Over the past five seasons, the Washington Commanders have struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position. Since 2018, the team has had 12 different quarterbacks start a game for them.
The last quarterback to start a full season for the Commanders was Kirk Cousins in 2017.
It seemed like Taylor Heinicke was the answer at quarterback, as he had a big-time playoff performance in 2020 and started 15 games in 2021. However, the front office brought in Carson Wentz last year to replace him, which was a disaster, as Wentz struggled and dealt with injuries.
With the Commanders releasing Wentz and letting Heinicke walk in free agency this past offseason, the team is looking towards a new generation. The current options at quarterback are Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett, Jake Fromm, and Tim DeMorat. While the veteran Brissett might seem like the option, it’s Howell that has been impressing this offseason.
Sam Howell Is The Right Option
Howell was predicted to go early in the 2022 NFL Draft but fell to the Commanders in the 5th round. He was inactive for most of the season until Week 18 when he made his first start. Howell went 11-of-19 for 169 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also added 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the 26-6 win.
At North Carolina, Howell became the first true freshman in school history to win the starting job. He had a successful three-year career with the Tar Heels. Howell is UNC’s all-time passing leader with 10,283 yards, 92 touchdown passes, and a passer efficiency rating of 164.2. He also ran for 1,009 yards and 17 touchdowns.
While there’s not much NFL tape on Howell, he was accurate, mobile, had a good pocket presence and led his team to a victory in the one game he played in.
During this offseason, Howell made believers in his teammates. Receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson have praised Howell and how he’s looked so far.
Washington has put together the perfect environment for Howell to succeed.
Bringing in Eric Bieniemy to run the offense was the organization’s most important move.
Bieniemy has had plenty of success with the Kansas City Chiefs and helping develop Patrick Mahomes into the best quarterback in the NFL. Now he can bring that expertise into turning Howell into a legitimate starter.
The Commanders have also surrounded Howell with a strong offense. Howell has great targets to throw the ball to in McLaurin, Dotson, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas. And he has a two-headed monster to help him out in the backfield with Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson.
Howell has all the tools around him to succeed and lead Washington back to the playoffs, which will happen in 2023.
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