The Washington Commanders have endured a busy off-season. Will they rise to fore front of NFL franchises by the end of the 2023 season?
An extensive off-season can derail a franchise’s progress before the season begins. Blunders in ownership cost the Commanders resources, relationships, and time to build a successful franchise. Now, Josh Harris and his ownership group must erase a lengthy list of errors with championship-caliber seasons.
July 27 marked the beginning of a new era of football in Washington D.C. A special voting session held by NFL owners led to the sale of the city’s professional football team. The Harris group will pay $6.05 billion for one of football’s iconic franchises. New ownership leads to new expectations, and Ron Rivera’s unit must come prepared to perform.
NFL: Can Sam Howell lead the Washington Commanders to a winning record?
Franchise quarterbacks are hard to come by. Washington’s front office has experienced this firsthand. They’ve utilized countless quarterbacks to gain ground within the division. None of them were capable of getting the job done. In 2022, Scott Turner partnered with Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. The result was an 8-8-1 record.
Inconsistencies with the offense forced the Commanders to search for a replacement coordinator. They cut ties with Scott Turner and brought in Kansas City’s Eric Bienemy. His offensive genius helped Patrick Mahomes win two Super Bowls. Washington ranked 30th in Pro Football Focus’ passing rating (53.4) and will lean on Bienemy’s guidance in 2023.
Sam Howell expects to play a vital role in the Commander’s new offense. He’s completed 19 career passes since entering the league. He lacks experience but is progressing well via ESPN’s John Keim. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel are nice targets and should help the former second-rounder develop this season.
NFL: What does the future look like for Ron Rivera if the Commanders have a losing season?
Relying on an inexperienced quarterback to save a coaching career sounds like a recipe for disaster. It could become a reality for Ron Rivera throughout the new campaign. Sam Howell is the eighth quarterback to start under Rivera since joining the franchise in 2020.
An inexperienced quarterback doesn’t sound like it will help Ron Rivera convince the front office to consider extending his contract. He’s failed to produce a winning record during his three-year tenure. Rivera is entering year 4 of a five-year deal.
Starting Sam Howell isn’t a publicity stunt. Rivera believes he is the best option for his ball club to win games. He understands the pressure surrounding Washington’s success this season and is devoted to improving.
“I’m not worried about what the decision is after a year” Rivera stated “What I’m worried about is making sure this roster is being built, that it’s in place, and if I leave, I’ll leave it in a good position.”
Competition in the NFC East is fierce and will require the Commanders to enter the regular season focused. Years of distractions within the franchise’s front office are no longer an excuse for lackluster results. The clock is ticking, and fans are anticipating a productive season. It will be up to Washington’s staff to ensure a successful campaign.