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Taylor Heinicke feels “a lot more confident” as starter this year

With Carson Wentz reportedly expected to miss 4-6 weeks due to a finger fraction, Mike Florio and Chris Simms explore why the Commanders should use this time to see what they have in rookie Sam Howell.

The Commanders are turning to Taylor Heinicke as their starting quarterback for the third straight season.

Heinicke started a playoff loss during the 2020 season after Alex Smith was injured and he started 15 games last year after taking over when Ryan Fitzpatick went down for the season in Week One. Carson Wentz is the ailing starter this time and Heinicke said on Wednesday that he feels better prepared for the job than he did during his previous elevations to the starting role.

“I feel a lot more comfortable, a lot more confident,” Heinicke said, via John Keim of “I was a little overwhelmed last year; it was my first time starting 15 games and it gets to you a little bit.”

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin said that Heinicke’s “ability to extend plays is really big for us” and he’s shown a knack for making plays with his legs in the past. Given the protection issues that led to Wentz being sacked 23 times in six games, that mobility could come in handy for a team looking for more out of their offense.