Sam Howell must improve red-zone efficiency
The margin for error is always slimmer on the road. Sam Howell might be fearless in that sense considering he doesn't know any better, which is something the Washington Commanders hope works to their advantage in Week 2 at the Denver Broncos.
Howell has an outstanding support system led by head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Washington's offensive line showed enough early on to suggest that improvements can be made in this area over a full four quarters, and the passing weapons are plentiful if the signal-caller can put them in positions to excel.
One thing above all else could be the catalyst behind what would be a memorable Commanders' triumph on their travels. When Howell gets into the red zone, he has to convert these opportunities into substantial points.
Washington was 2-from-5 in red zone conversion rate against the Arizona Cardinals. That's 40 percent, which needs to increase versus a defense that'll be a much tougher proposition to overcome.
This is all about winning individual battles across the board. Terry McLaurin's clash with All-Pro cornerback Patrick Surtain II will be mouth-watering, but the onus is also on Howell to make the right reads and adopt the sort of ruthless conviction that made him a superstar in 2020 at North Carolina.
If everything goes well for Howell and he makes the improvements in these specific categories, Week 2 could be his official coming out party.