1. Taking unnecessary sacks
We’ll be the first to admit that Washington’s offensive line was a turnstile against Baltimore. Howell was sacked five times for 26 yards and it could’ve been a lot more if he wasn’t a mobile quarterback. Having said that, the rookie has a tendency to hold the ball too long and take unnecessary sacks.
It was a knock on him coming out of college and is still a huge weakness; perhaps his biggest as a quarterback. Carson Wentz struggles with the same thing and the issue has traveled with him throughout his career in Philadelphia and Indianapolis.
Whereas Wentz has refused to reinvent this aspect of his game, Howell is only 21 and seems motivated to turn his pitfalls into strengths.
In Howell’s defense, it was the preseason and he was likely trying to do too much to impress the Commanders’ coaching staff, but he needs to learn when to throw the ball away instead of navigating pressure and trying to create something that isn’t there, whether it be with his arm or legs.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a QB taking an unnecessary sack and the sooner Howell cleans up this part of his game, the sooner we can consider him the franchise’s potential quarterback of the future.