The Washington Commanders took a major risk this offseason. The opportunity to add a veteran quarterback to the mix existed, but they opted to go a different route. With Eric Bieniemy coming over from the Kansas City Chiefs to be their offensive coordinator, the Commanders commit to Sam Howell as their starting quarterback in 2023.
It was a bold decision to make as an argument could be made that Washington was a quarterback away from being a playoff team last season. The Carson Wentz experiment failed again and Taylor Heinicke did what he could to keep the team afloat. Alas, it wasn’t enough and the Commanders just missed out on a postseason berth.
Howell was a fifth-round pick of the team in the 2022 NFL Draft. He didn’t make an appearance in a regular season game until Week 18 when he started the finale against the Dallas Cowboys. The Commanders won that game 26-6 and Howell played okay.
He completed 11-of-19 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It is a bit surprising that one performance was enough for the Commanders to commit to him as their starter, but there must have been something they saw that they liked.
One of the qualities that could have set Howell apart was his leadership. It is something that has led to him receiving praise from some of his veteran teammates this offseason. One of the teammates who have been impressed by Howell is wide receiver, Terry McLaurin.
McLaurin is arguably the best player on the Commanders and a respected one as he was a captain last season. Thus far this offseason, he has really liked what he has seen from Howell, heaping praise upon the young signal caller.
“He’s taken the bull by the horns, and he’s really led us a lot this offseason.”
That is certainly some encouraging words from McLaurin, as the team’s success, in large part, will rely on Howell’s performance. With a top-tier defense and a ton of weapons surrounding him, he is set up for success in Washington.