The Washington Football Team has named Garrett Gilbert as the starting quarterback for its Week 15 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gilbert, who Washington signed off the New England Patriots' practice squad last week after Taylor Heinicke was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, previously played for Ron Rivera when he was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
"His recall's been very good," Rivera said of Gilbert's comfort level in Washington's offensive system. "The game planning specific things it's really helped not just him, but I think it's helping the coaches get a good handle and feel for what he does really well and what he can adapt to and adjust with. It's also given him an opportunity to watch a little bit more film and see a little bit more as to, to what to expect from them on the defensive side."
Gilbert was the veteran option for Washington, which signed him, Jordan Ta'amu in addition to having Kyle Shurmur on the practice squad, when it received the news that Heinicke might not be available against the Eagles. The 2014 sixth-round pick began his career with the Rams franchise before joining the Patriots' practice squad late in December of his rookie season. He spent time with the Detroit Lions and Raiders before coming to Carolina, where he served as Kyle Allen's backup in the last game of the 2018 season and made his debut when Allen left the game with an injury. He completed two passes for 40 yards.
Gilbert then spent time in the now-defunct AAF with the Orlando Apollos before seeing time with the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.
It's been a couple years, Gilbert said, since he was in Turner's system, but he's been in a number of schemes in his career, so re-learning Washington's Air Coryell-based offense is within his ability.
"Most things sound familiar to me," Gilbert said. "So it's about recollecting all those words and putting meaning back with them. But the good news is that I'm starting from square one. All the words definitely have meaning to me, which helps me get a nice little baseline."
Gilbert hasn't attempted a pass since Week 9 of the 2020 season, when he was playing for the Cowboys, but he will have a more complete offense to work with. In addition to having Sam Cosmi, Washington's standout rookie right tackle, back from Injured Reserve, Terry McLaurin cleared the concussion protocols and will be available. Cam Sims, who was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list last week, will also be on the field.
Gilbert was giving his daughter a bath when he received the call that Washington was signing him. Now he's starting for the Burgundy & Gold in a game that has heavy playoff implications.