Taylor Heinicke will make it hard for the Washington Football team to hand the starting position back over to Ryan Fitzpatrick once he’s ready to return from a hip injury. Heinicke leading Washington to a come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday was reminiscent of former Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo. If Heinicke continues to play this way, there won’t be any decision; Fitzpatrick will be the backup moving forward.
Now I realize Heinicke to Romo isn’t an exact comparison, and more like Granny Smith vs Golden Delicious apples. Yes, both apples have a little different flavor but are still quite similar overall. Watching Heinicke and some of the plays he’s been able to make since taking over for Fitzpatrick reminds me of a young Romo in his first couple of years as the starter.
Both quarterbacks went undrafted out of smaller schools (Old Dominion Heinicke, Eastern Illinois for Romo) for and were never expected to make it in the NFL, especially not as starting QBs. They were both forced into action after the starting QB was put out due to injury (Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe).
Their style of play on the field is similar in the way both guys are great at making something happen when a play breaks down. Whether it’s extending the play with their legs or narrowly escaping a defender to throw a touchdown. Heinicke and Romo have been the driving force on plays they shouldn’t have been able to make.
Here’s vintage Romo making J.J. Watt look silly.
In the comeback over the Falcons Sunday, Heinicke led Washington on two late scoring drives en route to a 34-30 road win. Romo was no stranger to come-from-behind wins either during his time in Dallas. Tony ranks 17th all-time with 24 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, and 21st all-time with 29 game-winning drives. Cowboys fans were witness to many Romo comebacks while he starred in Big D.
The Heinicke era is just getting started in Washington, but it seems the Football Team may have found its QB for at least the next couple years in a guy no one expected anything out of. What Romo accomplished with the Cowboys goes overlooked, since today it’s all about winning a championship. If you don’t win a ring, then your career means nothing to most people now. This just isn’t true.
It is hard to make it in the NFL. The average career length of an NFL player is 3.3 years. For quarterbacks, it’s a little longer at 4.4 years, but still not very long. For Romo, not being drafted and hanging around at the highest level as long as he did is an accomplishment. Some No. 1 picks never win rings, and many of them still have great careers. If Heinicke’s career ceiling is Tony Romo’s, that isn’t a bad thing. Another guy who was slept on by the league, went undrafted, then came in and took the league by storm. That’s not a bad storyline at all.