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Ron Rivera: Carson Wentz will be 'primary backup' to Taylor Heinicke when cleared to play

There is no quarterback controversy in Washington. It's Taylor Heinicke's job.

Head coach Ron Rivera didn't entertain the thought of replacing Heinicke with Carson Wentz when the latter is medically cleared from his finger injury.

"I feel comfortable with Taylor," Rivera said Monday, per a team transcript. "When Carson's activated, he'll be the primary backup and we'll go from there."

Wentz has been out since suffering a finger injury in Week 6 in Chicago. The QB returned to practice on Nov. 23, opening his 21-day window to come off injured reserve. Washington went 2-4 with Wentz under center.

Since Heinicke took over, the Commanders are 5-1-1. However, the gunslinger hasn't exactly unlocked an offensive juggernaut, with Washington putting up 20 or fewer offensive points the past three weeks.

But Rivera doesn't see a QB change creating some sort of spark.

"I think this is who we are," Rivera said. "This is how we play. We're running the ball right now well, we're controlling the time of possession, we're keeping our defense fresh. There's some things, obviously, that could help but, I think right now, for where we are and who we are, I think we're in a good spot. I really do."

Even a layperson can see the Commanders are a more consistent operation with Heinicke under center. He may put the ball in harm's way at times, but no more so than Wentz. The undrafted quarterback's pocket presence is also much better than Wentz's.

Perhaps the biggest reason to stick with Heinicke is that he's shown the ability to get Terry McLaurin -- the Commanders' best playmaker -- the ball repeatedly. In six games with Wentz, McLaurin caught 22 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown. Since Heinicke took over, the WR's production spiked, catching 50 passes for 578 yards and two TDs in seven games.

"You take the good with the bad, but I think that's true with a lot of quarterbacks," Rivera said. "I don't think there's a whole bunch of guys that are out there that aren't making a mistake every now and then."

Heinicke isn't perfect, as we saw in Sunday's tie with New York, but he's stabilized a poor offense and helped get Washington into playoff contention. With four games remaining following a Week 14 bye, there is no reason to turn back to Wentz at this point, barring injury.

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