4 observations from Commanders GM Martin Mayhew’s combine presser

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew /
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(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew /

Commanders GM on Sam Howell

Ron Rivera caused a stir during his Tuesday presser by declaring Sam Howell was not their starter. Rather, the second-year quarterback would be QB1 heading into OTAs and must earn the right to become the team’s No. 1 option in 2023.

This laid the gauntlet down to Howell in no uncertain terms. Something that was further highlighted by Martin Mayhew, who believes the North Carolina product made enough progress last year to give himself a fighting chance of more involvement next time around.

"“Sam (Howell) will have every opportunity to win that starting job. (I) was very impressed with the way he played and practiced last year. Obviously, very small sample, he only played in one game, but we got to see him the whole offseason, see him all through training camp, see him every week in practice. He has the skills that it takes to be a starter in this league, in my opinion.”"

Mayhew has a great point where Howell is concerned. The 2022 fifth-round pick started just one game – Washington’s win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18 – but fans are not seeing the development and growth every day that those within the building have the benefit of.

The Commanders will add to their options. But confidence appears to be high that Howell can emerge as a starting-caliber NFL quarterback in the weeks and months ahead.