Taylor Heinicke will take over as Washington’s starting quarterback with Ryan Fitzpatrick injured

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Taylor Heinicke’s tenure as a backup quarterback didn’t last long this season.

Heinicke, a former star for Old Dominion, will take over as the Washington Football Team’s starter, coach Ron Rivera said Monday afternoon, adding that Ryan Fitzpatrick will head to injured reserve.

“I feel like I just have that mindset to come into the facility every day and just try to get that 1% better,” Heinicke told washingtonfootball.com. “So that when your time is called, you’ll be prepared. Again, that goes to the coaches and players listening to each other and helping each other out.”

Fitzpatrick started Sunday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he was injured after throwing just six passes. Heinicke relieved him and completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in a 20-16 loss.

Fitzpatrick, 38, suffered a hip injury that will send him to IR and keep him unavailable for at least three weeks. ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote on Twitter that Fitzpatrick will miss six to eight weeks, according to a source.

Heinicke, 28, has little time to prepare for his first start of the season — Washington hosts the New York Giants on Thursday at FexEx Field at 8 p.m. on NFL Network.

“I think our guys will rally around him,” Rivera told reporters during a video press conference Monday. “It’s just one of those things that some guys have an innate ability to create some enthusiasm, some excitement, and that’s Taylor because of the way he plays.”

Heinicke joined Washington late last season and, with former first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins struggling and veteran Alex Smith injured, he started Washington’s first-round playoff game against Tampa Bay.

Heinicke dazzled in that 31-23 loss, completing 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. He also was Washington’s leading rusher, with 46 yards on six attempts, including an 8-yard TD run and dive to the pylon that made social media and TV highlights.

In the offseason, Heinicke signed an incentive-laden two-year contract that reportedly included a $1 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1 million and $1.5 million for 2021 and 2022.

Fitzpatrick, a veteran of 16 NFL seasons, signed with Washington in the offseason and earned the starting nod during preseason.

Heinicke, meanwhile, added 15-20 pounds to his frame to more easily endure the rigors of the NFL and avoid the injuries that had previously stalled his NFL career during short stints and limited success with Minnesota, New England, Houston and Carolina.

“He plays a little bit like his hair’s on fire, plays a little bit like a gunslinger,” Rivera said Monday. “But I think and hopefully believe he’s matured a little bit, he understands what he has to do and how to do it. And I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”

Tight end Logan Thomas told washingtonfootball.com that Heinicke is “a little more comfortable” in the offense.

“He understands the flow of the offense,” Thomas added. “He knows what he’s supposed to do, and obviously he’s got his own little flavor to it.”

Rivera said Washington added quarterback Kyle Shurmur to the practice squad. The son of former Giants coach and current Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has spent time on the practice squad with Kansas City and Cincinnati.

Jami Frankenberry, 757-446-2376, jami.frankenberry@pilotonline.com