4 Washington Commanders who could move the needle in 2023

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Robinson Jr.
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Robinson Jr. /
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(Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Howell /

Sam Howell – Commanders QB

Assuming Sam Howell beats out free-agent signing Jacoby Brissett for the starting quarterback job, he stands to move the needle more than any player on the Washington Commanders. For good or bad.

The former fifth-round pick has a huge opportunity awaiting him this offseason. Howell and Brissett will likely split reps early at training camp before the coaching staff comes to an official decision, so making an instant impression under the watchful eye of Eric Bieniemy is absolutely imperative for the signal-caller.

Howell has the talent. He was taken too late in the draft – which worked in Washington’s favor – and there is also clear confidence from his teammates regarding his chances of securing a prominent starting role.

The Commanders were right to pick up a contingency plan and veteran leader in Brissett. He’ll be guiding Howell through his important transition, but he also didn’t join Washington to sit on the sidelines after impressing under center for the Cleveland Browns until Deshaun Watson came back from suspension.

For all the Commanders’ strengths on defense and at the skill positions, it will count for nothing if the quarterback consistency doesn’t take a monumental leap forward. Simply put, Howell will make or break the season if he becomes their No. 1 option.