Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell has already been sacked 44 times this season and is on pace to shatter David Carr’s dubious record of being sacked 76 times with the Houston Texans back in 2002.
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he was concerned about all of the hits Howell was taking early on in the season, but now, he thinks Howell has made progress in how he has handled all of it.
“Yes. Definitely concerned and a couple times we did think about pulling him at the end of some games,” Rivera said, via Adam Schultz of Fan Nation. “But at the same time, in talking with [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy] EB, it was about the growth and development, and the only way he was going to learn was to stay in there and it’s kind of working itself out. That’s the best part of it, is that it is working itself out and you can see him just play with much more and more confidence. You see the confidence in which his teammates are playing alongside him. That’s been a huge plus for us as well.”
Howell was particularly impressive in Washington’s Week 8 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, going 39-for-52 with 397 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He was also sacked just one time in that outing.
On top of that, Howell was only sacked three times against the New England Patriots this past weekend. Prior to the Eagles loss, Howell had never been sacked less than four times in any single game this year, so he is certainly improving in terms of getting the ball out more quickly.
“We kind of figured it would take some time,” said Rivera. “We didn’t expect him to take as many hits as he did early on, but what’s happening is I think the confidence is starting to really show.”
Howell has thrown for 2,471 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions (which is tied for the league lead) while completing 66.6 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 89.3. He has also carried the ball 29 times for 157 yards and a score.
The 23-year-old is in his second season after being selected by the Commanders in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Washington is 4-5 on the year and will head on the road to battle the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.