Taylor Heinicke describes the closeness of this Commanders team

There is just something about Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke. His teammates love him, coaches love him and fans love him. And when he’s on the field, he makes plays.

The Heinicke era in Jan. 2021 when he was the emergency starting quarterback against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC wild-card game. Heinicke almost led Washington to an upset win and instantly became a Washington sensation.

That game earned him a two-year extension to remain in Washington. When Ryan Fitzpatrick went down in Week 1 last season, Heinicke took over as the starting quarterback. While he went through ups and downs, he had plenty of special moments, including winning five of his final eight starts under center.

Now, Heinicke is back as Washington’s starting quarterback after an injury to Carson Wentz. And Heinicke is still winning, going 2-0 as the starter since returning to the lineup.

Heinicke was asked on Wednesday if this was the closest team he’s played on.

“I think it’s in probably every aspect of every day,” Heinicke said. “Guys are excited to come to work because you’re going to work with a bunch of guys that you love, you grind with, you work with, and it’s never fun going to work with people that you don’t like. So the fact that all the coaches and players get along, we work hard together, it makes it a lot easier, especially when times are tough when you’re in a three-game losing streak. So you know, that camaraderie and it starts from Coach Rivera. It was like this in Carolina when I was there as well. It means a lot, and I think it makes it easier on a lot of guys to come to work and do their best and they want to do their best. They don’t want to let their brother down. I think it carries throughout practice every day, meetings, and then ultimately on game day.”

Heinicke makes his third start this weekend against the Vikings — the team that brought him into the league as an undrafted free agent. Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner was in Minnesota at the time and played a pivotal role in signing Heinicke.

“A little full circle for myself and Scott Turner,” he said. “He’s the one that brought me into Minnesota and kind of started this whole journey, so it’ll be cool to go against those guys. Obviously, it’s not the same coaching staff as when I was there with Mike Zimmer, but it’ll be cool. It’ll be cool to go against those guys. There’s still a couple of players that I know from that team, Harrison Smith, Dalvin Cook, [Adam] Thielen. I was actually throwing to Thielen when I was in the preseason.”

The quarterback on the opposite side Sunday is a player Washington knows very well. Kirk Cousins spent his first six NFL seasons in Washington. Which quarterback has the better game on Sunday?

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire