Washington QB Taylor Heinicke has chance to cement his status as starter

Taylor Heinicke will start again on Sunday for the Washington Football Team versus the Bills, taking the place of injured quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If Heinicke continues to play the way he did last week, that starting stint could be a lengthy one.

Sources say that Heinicke does have a real chance to keep the job. Following the subluxation of his hip, Fitzpatrick should be healthy enough to return off injured reserve and be back on the active roster by mid-November.

In what role will be determined by Heinicke's play.

The former Old Dominion undrafted free agent, who famously paused business school to help WFT and give football one more shot, impressed in a close win over the Giants in his first start of 2021. He was 34 of 46 for 336 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Similarly, he was 11 of 15 for 122 yards with a TD in relief of Fitz in a loss to the Chargers in Week 1. Two opportunities, two performances that helped solidify his chances.

When coach Ron Rivera was with the Panthers, had Cam Newton been injured, there was no way Newton would've lost his job. This isn't quite like that, mostly because Fitz is new to the team and isn't the franchise starter. While no firm decisions have been made on another, this is clearly a different situation.

One reason why is because of the way the players react to Heinicke. Just a backup, Heinicke appears to have rallied his teammates, both on the sidelines and in the locker room. Chase Young is among the teammates who has been vocal in support of Heinicke, and he's not alone. They treat him as a leader.

Several people in the organization have noticed the rallying around Heinicke. If this trend continues, they'll have the opportunity to do plenty more going forward. Heinicke also can earn a little more money, as each win that includes 60 percent of the snaps gets him $125K in incentives.

Help may be on the way for Heinicke, too, as receiver Curtis Samuel (groin) should be able to start practicing this week off of injured reserve, giving him a chance to play in Week 4.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter@RapSheet

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