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Commanders Backup QB Taylor Heinicke Must Prepare to Start

Heinicke started 15 games for Washington last season.

The Washington Commanders made their intentions clear at the quarterback position when trading for Carson Wentz earlier this offseason.

The trade meant that last year's primary starter Taylor Heinicke would once again become the backup, but he knows how important that role can be.

As a backup quarterback, one has to be ready at a moment's notice to take over and be the team's leader. It's a moment Heinicke experienced first-hand during Week 1 last season against the Los Angeles Chargers.

With starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick injuring his hip, Heinicke took over the reins and started pretty much the rest of the season for the team. It was reminiscent of the season prior, when he took over for injured quarterback Alex Smith in a playoff game and became a fan favorite.

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"It's nice to have people root for you," Heinicke said. "And I think it all pretty much came from that Tampa Bay [Buccaneers] pylon dive and that game. So, again, you know, I'm just trying to do the best out there and do what I can."

Whether it's as the starter or the second-stringer, Heinicke is simply looking to perform to the best of his abilities. And history shows that there will be a moment during the season where Heinicke's number is called.

Only 11 of the 32 first-string quarterbacks in the NFL started every game last season, meaning two-thirds of the league relied on a backup signal-caller to start at least one game last season.

And if Heinicke gets that call, he'll be ready.