Washington’s leaders are starting a new era, and they’re doing so with a new man at the centre.
The team announced Friday that Sam Howell will be the starting quarterback for the Commanders.
Coach Ron Rivera discussed Howell Friday morning, emphatically saying, “Sam is our guy.”
This is not a big surprise. Howell was competing against veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett for the job, and it wasn’t much of a competition. Howell accounted for the vast majority of first-team reps during training camp, suggesting it was his job to lose, while Brissett, with his fourth team in four years, got a small amount of first-team time.
Rivera recently praised Howell’s decisions, and according to ESPN’s Jon Kim, Commanders as a whole like a lot of things about his game.
The captains liked his decisiveness – particularly when working through progression and setting an open goal – and his improved ability on both dribble passes and deliveries. They like to make up his mind. They say other aspects of his game, such as becoming more efficient in the red, could be developed with more experience.
Where the leaders are now — actively moving forward with the 22-year-old sophomore QB — is a far cry from where they were a year ago. Ahead of the 2022 season, the Chiefs have been trading Carson Wentz from the Indianapolis Colts, hoping the struggling quarterback can reinvent himself with a new team. It didn’t work out that way, and by the middle of the season, Taylor Hynecke had taken over. Heinicke has since left free agency and the team has cut Wentz, who still does not have an NFL job heading into the 2023 season.
Drafted by Washington in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Howell started one game for the leaders during the 2022 season, in their 26-6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17. Now in 2023, he will get a chance to start all 17 games.