Sam Howell entered the offseason as QB1 in D.C., and little has changed since, with the second-year Commanders quarterback getting most of the first-team reps in training camp.
Despite the belief that it’s only a matter of time before Ron Rivera names Howell the Week 1 starter, the coach isn’t yet ready to make that declaration. Asked point-blank Wednesday if he was ready to name a starting QB, Rivera sidestepped the question, instead focusing on the positives Howell has displayed.
“I gotta sit down with both (offensive coordinator) Eric (Bieniemy) and (QB coach) Tavita (Pritchard) and really evaluate it and make sure he’s doing the things that we need him to do,” Rivera said, via the team’s official transcript. “And yesterday he had a really good day. We’re really pleased with it after having to watch the tape and we’ll see how it is after we get a chance to watch this tape together. We’re traveling today, so we’ll sit down tomorrow and go through it and talk about Sam and really just evaluate that and evaluate Jacoby (Brissett) as well. I mean, Jacoby did some really good things too, so we feel really comfortable about the quarterback room right now.”
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Rivera noted Howell’s accuracy, decision-making and command in the huddle have been attributes the young signal-caller has improved upon this offseason. The Commanders could make the QB1 gig official after a couple of positive joint practices this week with the Baltimore Ravens.
“Very pleased with the play of the quarterbacks,” Rivera said. “I thought Sam did a great job. You know, this is one of the things that we talked about, how important that these two days would be in our evaluation process, and there’s a lot of questions we wanted answered and yesterday’s tape I was really pleased with for not just the quarterbacks, but for him specifically as well. He did some really good things. Threw some real good balls. His ball placement, his accuracy was what we needed. Decision making was very plus.”
The Commanders play their second preseason game Monday against the Ravens and finish up the 2023 slate next Saturday against the Bengals. With a good week, Howell could have the starting gig officially wrapped up sooner rather than later.
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