Why Ron Rivera is comfortable with WFT's current quarterback situation


The Washington Football Team elected not to address the quarterback position during the NFL Draft this past weekend. But was this a wise decision, given their roster needs and current standing in the up-for-grabs NFC East?

Washington head coach Ron Rivera believes so. He's comfortable with the group of quarterbacks already on their roster. He's confident in veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick taking the reins this upcoming season, while younger players at other positions continue to develop.

"[Ryan] is a veteran guy who understands and gets it. He's a guy who can set the example for our young quarterbacks, to help kind of guide them along the way," Rivera told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "And he's done that a couple of times at the last two stops that he's had. So, that's one of the things that was very attractive about him... We looked at [possibly drafting a quarterback]. We looked at the options and stuff like that. But, quite honestly, we felt the other option for us was to build the rest of the pieces and put those in play.

"And who's to say if Ryan does play well and he's got a lot left, why don't you bring him back? We don't know what's going to happen. We've got to go out, compete, and see what happens this year."

Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year deal worth up to $12 million back in mid-March, is expected to enter training camp as Washington's starter. In nine games (seven starts) with the Miami Dolphins last season, the 38-year-old completed 68.5-percent of his passes for 2,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also served as the de-facto bridge quarterback for first-round rookie Tua Tagovailoa.

In 2021, Fitzpatrick will once again assume this placeholder-type role, with Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen competing for the backup job.

Perhaps Heinicke already has a leg up on Allen, as he started Washington's wild-card round matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January and completed 26-of-44 passes for 306 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

"I see the same type of dynamic player. That's who he is," Rivera said of Heinicke. "He's a guy who's done a nice job coming out of college, and when he's had his opportunities, he's shown pretty well."

By not drafting a potential quarterback of the future, Washington still resembles a potential trade suitor for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, should the Green Bay Packers choose to move him this spring or summer.

When asked about the rumors surrounding the reigning league MVP, Rivera declined to comment. But he did mention that a team interested in trading for an established, franchise quarterback like Rodgers has to make sure the move "doesn't throw things off in the other direction."

Fitzpatrick would be the franchise's 32nd starting quarterback since it last won the Super Bowl following the 1991 season.

The entire conversation between Rivera and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.