Ron Rivera has confidence in backup quarterback Kyle Allen’s ability to play the position, but he still believes the Washington Football Team’s best chance of winning its final two games involves Taylor Heinicke starting under center.
After the head coach said in a press conference Monday that Allen will “probably” see the field at some point between Weeks 17 and 18, he sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay and clarified that he still plans to push forward with Heinicke despite his recent struggles.
“I feel a sense of loyalty to what Taylor has done so far this year,” Rivera said. “As far as those guys are concerned, I still think Taylor gives us our best chance to win, although I do have confidence in Kyle as well. You know, I made the statement that Kyle will play. Kyle may get an opportunity to play is probably a better way for me to have phrased it. Would I play Kyle if I had to? Yes. If I had the opportunity to? Yes. But Taylor is our starter.
“I still feel confident in Taylor that he gives us a really good chance, probably a better chance right now to win. Although right now I do have confidence in Kyle if he has to be the guy.”
Washington has lost three straight games since pulling to 6-6 in Week 13. That string of losses includes a 56-14 beatdown by the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football last weekend. Heinicke completed just seven of 22 passes for 121 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions before being replaced by Allen in the second half.
The ODU product has failed to eclipse 200 yards passing in each of his last three games, though he wasn't available due to COVID protocols when Washington started Garrett Gilbert at quarterback against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15.
Rivera initially expressed an interest in getting “a really good look” at Allen during Washington’s final two games against the Eagles and New York Giants. However, the team still has a small chance of making the playoffs and Rivera isn’t giving up — in Washington’s season or Heinicke — just yet.