Football Team

'We've never seen Taylor as the backup': Logan Thomas on Heinicke

Football Team

When Ryan Fitzpatrick was blindsided with a hit that drove his right hip into the FedExField grass on Sunday, it became Taylor Heinicke time. 

Just like that, one moment wiped away all the offseason expectations and hope that Fitzpatrick would help deliver the Burgundy and Gold a rare defense of its NFC East title. With four different starting quarterbacks in 2018, three different starters in 2019, plus the three starters from coach Ron Rivera's first season at the helm in 2020, it would have been easy for the offense to feel sorry for itself. 

Still, the offense didn't get deflated. Instead, with the way Heinicke rose to the occasion with his opportunity under center last season, the team was provided a spark. Washington tight end Logan Thomas explained why in an interview with Washington Football Team Insider JP Finlay.

"We've never seen Taylor as the backup. Not even in the spring," Thomas told Finlay. The full interview will air on Washington Football Kickoff Live, beginning 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington ahead of the team's Week 2 game against the Giants. "For us, he was just another quarterback, co-1 is how we saw it. He proved it last year when he played. Obviously Fitz was the starter going into it, but we knew we were in good hands if something bad happened." 

Remembering the type of spark Heinicke provided in Washington's first-round exit to the eventual Super Bowl champions in just his second start after getting signed to the practice squad last December won't be hard for Washington fans. 

 

Heinicke almost beat Tampa Bay with his legs, scrambling his way for 46 yards and a rushing touchdown, plus 306 yards and another TD through the air. 

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"On the field, he's a lightning rod, you never know what you're going to get with the guy. He'll tell you if you ever talked to him that his favorite player was Brett Favre growing up and you see some of that improvisation from him," Thomas said. "And off the field, that's just who he is, man. I've said it before, he's an old soul. He just kind of holds himself that way. A good man and one of my best friends." 

Another one of Thomas' good friends on the team is Fitzpatrick, who'll be on the injured reserve list for at least the next three weeks with a right hip subluxation. 

"Obviously he's upset not being able to be on the field going to war. He's going to be fine. He's a competitor, he's a warrior. He'll come back stronger," Thomas said. 

"We feel bad for Ryan, but we can't feel bad for ourselves. That's where we move forward with Taylor, and we know Taylor is going to do a great job and we're very much excited to put that product on the field."

Despite limited experience, it didn't take long for Heinicke to seize his chance as a leader for Washington this week. Washington's No. 4 got fired up breaking down the pre-practice huddle on Tuesday. 

"He was saying 'let's get ready to go' for practice today," Thomas said. "We've got a division game this week. We've got to get to 1-0 in the division if we wanted to win the division, and he was excited for his turn to be the starter." 

See the full interview Thursday on Washington Football Kickoff Live, which starts 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington ahead of the team's game against the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football.