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‘Don’t try to be perfect’: Taylor Heinicke on getting out of his current funk

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Late last month, after a loss to the Buffalo Bills, Ron Rivera suggested he want quarterback Taylor Heinicke to play in a “more game manager way”. adjust on the fly and make sudden improvisations with both his arm and his legs.

The following weekend, Heinicke led Washington to a thrilling 34-30 win over his hometown Atlanta Falcons, displaying his impressive adaptability and improv skills. But in the two games since, losing both to Washington, the 28-year-old has done that less and less, trying to be, in his words, “too perfect.”

“I feel like I just tried to be perfect and make every play read the perfect text,” Heinicke told reporters on Wednesday. .”

Heinicke’s risk-taking was at an all-time low against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. The quarterback failed to get 200 passing yards in the loss, leading Washington to just 13 points against the previously 32nd-ranked Chiefs defense.

In fact, Heinicke’s performance against the Chiefs was so disappointing that Rivera was asked earlier this week if he would consider putting the former Old Dominion star on the bench for third-string Kyle Allen. The head coach strongly denied that and said he is confident Heinicke can turn things around.

Earlier this week, Heinicke met with some Washington coaches to discuss how they could change his approach going forward. Yes, Rivera wants Heinicke to be careful about football, but he also doesn’t want his signaller to limit his game and the on-the-fly improvisations that he proves to be so good at.

“It’s all about communication. I had a good chat with several coaches on Monday, and we sat down and had the conversation we needed to have and it was good for me,” Heinicke said. I think we’re all on the same page now. From there we continue. But again, they saw it too. I felt it, that was an exaggeration, I was just trying to be too perfect.’

Heinicke didn’t go into details about what was discussed during his meeting with his coaches, but it seems the quarterback left the meeting with a lot more confidence than he had before.

“It was nice to just sit down with those coaches, really clear things up and just have a fresh start,” he said. “It’s a new week. You can’t change what happened in the past two weeks. Let’s start with a clean slate this week and work to get better.

Heinicke exceeded all expectations when he blinded Washington in his starting spot for Alex Smith in the NFC Wild Card round against Tampa Bay last January. Then, earlier this year, he thrived against both the Giants and Falcons. In fact, he even gave Washington a shock when he replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1.

With all of Heinicke’s early success, it’s easy for anyone to forget that he’s only made seven NFL starts in his career. His struggles are now normal growing pains for many quarterbacks with so little experience.

“I think the most important thing is that you want to be yourself and play out there, but don’t make the bad decision. And that’s something you have to keep working on every week. I’m not making excuses,” Heinicke said.

“I’ve only started six games in the NFL,” Heinicke continued. “I’m still learning, but that’s no excuse for throwing the picks I’ve thrown. I’m still learning. I’m still learning things about myself, what I can and can’t do. facility every day and try to get better and learn. That’s how I approach it.

Throughout the season, Rivera has preached growth and development with his soccer team. It’s another reason why he continues to give Heinicke, a generally inexperienced quarterback, the chance to get better every week.

“It’s really about [Heinicke] growing and developing in our situation, so we will continue to work with him,” Rivera said. “I thought he did some good things. He didn’t have a good outing last week. He knows. He’s working on getting better this week and we’ll keep seeing how it goes.”

This week, Heinicke faces another tough challenge against a 5-1 Green Bay squad and a Packers defense starting to get going, even without All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander in the lineup. But when he races to Lambeau Field on Sunday, Heinicke has only one thing in mind: to be himself.

Just don’t try to be perfect,’ Heinicke said. “If there’s that first reading, take it, regardless of the coverage. If not, let’s just keep going. Maybe make a play and be smart about it. I think the most important thing is don’t be perfect, don’t think too much, just play football like you’ve been doing all your life.

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