Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell started his team’s final game in the 2022 season, and it appears as though he made a solid impression.
The Commanders plan to give him the first crack at the starting quarterback role for the 2023 campaign, according to a recent report.
“That might have surprised many outside of Washington, but the Commanders really do like Howell, entering his second season, and sources within the team say they plan to give him first shot at the starting job in 2023,” wrote ESPN’s John Keim. “They like how he developed during 2022, culminating in a 26-6 regular season finale win over Dallas.”
In that game against the Dallas Cowboys, Howell completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball five times for 35 yards and one score.
Evidently, he did enough in that contest and behind the scenes to make the Commanders confident in him moving forward. Washington had multiple chances to select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, but it passed on doing so.
With players like Will Levis and Hendon Hooker still on the board at No. 16 overall, the Commanders decided to select cornerback Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State University.
It seems like the team wasn’t all too interested in Levis. Hooker, on the other hand, might’ve been an option for the team had he been available when it selected in the third round.
“That’s why the Commanders weren’t tempted to pick Kentucky’s Will Levis when he was available with the 16th pick, opting instead for cornerback Emmanuel Forbes,” Keim wrote regarding Washington’s confidence in Howell. “One team source said the only quarterback who would have tempted them was Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker — but only if he was there when they selected in the third round.”
Hooker was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 68th overall pick of the draft. The Commanders weren’t on the clock in the third round until the 97th overall selection, a far cry from where Hooker went. Washington wound up selecting offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg with its third-round pick.
It’ll be interesting to see if Howell ends up doing enough to beat out journeyman Jacoby Brissett, who signed a one-year deal with Washington this offseason.
Brissett is on his fourth team in four years and started 11 games for the Cleveland Browns last season while Deshaun Watson was suspended.
The Commanders are hoping that Howell, a fifth-round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, has what it takes to get them back to the postseason for the first time since the 2020 campaign.
The North Carolina native seems to be ready to work as hard as ever for the chance to be a full-time starter in the league.