Taylor Heinicke's winning touch puts Commanders in playoff contention

While defensive coaches are figuring out other midlevel NFL quarterbacks, Taylor Heinicke is 4-1 since taking the starting job in Washington, putting the Commanders in sight of the playoff picture.

Video Transcript

VOCH LOMBARDI: What's up, y'all? It's Voch Lombardi. Watch every second of the NFL season when and where you want it, only on DAZN.


So we're constantly learning lessons in the National Football League. A couple of weeks ago-- Y'all not allowed to miss episodes. You shouldn't have missed it. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the idea that, well, maybe you don't need a top tier quarterback to win football games.

And boy, looking back on it, I just sound a little foolish when I said that. But just hear me out, right? In my mind, maybe football was evolving into this league now where we can just play defense, we can run the football, and maybe you can have some mediocrity at quarterback and you'll be fine, right? I'm not saying that Geno Smith is mediocre at quarterback, but Geno Smith ain't Pat Mahomes.

Cooper Rush could possibly be mediocre at quarterback, but he went 4-1, right? But he's no Josh Allen, we understand that. At some point, you need good quarterbacks to do good quarterback things to push you over the edge. Why?

Because the league is always evolving. And I think last week it kind of proved that a little bit, right? We saw what happened to the Giants, the Jets and the Colts. These are teams that have been winning games here or there because of a stroke of luck, a stroke of genius, some pretty solid coaching, some running the football and some playing defense.

Now, when I say coaching and stroke of luck, I don't mean to point out Jeff Saturday and his Colts, but you understand what I'm saying here, right? Those three teams lost last week and I think it's simply because they ran out of super power energy at quarterback. If they had a little bit more, than maybe they would have won those games, especially the Colts versus the number one in the NFC Eagles. That game came strictly down to Matt Ryan just didn't have enough in him.

So I look at these teams and I wonder you know what went wrong for them, right? Why did they start this way and they didn't finish this way? It could be three things. You could be good for a little bit, but sustaining that goodness can be a problem for you.

The second thing is when you just run into better teams, better teams, they just tend to beat worse teams, that just happens, right? But my favorite win of them all, and this is the one that has been undefeated throughout all the years of National Football League history, even in college, right? Is these defensive coordinators always catch up to you. So if you're the Giants and Brian Daboll use up all of his super power energy to make that team, I look at the Giants, I never figured out how the Giants won games.

They just played opportunistic defense and they ran the ball with Saquon Barkley and they were good to go. But Brian Daboll used all his super powers to get that team in winning fashion multiple times this year. And then, look, shouts out to them. I'm proud of them.

But at some point, you need Daniel Jones to do something different. You need him to not be Daniel Jones every single week. That's the thing about it. Pat Mahomes can go and do something for six weeks, and then the next six weeks he'll go and be a whole different guy.

Same with guys like Lamar Jackson, same with guys like Dak Prescott. I'm talking my crap, y'all hang tight. And these quarterbacks are able to get that adversity and make the adjustment, right? We're looking at Justin Herbert as one of those guys.

As the young guy, and he's super talented, and he looks great, but then defensive coordinators get hands on you, and now you have to make that next level adjustment to get out of that hole. Well, guys like Zach Wilson and Daniel Jones and Matt Ryan, they haven't worked themselves out of that hole. And it's all because you've been on film enough, we know what you bring to the table. We know what you like to do, we know your tendencies, and this is where we tend to whoop up on you.

So I think now we're at this point going into the season, we're at Week 12 right now. I think by Week 12, I think that's when everybody kind of gets figured out, right? I would say that it takes about 10, maybe 11 games to finally get figured out. Then Taylor Heinicke ends up being 4-1, that's the big problem here.

Because once upon a time, this Washington Football Wizard team-- They're the Commanders, but I'm going to call them Wizards. Because I do what I like, rivalry stuff. This Washington team, they tried to lean on Ryan Fitzpatrick, and that wasn't going to be a thing that you can hold on to. And then they're going to the Carson Wentz experiment.

They chest got too big and they walked around like Carson Wentz is going to be that guy. But I have seen all Carson Wentz's movie. He indeed is not that guy. But ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Heinicke has been doing this for about three years now, right?

Every time Taylor Heinicke starts to play and he looks good and then they'll bench him for some dude that ain't good. And look, to be fair, Taylor Heinicke ain't good neither, but that dude just got that magical stuff called, "I go out and win somehow," right? And when you have a big cup of "I go out and win somehow", that trumps all of the talent that a guy like Carson Wentz may have. Carson Wentz still got better arm talent than most of these guys in the league, but he's Carson Wentz.

He has nothing in his cup of, "I just go out and win somehow." And he's not a great locker room guy. Teams don't really seem to play for him that well. The locker room just go, ugh, Carson Wentz.

But boy, Taylor Heinicke, right? Who is a playoff quarterback, by the way, and he lost a very close game to Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs. But whenever the Washington Football Team, whenever they lean on Taylor Heinicke, they just tend to win games. And Taylor Heinicke has forever been an evolving type of quarterback.

And I guess every time these defense coordinators tend to pick up on his trends, or they tend to try to figure him out, or they tend to try to find his weaknesses, the dadgum Washington Football Wizards, they just go and find a new quarterback. So they never really get that full book on Taylor Heinicke. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Heinicke is playing games and he is winning them.

He has W's against the Houston Texans, against the Indianapolis Colts, the Green Bay Packers, and y'all's beloved Philadelphia Eagles. That's not no mistake. Because I think if you play opportunistic football and you can run the ball, Taylor Heinicke will at least, at least not give the game away. He'll throw some interceptions here or there, because at the end of the day, he's not talented.

He's not super talented and he is Taylor Heinicke. He can throw the ball better than me, but compared to his peers, he is still Taylor Heinicke but. He won't really lose the game for you like a Carson Wentz guy will, right?

And then all of a sudden, the Washington Football Team has a winning record. And all the teams in the NFC East have winning records now. How annoying is that? I'm not saying to Taylor Heinicke he's going to go on this godly run, but look out for him at least.