Has the relationship of Ron Rivera, Scott Turner and Taylor Heinicke reached a fork in the road?
Sunday, following a Commanders 26-6 win over the visiting Cowboys, Heinicke was emotional leaving the field. Was he contemplating that he might have played his last game for the Burgundy and Gold?
Two weeks prior, Heinicke was visibly uncomfortable, even telling the press, “It sucks” when he had been pulled during the second half of the 49ers game, and Wentz replaced him.
Heinicke had to expect with an elimination game against the Browns approaching, Rivera would give Wentz the start. Rivera had traded for Wentz and agreed to pay him $28 million this season. Of course, he went back to Wentz after the way Heinicke struggled in both games against the Giants.
Even more, losing to the Browns, Rivera had turned back to Heinicke for the finale against Dallas. We do know Heinicke basically said no thank you, Ron. What we don’t know is his attitude and how he expressed it to Rivera.
For the record, last week Rivera, to the press, expressed that Heinicke was being a good teammate in stating that he felt Howell had worked all year, and if Rivera was going to play Howell some, then why not go ahead and let Howell start the game as well.
I see two sides to this pretty quickly. Taylor might be wanting to leave to launch out for a bigger stage elsewhere with a bigger paycheck. Yet, will the grass be greener for Heinicke in another NFL town? Will he find another team willing to pay him starter’s money?
Rivera is now in an uncomfortable position with the majority of the fan base absolutely adoring Heinicke, to such a degree that if he doesn’t retain Heinicke the fan base is upset.
Certainly, Sam Howell, playing well against Dallas will help Rivera make his decision. In addition, if Rivera brings in another quarterback next year, how will the fan base accept the new guy?
Might Rivera be thinking about not bringing back Heinicke because Taylor is frankly reaching a celebrity status that forgoes rational thinking for many?
After Wentz was injured in Week 6 this season, requiring surgery, Heinicke started six games, and the Commanders went 5-1. However, the last three he started the Commanders were 0-2-1.
Taylor Heinicke was with Rivera and Turner in Carolina. In fact, Heinicke was with Turner (prior to Carolina) in Minnesota as well. They also obviously continued that relationship in Washington dating back to December of the 2020 season.