Washington won't have top 2 QBs vs. Eagles; Garrett Gilbert to start


The NFL pushed back the Eagles-Washington game two days but Washington still won’t have its top two quarterbacks.

Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen are out for Tuesday night’s game against the Eagles at the Linc.

Both Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen are back in Washington and they hoped to test negative and hop on a private jet. But they both tested positive for COVID-19 again.

That means veteran Garrett Gilbert will start tonight.

Without Heinicke and Allen, the Eagles are now 9.5-point favorites, according to PointsBet.

As of Tuesday morning, Washington head coach Ron Rivera said on 106.7 TheFan that both Heinicke and Allen were tested once already and were set to be tested again. Two tests is the maximum.

“You feel like you have a chance but you just never know,” Rivera said. “Nobody can predict this. We’ve just gotta go through this and do the protocols and we’ll see what happens. That’s the biggest thing that everybody has to understand. There’s no telling what’s going to happen. You just kind of hope from the best and we’ll go from there.”

Allen went on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday and Heinicke followed him two days later. So you’d assume Allen would be closer to returning, but that’s not always how this works.

There are a lot of unknowns and that can be frustrating for players and coaches.

The WFT signed Gilbert, 30, on Friday. Gilbert has familiarity with Ron Rivera from his time in Carolina in 2017-18. In his career, Gilbert has started just one game and that game for the Cowboys last season; they lost 24-19 to the Steelers. In that game, Gilbert completed 21 of 38 passes for 243 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

Washington has had Kyle Shurmur on their practice squad since September, but it’s clear Gilbert will be the guy if Heinicke and Allen are out.

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“Garrett played for us in Carolina,” Rivera said. “He actually played for us in a couple of games so he has a lot of familiarity with what we do. He came back and picked up everything right away. Last year, if you watch the Cowboys-Pittsburgh game, he played a heckuva game and they lost, almost won. He’s a very steady quarterback, has a good arm, good arm strength to make all the throws. We’ve got some good familiarity with him so that was the thing we felt most comfortable with.”

Heinicke, 28, has been Washington’s starter for most of the season after Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered an injury early in the season. Heinicke has led Washington to a 6-6 record and has had some really good moments. He’s thrown for 2,931 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Before last weekend’s loss to the Cowboys, Heinicke had been playing ver well. During Washington’s four-game win streak, he completed 77.3% of his passes for 881 yards with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His passer rating in that span was 110.0. But aside from COVID issues, Heinicke also suffered knee and elbow injuries and had been dealing with them during the week.

Allen, 25, got his first game action of 2021 last week against the Cowboys. He completed 4 of 9 passes for 53 yards in relief of Hienicke in Washington’s loss.

In his career, Allen has a 7-10 record. He has completed 62.8% of his passes with 23 touchdowns and 17 interceptions and a career passing rating of 84.1.

“I’m looking forward to tonight,” Rivera said. “I don’t know who’s going to be available until 4 o’clock. But I will tell you, all we need is all we have.”

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