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Did Washington Finally Find Its Quarterback In Sam Howell?

The Washington franchise might have had three names recently but it has not had a quarterback.

The Commanders have had the likes of Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dwayne Haskins, and many more under center in recent years. The most important position in all of sports has not been present in the nation’s capital in what feels like decades since a three-year stint with Mark Brunell.

It has been just two weeks into the 2023 season but the Commanders are 2-0 and fans are hoping that they have found the quarterback moving forward with Sam Howell.

Let’s look at the facts. Howell started three years in college. He burst onto the scene in 2020 for North Carolina, throwing for 3,568 yards with 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Howell completed 68% of his passes and was viewed as a first-road pick and potential to be the first quarterback taken in the draft.

Following his sophomore year, Howell decided to return to school to play one more year on a team that lost plenty of talent, including current Commander Dyami Brown. His play declined a bit but Howell still put up 3,056 yards and 24 touchdowns. Howell also rushed for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns, going over 1,000 for his career.

Fast forward to the 2022 NFL Draft and Howell’s stock is way down. He fell to the fifth round where Washington was able to scoop him up. Let’s not forget, quarterbacks taken ahead of Howell include Malik Willis, Matt Corral, and Bailey Zappe.

During his rookie year, Howell played the season-finale and got some experience heading into his first year as a starter. Washington was expected to be near the bottom of the NFC this season but if Howell improves and succeeds in Eric Bieniemy’s offense, the Commanders will sneak up.

In a rain-soaked season-opener against the Arizona Cardinals, Howell turned the ball over twice, including a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. The elite defensive front of the Commanders kept them in the game and Howell scored a go-ahead rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Survive and advance.

Week 2 was a bit of a coming-out party for Howell where he threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns as the Commanders came back from a 21-3 deficit in Denver. This was Howell’s first career start on the road.

The schedule is only going to get more difficult. The Commanders are preparing to take on the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles over the next two weeks. Howell will not be able to hide and fans will learn a lot about what they hope is their quarterback moving forward.

What we do know is that Howell has weapons on the outside and two strong running backs. Bieniemy brought a new philosophy to the offense and it is showing early. If Howell can take care of the football and use his legs to escape the pocket when needed, he has a chance to develop this year.

Howell just turned 23 years old and is in his second year in the league. To write him off at this point would be irresponsible. Washington fans will use this year to analyze the quarterback and hope that there can be some consistency at the position year after year.

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