The Washington Commanders have been officially eliminated from the playoffs so now it's time to start evaluating this roster and the moves that need to be made this offseason. Myself, along with Hunter Noll and David Archibald of NFL Spin Zone have all made some level of analysis of this team's needs already this season.
Up to this point, I and the other two writers haven't written off Howell. It should be pointed out that the point of this article isn't to write Sam Howell as an option for the Commanders moving forward. He is still a legit option for Washington at the quarterback position. However, it's not so set in stone now as it was earlier this season.
Washington Commanders have to consider other options besides Howell at the quarterback position
Let's be clear Sam Howell has had some impressive games and moments this season. He's seventh in the NFL in passing yards (3,568) and 13th in passing touchdowns (19). However, he also leads the NFL in sacks (59) and interceptions (15). One can argue the interception numbers are due to his lack of experience as well as a new offensive coordinator in Eric Beinemey putting in his system and a horrendous offensive line is the main reason for the sack total.
Even with that in mind, it wasn't a great optic that the Commanders' coaching staff benched Howell in the D.C's most recent game against the Los Angeles Rams during the early part of the fourth quarter. Howell was intercepted for the first time in the game at the 13:12 mark in the fourth quarter and the team benched him after that in favor of veteran journeyman Jacoby Brissett who cut a 7-28 deficit into a 20-28 deficit to end the game with only roughly nine minutes left in the game.
Once Brissett took over, the offense looked so much different including wide receiver Terry McLaurin gaining his first game over 100 yards receiving this season with 141 yards on sixth receptions. McLaurin gained 93 of those yards once Brissett entered the game. By the end of the game, Brissett had gone 8-10 for 124 yards and two touchdowns with no sacks. Whereas, Howell had gone 11-26 for 102 yards while tallying one touchdown, one interception, and 1 sack.
It's not the best look for Howell. During the Commanders current five-game losing streak, Howell has five touchdowns to six interceptions, while being sacked 14 times. This five-game skid for Howell isn't a good way to end the season, especially considering the team will probably have a new head coach and general manager.
Washington currently owns the fourth overall pick and a regime might want to get a new quarterback so they can have their "their guy" moving forward. With the fourth pick, they could draft a guy like Jayden Daniels from LSU or Bo Nix from Oregon. With that high of a pick and a new regime coming in, it would make sense to go with a quarterback. Especially if a new head coach and general manager aren't sold on Howell and this bad stretch isn't helping Howell's stock.
That being written, it's clear that Howell has the potential to be a good starting quarterback and however takes over the leadership of this team needs to consider that when taking the job. Howell has promise, but this recent stretch of play has hurt his chances to be the guy for the Washington Commanders moving forward.