The Washington Football Team will start backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke tomorrow night against the Giants for Thursday Night Football, and the sixth-year man out of Old Dominion sounds ready for the challenge.
“Something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life, being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and here we are,” Heinicke said. “I really try and take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time, one play at a time. I feel like if I just live in the moment, everything else will take care of itself.”
It’s not Heinicke’s first career start—he earned a mop-up game with Carolina in 2018, and some snaps last season in the playoffs versus Tampa Bay—but it will be his first opportunity to legitimately lead a NFL team early in the season. The team’s original starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, a backup/journeyman hybrid himself, landed on the injured list with a hip issue, so Heinicke is looking at multiple games at least to make his mark on the league.
WFT receiver Terry McLaurin expressed faith in Heinicke recently, saying that the career backup QB is “always ready for the moment.” It’s high praise which will certainly be put to the test immediately, as Washington’s next game is a nationally televised contest against a major-market, divisional foe in New York.
All eyes will be on Heinicke and the Football Team, who have been subjects of Cam Newton rumors all offseason, given head coach Ron Rivera’s history with him. Washington appears to be holding steady with their heady backup quarterback and strong defense, though, so a clutch performance on the national stage Thursday evening from Heinicke will go a long way in quieting the doubters.
Las Vegas seems to like their chances, too, as FanDuel Sportsbook currently lists the Football Team as chalky (-3) home favorites, despite the quarterback situation. Washington is coming off a strong performance against a sneaky-good Chargers team, while New York is looking to rebound from an ugly Week One loss at home versus the Broncos. Expect Heinicke to make some mistakes, but also to make some impressive plays at home in a game where points will likely come at a premium (the total is set at 40.5).
Kickoff from FedEX Field in Landover, Md., is set for 8:20 p.m. ET.