Dwayne Haskins. Kyle Allen. Alex Smith. … Taylor Heinicke?
The Washington Soccer Crew QB carousel was among the many most intriguing tales in soccer this 12 months, and that has adopted them into the NFL playoffs. Heinicke, the newest backup, is beginning instead of an injured Alex Smith (calf) in Washington’s matchup vs. the Buccaneers throughout wild-card weekend.
Although, Heinicke’s title might be extra recognizable than that of Rams quarterback John Wolford — the journeyman backup has extra expertise than his West Coast counterpart. Heinicke has appeared in NFL video games with three totally different franchises, taken snaps in follow for at the very least 4, and even spent a spell within the XFL.
Here is what you must know in regards to the quarterback who’s hoping to push Washington to its first playoff victory in 15 years:
Who’s Tyler Heinicke?
Heinicke — pronounced high-nah-key — is a product of Outdated Dominion College, the place he was a four-year starter because the Monarchs’ QB. In these 4 years, Heinicke accomplished over 67 p.c of his passes for 14,959 yards and 132 touchdowns.
Heinicke went undrafted within the 2015 NFL Draft, finally signing a contract with the Vikings. He would go on to win the third-string job and keep on with Minnesota till being launched for harm in 2017. He spent a couple of month with the Patriots quickly after that; he was finally launched in October 2017.
The journeyman backup made his NFL debut in November 2017 with the Texans, changing an injured T.J. Yates. He accomplished his solely move earlier than being checked for a concussion, ending his transient keep as Houston quarterback. The Texans waived Heinicke the next April.
Heinicke bought an prolonged look as a member of Ron Rivera’s Panthers in 2018 after Carolina claimed him on waivers. Whereas he appeared in six video games backing up Cam Newton, he solely began one, a Week 16 matchup vs. the Falcons during which he suffered an elbow harm. He accomplished 33 of 57 passes with a landing and three interceptions on the day. Heinicke was changed by future Washington quarterback Kyle Allen. The Panthers finally re-signed Heinicke after which launched him the next August.
He discovered himself within the XFL in 2020 as a member of the St. Louis BattleHawks however didn’t see any motion on the sector. He as soon as once more turned a free agent after the league suspended operations.
Heinicke made his return to the NFL in 2020, once more taking part in below Rivera, however this time with Washington. He was signed to the follow squad on Dec. 8 earlier than finally being elevated to the energetic roster as Dwayne Haskins’ backup. Heinicke would exchange the benched Haskins in a Week 16 matchup vs. the Panthers, finishing 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a landing in Washington’s loss.
That might be his solely motion for the 2020 season — till Saturday evening, when he bought the nod for a hobbled Smith.