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Taylor Heinicke Discussion


Kel Varnsen

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High Point


Post all your Taylor Heinicke talk here. This is the place to discuss how good he is or whatever your opinion of him is. Until he gets on the field, this is the place to have that discussion.

Here are Heinicke's career stats:

YearTmGGSQBrecCmpAttCmp%YdsTDIntSkYds
2017HOU10111001000116
2018CAR610-1-0355761.432013217
2020WAS10121963.21371017
2021WAS16157-8321494653419201538278
Career24167-936957164.63886221842318
2 yrsWAS17157-833351364.93556211539285
1 yrCAR610-1-0355761.432013217
1 yrHOU1011100100


Here is last season's game log:

 

SkinsOrlando

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Not being facetious but, yeah the over the top hyperbole headline starts off on the wrong tone. I'll stick by what I've said before, no qb is surviving behind this o line with this play calling and lack of using the run. Could Taylor win us some games, sure, so could Wentz, if the coaches don't adapt I think it'd end with the same record at the end of the season.
 

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I updated the thread title. I only planned to keep it that way for a bit just to give everyone a laugh. But seriously, let's keep the discussion about Heinicke here so we don't hijack the other threads.
 

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One point made on Heinicke that rings true for me is that he has only had one full season and is not a finished product. For a guy off the street he performed admirably. Having acknowledged that - the discussion then has to move to whether his occasional struggles were due to inherent physical limitations or due to a natural rookie learning curve? His perceived limitations (for those willing to consider them) include his short stature (which for all shorter QBs is a detriment as it makes it very hard to see downfield), his seeming inability to make all of the throws required at the NFL level with velocity, and his reckless tendency to take off.

I think his lack of size and his (at best) average arm strength are real issues. Arm strength is not the end all/be all - this is true. Accuracy and decision-making are far more important and I would say that Heinicke was above average as a rookie starters in those areas. But not being able to get the ball downfield at times or not being able to deliver the ball with velocity unless his feet are perfectly set, we've seen the advantage that gives defenders. Heinicke is a serious rushing threat and that's great, but he has and would likely continue to put himself at risk numerous times during the season. That raises durability and availability concerns.

The dilemma (and we saw this clearly evidenced in his only season as a starter) is that it is Heinicke's mobility and ability to operate as a RPO QB that makes him special. There is no question that he can make something electric happen with his feet. But his small stature and reckless disregard for his own welfare make that a very risky proposition. In 2021 it appeared that the coaching staff was trying to reign in that aspect of his game for obvious reasons, and while that kept him on the field, Heinicke is not particularly effective when using his feet as a weapon is taken off the table. My personal opinion - if they choose to give Heinicke another shot (or are forced to) at some point, they need to take off the reigns. If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. But he does not possess the arm talent alone to be very effective when opponents know he is not a risk to take off on them.

The last thing I will say, and this is the reason I would've been okay if the team had elected to give Heinicke another season or two and build around him... Heinicke has *something* that is very difficult to find in a QB. That 'intangible' gamer mentality that allows him, despite his physical shortcomings, to frequently over-achieve. To do things, by moxie and force-of-will, that no one anticipates him capable of doing. He gets every ounce of potential out of the gifts he was given. On the field, the guy is a warrior. As I said many times early in Heinicke's DC career - when he came on the field you could just see and feel the guys around him reacting to him. They love and respect him and sometimes that can make a big difference.

Ultimately, the team has to decide whether Heinicke's positive attributes are sufficient to overcome the measureable barriers to success. Last offseason, they decided they were not. And they went and got a QB who they believe has the things Heinicke lacks. Whether that was the wrong decision, I can't yet say.

Heinicke has only had one season as a starter. It's absolutely valid to point out. QBs take time to reach their potential NFL ceiling. In a nutshell, it's true that future great QBs may look flawed and ineffective at times due to their early inexperience. But it's also true that most QBs who look flawed and ineffective early in their careers do not end up having long NFL careers as starters. Innate ability and talent are always going to be the most important factors in that equation. And that's the basis on which many question whether Heinicke can be the exception.
 

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The question we all want to know is, at what point do you insert Heinicke in, this season ?
And the answer there is - you don't. Not unless Carson is injured.

Taylor said it in pre-season - you don't give up 2 draft picks and pay a guy $28 million to sit the bench. Honestly, I don't like that answer because I am a meritocracy kind of guy. I believe the right to play should be earned but that just isn't the reality in today's NFL.
 

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And the answer there is - you don't. Not unless Carson is injured.

Taylor said it in pre-season - you don't give up 2 draft picks and pay a guy $28 million to sit the bench. Honestly, I don't like that answer because I am a meritocracy kind of guy. I believe the right to play should be earned but that just isn't the reality in today's NFL.
Agree on all fronts. And that response also illustrates how smart, savvy, and professional Heinicke is.
 

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Heinicke, for all intents and purposes, was a rookie with more playbook study time, but not live action time.

Some QBs are ready year one or two. Others take three or four seasons(Tua, Josh Allen).

Heinicke being short, does suffer from that physical limitation in that he cannot see some things. But similar to Russell Wilson, he's got some wheels to extend plays and put strain on opposing coverages. He did make some "gamer" throws last season, which is something we really haven't seen a lot of, not even from the likes of Cousins.

And the playoff performance obviously won the respect of the room, which is a key intangible.

Would I pick Heinicke over a Joe Burrow or from what I have seen from Kenny Pickett? Nope. They got more going for them. But he's definitely above the levels of Teddy Bridgewater or Mitchell Trubisky.
 

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And the answer there is - you don't. Not unless Carson is injured.

Taylor said it in pre-season - you don't give up 2 draft picks and pay a guy $28 million to sit the bench. Honestly, I don't like that answer because I am a meritocracy kind of guy. I believe the right to play should be earned but that just isn't the reality in today's NFL.
So if Carson goes the next 4 games in a row, with repeated, game-changing mistakes, that directly lead to losses, while the rest of the team does their job, and it becomes clear he won't be leading us anywhere, you still want to keep him in ?
At some point, when it gets to extreme extremes, the money thing has to become irrelevant.
The money issue gives him a lot more latitude, but it shouldn't be unlimited latitude. That just doesn't sound like the wisest management.
It's a business, but it's also a game at the same time.
There has to be a threshold, no matter how far, where the money is no longer an issue.
 

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So if Carson goes the next 4 games in a row, with repeated, game-changing mistakes, that directly lead to losses, while the rest of the team does their job, and it becomes clear he won't be leading us anywhere, you still want to keep him in ?
At some point, when it gets to extreme extremes, the money thing has to become irrelevant.
The money issue gives him a lot more latitude, but it shouldn't be unlimited latitude. That just doesn't sound like the wisest management.
It's a business, but it's also a game at the same time.
When it comes to starting QBs is it though? Is it really?

Very few NFL coaches today will sit their starting QB for anything other than injury.

In this case, both QBs have limitations. If I'm the Washington coaching staff, I'm likely to think Carson will get better with more reps in what is a completely new offense for him. I want him to play because I have a decision to make in the off-season about whether I am keeping him or not since I can get out of his contract for nothing in March. For that reason, I want him to get all the reps he can so I have the largest body of work with which to make my decision.

And we have yet to have a game where Carson was solely responsible for the loss. That doesn't happen in football. There are always mistakes by other players that lead to dropped points.

I would never suggest that this team tank a season but I think it's pretty obvious that we aren't going to compete for anything this year. Knowing that, the season becomes about developing guys and gaining an understanding about what we have in each player.
 

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Yeah, gotta agree with Neophyte. I think it's likely that they have zero intention of sitting Wentz under any circumstances. They have to make a determination as to whether to move forward with him or not. Only way to do that is to have him out there.
 

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If the season continues in this fashion, I believe Wentz will continue to play until the team’s math wizards determine that he will account for 69% of the offensive snaps. 🤓
 

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Unless the play calling changes, who cares whose behind center, we don't have the resources/talent with the big fatties upfront to perform Turner's "pipe dream" offense of 5-7 step drops and running the ball only to essentially give the receivers a breather after running 30 yards down field all the time. Heinicke is not Kurt Warner nor Romo in reference to (UDFA) in arm strength which we have the wideouts built for, his grit is strong and that is easily seen but the overall ability is not. Again, I'm not saying he won't play this year but I will say this, he can only evade for so long and he's going to be beaten up very quickly, same reason I don't want to see Howell. Let Wentz take the beating for 28 million, least he's got a comfortable bank account for the brain damage he's taking on.
 

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One point made on Heinicke that rings true for me is that he has only had one full season and is not a finished product. For a guy off the street he performed admirably. Having acknowledged that - the discussion then has to move to whether his occasional struggles were due to inherent physical limitations or due to a natural rookie learning curve? His perceived limitations (for those willing to consider them) include his short stature (which for all shorter QBs is a detriment as it makes it very hard to see downfield), his seeming inability to make all of the throws required at the NFL level with velocity, and his reckless tendency to take off.
I think the problem here is that he's not 22. He's 29. You just don't have the luxury of waiting around for him to reach his ultimate potential. The guys who afforded years to develop and improve are rookies (true rookies) who are playing on rebuilding teams. Heinicke was neither of those things.

The other thing I'd point out here is that the things you see improvement on given more playing time (instinct, pocket presence, football IQ, mental toughness) ... he's got all of those things already. That is why I said we are seeing his top-end now. The things he doesn't have (size, durability, arm strength) aren't going to get better as he gets older.

I think his lack of size and his (at best) average arm strength are real issues. Arm strength is not the end all/be all - this is true. Accuracy and decision-making are far more important and I would say that Heinicke was above average as a rookie starters in those areas. But not being able to get the ball downfield at times or not being able to deliver the ball with velocity unless his feet are perfectly set, we've seen the advantage that gives defenders. Heinicke is a serious rushing threat and that's great, but he has and would likely continue to put himself at risk numerous times during the season. That raises durability and availability concerns.
So yeah. All of this. :)

The dilemma (and we saw this clearly evidenced in his only season as a starter) is that it is Heinicke's mobility and ability to operate as a RPO QB that makes him special. There is no question that he can make something electric happen with his feet. But his small stature and reckless disregard for his own welfare make that a very risky proposition. In 2021 it appeared that the coaching staff was trying to reign in that aspect of his game for obvious reasons, and while that kept him on the field, Heinicke is not particularly effective when using his feet as a weapon is taken off the table. My personal opinion - if they choose to give Heinicke another shot (or are forced to) at some point, they need to take off the reigns. If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. But he does not possess the arm talent alone to be very effective when opponents know he is not a risk to take off on them.
The bolded part is why he makes such a great backup. Because he can afford to play with the reckless abandon that makes him so effective. As a full-time starter he has to protect himself, and, as you say, that takes away his running game which limits him.

The last thing I will say, and this is the reason I would've been okay if the team had elected to give Heinicke another season or two and build around him... Heinicke has *something* that is very difficult to find in a QB. That 'intangible' gamer mentality that allows him, despite his physical shortcomings, to frequently over-achieve. To do things, by moxie and force-of-will, that no one anticipates him capable of doing. He gets every ounce of potential out of the gifts he was given. On the field, the guy is a warrior. As I said many times early in Heinicke's DC career - when he came on the field you could just see and feel the guys around him reacting to him. They love and respect him and sometimes that can make a big difference.
I love this about Heinicke. He's got moxie. He's a gamer. He's Brett Favre without all the physical tools (and ... other baggage). It's hard not to root for a guy like him. If he does start some time this season I will be 100% in the tank for him. I love to see players like him succeed.

Ultimately, the team has to decide whether Heinicke's positive attributes are sufficient to overcome the measureable barriers to success. Last offseason, they decided they were not. And they went and got a QB who they believe has the things Heinicke lacks. Whether that was the wrong decision, I can't yet say.
Well, I thought the Wentz trade was terrible. I still think so. I would have much rather stuck with Heinicke and drafted someone.

But, due to his limitations, I don't think Heinicke would have ever been more than a stop-gap. I don't disagree with the front office on that.

Heinicke has only had one season as a starter. It's absolutely valid to point out. QBs take time to reach their potential NFL ceiling. In a nutshell, it's true that future great QBs may look flawed and ineffective at times due to their early inexperience. But it's also true that most QBs who look flawed and ineffective early in their careers do not end up having long NFL careers as starters. Innate ability and talent are always going to be the most important factors in that equation. And that's the basis on which many question whether Heinicke can be the exception.
And this is a good point as well. For every QB that looks promising for a season and becomes a Franchise QB, there are three or four that crash and burn. I think Heinicke probably is as advertised. As I said above, he's not a babe in the woods. He's been in league awhile. I'd love to be able to keep him around for awhile. He's a perfect backup.
 

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It's just a guess but I'd be willing to bet that knowing how things turned out in the draft, Ron and Co would have done things differently this off-season. They would have skipped the deal for Wentz and drafted Pickett, thereby getting their QB of the future while keeping those draft picks and having the funds to keep the band together. Taylor would have been the starter this year and been in line for an extension for more money. However, I think everyone was convinced that Pickett was going to be drafted in the Top 5 and was therefore untouchable by us.

When our turn to draft came around and he was still there, we were already committed to draft picks and $28 million for Carson.
 

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I know I speak for Om as well - but they should have drafted Pickett anyway. I'm with Mark - that's a miss that may haunt us for the next decade plus.
 

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Maybe but I understand why they didn't. I'm not sure I could/would have pulled the trigger on that after what we gave up for Carson.
 

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Once the trade for Wentz was made the fate of the QB position was sealed.

Such a bad trade 🤨
 

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Not being facetious but, yeah the over the top hyperbole headline starts off on the wrong tone. I'll stick by what I've said before, no qb is surviving behind this o line with this play calling and lack of using the run. Could Taylor win us some games, sure, so could Wentz, if the coaches don't adapt I think it'd end with the same record at the end of the season.
Worthless Eagles fans used to say the same thing about Wentz. They always tried to make excuses for his constant sacks and his constant fumbling. The smart Eagles fans finally won out.

Wentz has more fumbles than any QB in the past 7 years and he is also among the leaders in taking sacks. At some point, any fan with more than 10 brain cells should be able to put 2 and 2 together and understand what the REAL problem is.
 
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