Carson Wentz or Taylor Heinicke? Commanders’ QB decision stands.


Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera declined Tuesday to announce his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game with the Houston Texans, and he has yet to say definitively that Chase Young will activate on the defensive end this week and after a long convalescence from knee surgery.

But Rivera dropped a series of clues as the commanders move forward 32-21 Excitement of the undefeated Eagles on Monday night in Philadelphia.

Taylor Heinicke, the backup quarterback who stepped in while Carson Wentz recovered Finger surgery on his throwing handhas led the Commanders on a 3-1 run to take 5-5 for eighth place in the NFC, which seemed unattainable after a 2-4 start.

Washington placed Wentz on injured reserve End of October. He is eligible to return to training this week and be included in the active squad.

In a video conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Rivera said he has yet to sit down with senior athletic coach Al Bellamy to discuss Wentz’s status and he needs to meet with offensive coordinator Scott Turner, quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese and the players beforehand he made an announced decision.

However, what Rivera said is that he will consider countless factors and the decision must be the best for the entire team.

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“You have to look at the dynamics. Of course you have to see what the mood in the team is like,” Rivera said, adding, “You look at what’s best for the team, and at the end of the day that’s how it has to be.”

Rivera also noted that the commanders still have to determine Wentz to return to training. Once they do, they have 21 days to activate it.

Could the manager’s comments – coupled with the rejuvenation of his team and fan base over the past four weeks – suggest Heinicke is favored to remain the starter? Perhaps, but such a step would have consequences.

For one, Commanders have a $22 million salary tied to Wentz — a hefty investment for any player, especially a backup. And then there’s the reality of any change of position: if it doesn’t work out, it can be difficult to reverse course, especially when a player’s trust and relationship with the coaching staff suffers as a result.

On the other hand, the Commanders’ trade for Wentz included him sending a conditional third-round draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts in 2023. That becomes second-rounder when Wentz plays at least 70 percent of Commanders’ snaps. If he becomes the backup, it’s doubtful he would reach that threshold.

“We’ll see what happens this week,” Rivera said. “…Everything is one game at a time. I’m not making any progress. We will focus on winning game after game.”

Rivera and his staff also have to decide when to activate Young, who missed more than a calendar year while recovering from knee surgery. The commanders appointed Young to return to practice November 2nd, which means they have until November 23rd to add him to the active list.

Last week, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said Young still had to train at full speed, noting the team would not let him play until he was fully ready.

Rivera said the defensive end is “trending in the right direction,” noting the team will activate him sometime before the deadline. But he also hinted that Young’s performance in practice this week could determine his availability for Sunday’s game.

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“The things he has to do in a game, he has to do it at full speed,” Rivera said. “He needs to have a little more confidence and really be able to put that foot in the ground and work from it and play from it. That was one of the things that worried us a bit.

“Jack hit the nail on the head: we won’t expose him until it’s time. And I know that 21 days is coming pretty soon, but we expect to activate it at some point.”

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