Football Team

Rivera isn't currently considering benching Heinicke for Allen

Football Team

In his Monday press conference last week, Ron Rivera was asked if he was thinking about making any drastic adjustments to his defense's coaching staff or scheme. He very clearly indicated that he wasn't.

In his Monday presser this week, Rivera was pressed for his thoughts on a potential change on the other side of the ball, one where he'd bench quarterback Taylor Heinicke in favor of Kyle Allen. Once again, the coach dismissed the notion.

"No," Rivera said in response to a question on if he's considered inserting Allen into the lineup. "I've been very confident in what we've done with Taylor. I know last week he had his moments, this week the same thing can be said."

Heinicke's no doubt had "his moments" this year, but they haven't exactly been abundant in his last two outings against the Saints and the Chiefs. 

When he faced New Orleans, the quarterback threw two woeful interceptions as he took a few unnecessary risks. In the Kansas City contest, meanwhile, Heinicke ... didn't really do much of anything, actually. 

For the first time in his NFL career as a starter, he didn't attempt a single rush (the sample size is only seven contests, mind you, but still, his lack of scrambling stood out in Week 6). His yards-per-attempt average was just 4.7, easily his lowest mark of the season, too.

For a signal caller who's at his best when he's also at his most aggressive, Heinicke looked awfully hesitant and conservative on Sunday at FedEx Field. Rivera wants to hold a conversation with him about that, he explained Monday. 

 

"That's something we have to sit down and talk with Taylor about," he said. "Is he trying too much to stay in the pocket, too much to go through the progressions instead of being a little creative at times?"

That comment comes less than a month after Rivera stated he wanted to see more of a game-manager approach out of Heinicke. So, it appears that the staff is still trying to figure out how to best utilize the 28-year-old.

As for Allen, he hasn't thrown a meaningful pass since Nov. 8 of the 2020 campaign, which is when he suffered an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve. He spent a lot of training camp on the sidelines and didn't get any preseason action.

The true problem is that Rivera doesn't really have a right answer between his two options (Ryan Fitzpatrick remains on I.R. himself).

A freestyling Heinicke is more energized and has a higher ceiling than Allen, but Allen could probably produce more steady passing results than Heinicke. However, neither one is skilled enough to spark an offense that's missing its starting tight end and its second receiver or overcome all of the struggles that Washington's defense is experiencing.

If Heinicke has another dud in Green Bay in Week 7, sure, maybe making the switch to Allen will be the correct call. There's also a bye looming where a substitution would make sense. 

Until there's another significant development, though, Rivera will keep rolling with No. 4.

"Not every week is going to be as productive as most people want it to be — as we want to be — so we'll just have to wait and see what happens going forward," Rivera said.

While he was touching on Heinicke specifically in that quote, it also applies for the QB position as a whole in Washington until the organization unearths its long-term solution there.