Earlier on Wednesday, a report indicated the Commanders were switching back to Taylor Heinicke to start their final game of the season against the Cowboys.
We now know that the report was wrong.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera announced in his Wednesday press conference that rookie Sam Howell will be QB1 for the team’s season finale.
Heinicke will serve as the backup while Carson Wentz has been demoted to the No. 3 quarterbacks after starting last week’s loss to Cleveland.
Rivera noted that Heinicke would likely get the start if Washington had not been eliminated in the postseason race. And that first career starts tend to be a bit of a circus in certain situations.
“At the end of the day, at some point, if Sam ever gets an opportunity to be a starter, this would be the chance — why not get it over with now and go from there?” Rivera said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. “But the most important thing is we’re really intrigued in terms of watching and seeing what Sam can do as a quarterback in this league.”
The Commanders selected Howell with the 144th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2022 draft. He has not made an appearance so far this season, but he did complete 62.3 percent of his passes for 547 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the preseason. He also rushed for 94 yards with a pair of TDs.
Wentz heads back to the bench after posting a 31.4 passer rating and three picks in Week 17. The Commanders were eliminated from the playoffs after losing and the other Sunday results.
Heinicke went 5-3-1 as a starter this season, completing 62.2 percent of his passes for 1,859 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.