The Washington Commanders are set to turn their offense over to Sam Howell in 2023. Howell, a fifth-round pick out of North Carolina in the 2022 NFL Draft, started the season finale for Washington as a rookie and defeated the Dallas Cowboys. The team saw enough in that game that they are moving forward as if Howell will be the starter.
There are certainly some risks to doing that as the sample size is very small. The Commanders are on the cusp of being playoff contenders, at the very least in the NFC. There will be some pressure on Howell to perform right away to ensure that the team remains competitive.
If not, the team at least knows that they have a very capable veteran to turn to. Very rarely does a move at the quarterback position ever go without much fanfare, but the signing of Jacoby Brissett didn’t receive too many headlines.
Brissett is joining the Commanders after a season with the Cleveland Browns, where he started until Deshaun Watson’s suspension was over. He played very well, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him settle for a backup job so early in free agency. For the Commanders, it was a shrewd move and landed on the list of top under-the-radar moves this offseason.
The journeyman proved that he is more than capable of handling a starting job. His QBR was eighth-highest in the NFL in 2022 as he did everything he could to keep the Browns afloat until Watson returned to the lineup.
Last season, in 16 games and 11 starts, Brissett completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,608 yards, 12 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He played off of a strong running game led by Nick Chubb and made the most of his opportunity. His ability to pick up short-yardage first downs can be used weekly as he is a capable runner, averaging 5.0 yards per carry last season.
Brissett presents a sizable upgrade over Taylor Heinicke, who was forced into long-term starting action the last two seasons. Should Howell falter, Ron Rivera should have no reservations about turning the offense over to Brissett, who can lead the team to success if given the chance.
The Commanders are a team that wants to run the football and control the clock with an excellent defense. That is the kind of scheme Brissett thrives in, and it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by weapons in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel as well.