The Washington Football Team has begun preparations for its second straight NFC East matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, and it got some good news about its starting quarterback.
Taylor Heinicke, who left the game in the fourth quarter, was a full participant during Wednesday's practice. Heinicke told reporters he was a little sore, but he feels good after receiving treatment for the previous three days.
When it comes to his status for Sunday, it's so far, so good for Heinicke.
"I feel good," Heinicke said. "I should be fine on Sunday. I felt good today at practice. Everything's pretty smooth sailing right now."
Heinicke left the game with just under 13 minutes left against the Dallas Cowboys after being taken down for a 10-yard sack. Heinicke dealt knee and elbow injuries in the Week 14 game, but the latter was the only ailment that showed up on Washington's injury report.
After practice, head coach Ron Rivera sounded encouraged by what he saw from Heinicke.
"It looks like it," Rivera said on whether Heinicke would play on Sunday. "He practiced well today. I know there was some concern about his elbow. More so than anything else, it's been sore. He's treated it in the last three days and then came out today and really didn't seem to have any issues."
Heinicke's progress is a definitive positive ahead of Sunday's game with the Eagles. Washington is in the midst of a playoff push, and Philadelphia is right behind the team in the standings with the same 6-7 record.
The Eagles haven't been on quite the same run as Washington, which suffered its first loss in more than a month to the Cowboys last Sunday, but they have seen some similar success. They've won four of their last six after starting the season 2-6, and since their 33-22 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, they've averaged 30 points per game.
Against the Cowboys, Washington didn't look like the surging, resilient team it became during its four-game win streak. Heinicke owns a piece of that loss, as his two turnovers led to 14 points for Dallas and highlighted an 11-of-15, 122 yard performance from the quarterback that also included a touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Assuming Heinicke will be ready to go on Sunday, the game will offer a chance for him and the offense to get back on track.
"Everyone took a turn, whether it was me making a poor decision or there was a missed block or a holding, a wrong route or a drop ball, you know, we all just took our turn and we couldn't get the ball rolling," Heinicke said. "It's tough to beat a good team like that when you're beating yourself. The biggest thing for us is just to have a short memory, come back this week and try and build on it and get back to where we were."
Here are Washington's options if Heinicke isn't available against the Eagles: as it stands, Kyle Shurmur would be the backup with Kyle Allen on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The team also added Jordan Ta’amu to the practice squad on Wednesday.
"He's got a little quick twitch," Rivera said. "He makes good decisions. He's very smart, very bright. He's got a football mind, so he's picked everything up well. He's got decent command as he steps in. I mean, you haven't seen a lot of him, but you watched him in the huddles today. I thought he did a nice job getting the play calls out and getting everybody lined up and ready to go."
Washington will continue to monitor Heinicke throughout the week, but Wednesday was a good start.
"I threw the ball and my elbow didn't hurt while I was throwing," Heinicke said. "All around good news."