Taylor Heinicke has had his ups and downs through his first two starts under center for the Washington Football Team, but the starting quarterback job appears to be his for the foreseeable future.
Following practice on Wednesday, Washington boss Ron Rivera was asked if he had considered benching Heinicke in favor of Kyle Allen. The head coach completely shut that idea down.
"No. I'm not even contemplating it," Rivera said.
Rivera later expanded on the topic, saying he's confident in Allen if he had to play him but wants Heinicke to focus on playing solid football, rather than worrying about his job security.
"I'm not afraid to play Kyle. But, I don't want Taylor looking over his shoulder," Rivera said. "That's my whole point about not thinking about it. And I'm not going to approach that subject with our players."
Heinicke has played roughly 10 quarters as Washington's quarterback since taking over for an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1. He's dazzled at times, especially in Washington's Week 2 win over the Giants, but has also made some errant throws -- ones that ended with the football in the opposition's hands.
Additionally, Rivera cited Heinicke's overall lack of experience as an NFL quarterback as another reason why he wants to stick with the 28-year-old as his QB1.
"I'm going to stick with Taylor because, honestly, [Sunday's game vs. Buffalo] was Taylor's fourth start ever," Rivera said. "It was his first start on the road. He was put at a deficit from the beginning. He tried to do the best he [could]. I thought he handled the situation pretty well."
Early in the second quarter of Sunday's game, Washington found itself down three touchdowns to the Bills. Rather than bowing out, Washington responded to adversity well. Heinicke connected with running back Antonio Gibson on a 73-yard touchdown, and on the ensuing kickoff, Dustin Hopkins spectacularly recovered his own kick. Then, Heinicke led Washington on another TD drive, one the quarterback finished off on his own.
Just when Washington appeared to have some momentum, its defense missed a few opportunities to force a turnover while allowing Buffalo to add a pair of field goals before the half ended.
"At one point it was 14-21 and, unfortunately, we dropped a chance for an interception at midfield," Rivera said. "So, who knows what would have happened at that point if we could have completed that, if we could have made the play."
While Heinicke hasn't been anywhere near exceptional, he's been plenty good enough to keep his job. Rivera is confident in Heinicke and believes some of the struggles he's had -- and likely will continue to have -- are all part of the "growing process" of an inexperienced quarterback.
"It's all part of the growing process that we will go through as a football team," Rivera said. "It's all part of the growing process that Taylor will go through as a quarterback."