In this series I will grade and access the Washington Football Team roster. Today I will start with the quarterbacks.
The quarterback position going into the 2021 season was a question mark and at the end of the season the question was answered. This team needs a quality level starting quarterback to be successful. The team did find a quality backup and spot starter in Taylor Heinicke but his level of play held the offense back. Let’s take a look at each quarterback.
The Ryan Fitzpatrick era in Washington lasted a quarter and a half. The best play he gave the team was a deep pass where a pass interference was called in week 1. Fitzpatrick was to open up the offense and take shots and that never materialized with a season ending hip injury. Fitzpatrick was never to be a long term answer at quarterback he was to be a place holder who was cheap, while the roster was improved. Not sure if Fitzpatrick will retire but his time in Washington is over. Grade: I (Incomplete)
The hero of the Tampa Bay playoff game got to become a full time starter with the injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The biggest knock on Heinicke was his ability to stay healthy and Heinicke passed this with flying colors. There were some games where Heinicke took some shots and outside of the first Dallas Cowboys game, he finished every game. Heinicke’s strengths include playmaking and extending plays. Heinicke’s faults included holding the ball too long, taking unnecessary sacks, and limited arm strength. Heinicke had some ups and down and at times looked like a NFL starter, at other times he looked really bad. I think that’s who Heinicke is, a quality backup and a spot starter, nothing more and nothing less. Heinicke did solve one problem, he found the team a backup quarterback. Grade: C
The third string quarterback who was coming back from a bad leg injury was behind the other two quarterbacks in training camp. Allen was traded for a 5th round pick so it was assumed he would be in the quarterback mix. Allen only played in two games this season, both Dallas Cowboys games. Allen added different mobility but did not distinguish himself in his limited action. Even though some fans were calling for Allen to play, there was never any serious thought in playing Allen over Heinicke. Allen is not in the team’s plans in the future but maybe invited to camp next season. Grade: D+
When Covid ran rampant through the roster, both Heinicke and Allen landed on the list. Garrett Gilbert was signed off the New England Patriots practice squad on a Thursday night and he started a game on a Tuesday night. Gilbert did an admirable job in a very rushed and strange situation. Gilbert’s best skill is a strong arm which he was able to hit Terry McLaurin on a deep pass to set up a score. Gilbert showed some toughness and may warrant a camp invite, seeing that 3rd quarterbacks may become necessary (especially here in Washington.) Grade: C+
Assessment and Future
Needless to say, the Washington Football Team offense was hindered by average to below average quarterback play. The passing offense ranked 21st in yards and in this current NFL, this must improve. I think that Coach Rivera, Turner and staff understand this and fixing this position will become top priority in the offseason. I still think Coach Rivera will go after a huge name in free agency, I don’t know who that would be. If the team misses out on a top free agent, then the team will attack the draft. The only quarterback that should be on the roster next year is Taylor Heinicke as the backup. MAJOR UPGRADE NEEDED