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Next Man Up: Taylor Heinicke Joins PJ Walker as XFL QBs starting in Week 7

Another man down means another XFL star gets another opportunity. After the Thursday night debacle between the Commanders and the Bears, Commanders starter, Carson Wentz is out for 4-6 weeks with a finger injury. For XFL fans, former Battlehawks backup QB Taylor Heinicke will be given another shot this week and joins PJ Walker as XFL Quarterbacks being the main guy under center for NFL teams in Week 7.

This isn’t the first time Heinicke has been called upon in the past several seasons. After being Jordan Ta’amu’s back up for 2020 in the XFL, Heinicke was a last-minute addition due to injuries to Alex Smith and Kyle Allen coupled with the ineffectiveness of Dwayne Haskins thrusted Heinicke under center for the then Washington Football Team’s playoff game against the Bucs in 2021. Since then, the legend of Taylor Heinicke and his cult following has only grown.

Though certain fans of the Commanders wanted Ron Rivera to go with Sam Howell, with the Packers coming into FedEx field the best move was to go with Heinicke who went 7-8 with 3419 passing yards, and 21 touchdowns (20 passing, 1 rushing) in the 2021 season. Last season, Heinicke started for Washington in Green Bay however, lost 24-10 but he showed fans a few of his skillsets under center the main one being his ability to run and stay poised as he totaled 95 rushing yards.

Taylor Heinicke during his time with the St Louis Battlehawks

Joining Heinicke, is PJ Walker who is making his 2nd start in the 2022 season. Walker who was Oliver Luck’s diamond in the rough, recently lost his first professional start in his career as the Panthers dropped to 1-5 with their loss to the Rams. Walker who was 10/16 for 60 yards didn’t really have an opportunity to showcase his skillset, as he was regulated to mostly check downs, and was forced from the game due to concussion protocol. With Jacob Eason waiting in the wings, and Sam Darnold designated to return from IR, Walker for at least one more week has a chance to prove he belongs with the Panthers and most importantly the NFL.

Right now, Walker and Heinicke are two of three XFL QBs to currently be on NFL rosters. Add them with John Wolford, Logan Woodside, and Garrett Gilbert there are currently six Alt-League QBs currently contributing and on NFL rosters. As we’ve seen time and time again, Alt-League football continues to be a crucial platform for “overlooked” NFL-Caliber players to garner opportunities, master their crafts and wait for some good fortunate (well for them) in the wakes of chance for them to make some and hopefully garner long-term employment in professional football.

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Pat Rifino is a former Security Contractor turned writer. He began his writing career talking about geo-politics, and the defense industry. Now Pat writes about alt-league football, while hanging with his dogs in his off time.

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