Heading into the final game of the NFL’s regular season, everything indicated that Taylor Heinicke would be the starting quarterback for the Washington Commanders in Week 18. That’s not going to be the case, though, and it’s apparently at the request of the gunslinger himself.
Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Commanders intended to start Heinicke for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. But the quarterback suggested that rookie Sam Howell get the nod.
“The expectation about which QB would start for Washington shifted from Taylor Heinicke to Sam Howell late this morning, per sources,” Fowler reported. “Heinicke, who had received indications that he was in line to start, believed Howell was deserving of a full game and relayed that to coaches.”
You don’t often hear that in the NFL, especially at quarterback. Guys are constantly battling for new contracts, roster spots and depth chart position. For Heinicke to relinquish that opportunity is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Assuming Washington moves forward with Howell, it will be the first start of his NFL career. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Commanders.
Heinicke has played in nine games this year, throwing for 1,859 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Commanders Debut New Mascot ‘Major Tuddy’
As the Commanders coaching staff figures out the quarterback situation, the Washington front office handled some much more important matters. Last week, the organization unveiled a new mascot … Major Tuddy.
The mascot — which very few people asked for — is essentially an oversized plush pig wearing a military hat. It’s a nod to the die-hard Washington fans who regularly wore hog noses and other strange getups to games for many years.
So, there is some relevance to the new mascot. Still, fans had some thoughts about the new addition to the organization.
“They continue to fail,” one fan said. “Worst marketing team in pro sports.”
Another individual on Twitter added, “And the crowd goes ‘meh.’” A third chimed in, saying, “Who rolls out a new mascot on the second to last game of the season.”