What does Eric Bieniemy hire mean for Commanders QB Sam Howell?

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Sam Howell
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Sam Howell /

What does Eric Bieniemy’s appointment with the Washington Commanders mean for promising second-year quarterback Sam Howell in 2023?

The excitement surrounding Eric Bieniemy‘s appointment to assistant head coach/offensive coordinator was evident across the franchise. But it cast slight doubt about what this might mean for Sam Howell in 2023 and beyond.

Howell looks set to enter OTAs as the Washington Commanders’ top option under center according to head coach Ron Rivera. However, the introduction of Bieniemy to a prominent position of power could jeopardize this if he had more ambitious proposals for improving the team’s fortunes.

This could go either way, in all honesty. We won’t know for sure until Bieniemy speaks at his introductory press conference next week, but a recent report from Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk was great news for the 2022 fifth-round pick if accurate.

Commanders plan to keep Sam Howell as their top option in 2023

Florio stated that Bieniemy and others spoke positively about Howell and the offensive skill positions in Washington during the interview process. The writer added that the appointment won’t alter the Commanders’ thought process where the former North Carolina standout is concerned.

"“In the aftermath of the hiring of Eric Bieniemy to fill that role, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the strategy has not changed. Bieniemy, along with the other candidates for the job, were positive about the team’s offensive roster, including Howell. The main challenge for the coming season will be to repair and improve the offensive line.”"

If Howell gets the keys to the kingdom, his stock goes through the roof. Bieniemy has a proven track record of developing quarterback talent and coming up with creative ways to put them in the best possible position to succeed.

Howell might never be a Patrick Mahomes – few are or have ever been – but there’s every chance he can increase efficiency and productivity at football’s most important position. This was sorely lacking last season and played a significant role in the Commanders narrowly missing out on postseason involvement.

He looked the part during his own and only start in 2022. Another veteran could come in for competition with Carson Wentz set to be released, with the prospect of Taylor Heinicke getting another short-term deal not entirely out of the question, either.

Of all the players that could benefit most from Bieniemy’s hire, Howell is atop the list. His slide in the draft was down to losing almost every key weapon to the NFL ahead of his final college campaign, but the talent remains if he becomes a willing learner alongside one of the NFL’s most experienced offensive minds.

The sky’s the limit for Howell if he gets off on the right foot with Bieniemy. And there is an embarrassment of riches at the skill positions to further heighten anticipation about what the signal-caller can bring from a starting berth.

Providing the offensive line gets the attention it requires this offseason, it would be a shock to see Howell fall flat on his face. Getting a tune out of the player would also enhance Bieniemy’s chances of finally getting a head coaching job in 2024.

If everything clicks immediately, this will be a match made in heaven. One that could make the Commanders a force to be reckoned with when competitive action resumes this fall.

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