. I feel like if I just live in the moment, everything else will take care of itself. I don’t try and get too ahead of myself. When we’re at practice, I just listen to the play, remember what we talked about — meetings, what we’re trying to get accomplished, and really take it one play at a time. We’ll worry about the other stuff later.”
Look, you never want to see anybody get injured, but it’s next man up in the NFL, so Heinicke has to seize the moment. If he wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, he must play well during this stretch, which begins on Thursday night at home against the New York Giants.