Football Team

Heinicke isn't anxious at all about making first NFL road start

Football Team

Just three of Taylor Heinicke's 182 NFL pass attempts across the regular season and playoffs have come in road games. In 2018 with the Carolina Panthers, the quarterback threw one pass each in contests at Detroit, at Tampa Bay and at Cleveland, all as a reserve.

That means Sunday's trip to Buffalo will not only mark Heinicke's first-ever road start as a pro, but it'll also represent his first meaningful action of any kind in an opposing venue period. Every time he's come in as a reliever for the Panthers and Washington, he's done so in front of home fans, and the same applies to each time he's gotten the nod from the initial snap.

So, that'll be yet another thing for the rapidly-developing Heinicke to deal with now that he's the Burgundy and Gold's main signal caller. In addition to that particular obstacle, he needs to, as best as he can, stay healthy in Week 3 (and beyond) and also keep Washington relevant in the NFC East standings in Week 3 (and beyond).

When the topic of this upcoming career milestone of sorts came up on Tuesday, though, he didn't seem anxious at all about his weekend visit to Highmark Stadium.

"Not really," Heinicke responded to a question about if he's anticipating Sunday being any different than his past appearances at home. "It's going to be loud. There's going to be some silent count stuff that we're working on this week. It's a good defense and we're excited for the opportunity and the challenge."


Heinicke's coach, Ron Rivera, gave a similarly not-stressed answer during his Tuesday press conference.

"I don't expect an impact," Rivera said. "I don't think it should be that big of a deal. Again, I think that I’d classify that under 'interesting.'"

As far as Heinicke goes, it wasn't jarring in the least to hear him sound so calm about what'll be a very opposite-of-calm environment. He signed with his current franchise less than 10 months ago, and in his brief stint with Washington, he's already dueled with Tom Brady on a national stage, replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter of an opener and defeated a rival on a short week behind fourth-quarter heroics. 

Clearly, the achievements on that list all outweigh hopping on a plane and getting dressed in an unfamiliar locker room in terms of pressure.

One thing Heinicke is absolutely concerned with, however? Building on the major momentum he's generated under Rivera and coordinator Scott Turner. 

Thanks in large part to how effective he was against the Bucs last January and in his meeting with the Giants in Week 2, Heinicke's broken a record for number of completions by a quarterback in his first three starts. To put it bluntly: He's on freaking fire.

Yet Heinicke's sole priority is the future and what it holds as opposed to the stats and highlights he's posted in the past.

"My biggest thing is I don't want the success from last week to equal the non-success of this week," Heinicke said. "Sometimes a lot of people get caught up in how they played the previous week, and it hurts them the next week. So, we had a long weekend, it was nice to enjoy it, but once Sunday and Monday came around, it was time for Buffalo. So again, the biggest thing is to keep doing it every week and that’s the goal."

As evidenced by his quotes from Tuesday's session with the media, the "where" of his job doesn't carry much, if any, value to Heinicke. Instead, the "what" is the only piece that matters. Regardless of his feelings, it'll be intriguing to see how well the Heinicke Show travels.