Ron Rivera revealed Monday, less than 24 hours after his team lost by six touchdowns on national television, that he's planning on playing both of his quarterbacks in Washington's last couple of appearances this year.
"We're gonna stick with Taylor right now," Rivera said on Zoom. "Will we play Kyle? Probably, and not as an indictment of Taylor or anything like that, but just that we also wanna make sure we get a really good look at Kyle."
The decision is both understandable and fine — Heinicke has been pulled early from his last two starts, while Allen probably deserves more than the limited action he's gotten in 2021 — but the choice also speaks volumes about where the franchise is currently at.
Instead of being an "indictment" on Heinicke, it's an indictment, once again, on how Washington is lost in its search for a star quarterback. And instead of getting a "really good look" at Allen, Rivera will be getting a really good look at that fact just before a vital offseason commences.
During the club's four-game winning streak across November and early December, Heinicke found the sweet spot between being smart and performing with swagger. He was checking it down more than he was chucking it up, but when he needed to, he'd run around behind the line of scrimmage and do his best to channel his idol, Brett Favre.
When that was occurring, Heinicke also changed the perception of potentially him being the Week 1 starter in 2022. At one juncture this year, that felt like a preposterous idea. Yet when he was in his rhythm, it wasn't totally dismissible.
Unfortunately, because of what's transpired since, we're back to the preposterous side of the scale.
Heinicke is a hell of a competitor, more athletic than a lot of people give him credit for, and someone all of Washington's roster respects. He's also generated a few memorable comebacks this season and no doubt deserves to be in the QB room in the future.
He just shouldn't be the top guy.
His limitations — he forces the ball too much (especially when behind), his weaker arm means he has to be perfect with his timing and he really gets exposed when there's pressure — come to the forefront more than his strengths do.
Heinicke's earned the right to keep developing in Washington, yet he's also lost the momentum to ascend beyond the second spot of the depth chart.
As for Allen, the organization dealt away a fifth-round pick for him after Rivera was hired, so the coach may as well toss him additional reps in Weeks 17 and 18. With the team all but eliminated from playoff contention, it can't hurt.
Plus, perhaps Allen can be a better distributor than Heinicke's been of late, which would help get the likes of Terry McLaurin more involved and assist in the evaluation of targets such as Dyami Brown.
Regardless of how Rivera divvies it up at signal caller, however — he declined Monday to detail what his exact outline is — it's difficult not to view the situation as... pointless.
The shine on Heinicke has worn off where it's not even that exciting to envision him as a bridge option for a rookie draftee, and Allen is a pending free agent who's thrown five touchdowns since joining the Burgundy and Gold. Neither guy is the guy.
"We'll see what happens this offseason because again, there's a lot of questions obviously at that position, and there's a lot of things that are gonna be happening this offseason whether it's on our roster, whether it's through free agency or through the draft," Rivera said Monday.
The "questions," like they always seem to do, remain. The answers, on the other hand, are somewhere. But one place they aren't is already in uniform in Washington.