Joe Theismann would be 'very comfortable' starting Taylor Heinicke in 2021

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Ryan Homler
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Joe Theismann would be 'very comfortable' starting Heinicke originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

As the Washington Football Team embarks on the offseason, a major focus is what the franchise will do at quarterback. There are enticing names both in NFL veterans and draft prospects that the team could pursue, and everyone has an opinion on who it should be.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann, however, is thinking differently about the situation. To him, rolling with the passer that started for Washington in the NFC Wild Card game and nearly helped the team upset Tom Brady and the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers isn't a bad idea.

“I’d be very comfortable with Taylor [Heinicke] starting right now," Theismann said on the Washington Football Talk Podcast.

“I think Taylor has a leg up because he’s been in this system longer. Alex [Smith] has age and economics sort of as weight in his way. Kyle [Allen], you don’t know how healthy he’s going to be coming back.”

Why, when there are numerous other names available for Washington out there, is Theismann okay with starting 2021 with a quarterback that started one game for the team? It's because when evaluating the other routes, he's not sure if that's the way the team should go given its current situation.

Beginning with the veteran quarterbacks, obtaining the likes of Deshaun Watson or Derek Carr would be great. Theismann isn't denying that their presence would benefit Washington, but the price to get them would have a negative impact. 

Having to surrender first-round picks is never easy, and given that Washington still needs to improve at other positions, eliminating the chance to do that in the draft is not ideal.

“Look at what we’ve been able to do over the last four years with first round picks," Theismann said. "That’s the essence of our defense.

“I think the No. 1 is very valuable to us."

RELATED: Theismann: Trading Young, picks for Watson is ‘really stupid’

So maybe mortgaging the future for a quarterback isn't the right move to Theismann, but that means he must be willing to consider using one of the picks to grab a young quarterback or even move up from No. 19 in the draft, right? Not exactly.

“Absolutely not, I would not move on that draft pick," Theismann said. "I would stay right where I am.”

When looking at this year's class of quarterbacks, Theismann likes what he sees from some but not enough to use a first round pick on one. Instead, he feels that Washington would be better suited to use that draft capital to help the offense in other areas like tight end, wide receiver or along the offensive line.

Washington could certainly use a passer, but given the pieces the team has on defense and the way it can build through the draft, Theismann isn't sold that this is an all-in situation just yet. 

“It’s not a desperate situation from us, but it’s one of need," Theismann said.

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That leads him back to Heinicke for now. The potential for a shortened offseason once again is also present in his mind, as he feels bringing in a new passer to start amid the uncertainty is risky as well. Heinicke at least has some familiarity with Scott Turner moving forward.

Theismann isn't opposed to adding a quarterback to the roster for 2021 and creating some competition, as he knows Ron Rivera won't make the same mistake as last year and go into training camp with his mind already made up. What he doesn't want, however, is to give up too much and ignore other holes to get it done.

“Yeah I think there’s certainly a possibility that we’ll add a quarterback and then they’ll be a competition," Theismann said. 

“I’m not saying that a quarterback won’t be added to this roster. I’m just saying that as you look around now, what’s going to be the price of adding someone to the roster and does it hurt you to get other things that you need on this football team? That’s the decision that the guys are going to have to make.”