3 Commanders players with the most to prove in 2023

Chase Young
Chase Young / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Sam Howell - Commanders QB

Hitching his wagon to Sam Howell is the biggest gamble Ron Rivera's made since joining the Washington Commanders as head coach. He's made bad decisions at football's most important position before, but this move will cost the respected figure his job if things don't go according to plan.

That's a lot of pressure on someone with one career start under his belt. Howell did catch the eye during his Week 18 triumph against the Dallas Cowboys, but doing this consistently over a 17-game period is a completely different scenario entirely.

Everyone within the Commanders was fully behind Howell throughout early workouts. This is likely to be the same again at training camp as the tempo ramps up further.

Confidence is increasing surrounding the former fifth-round selection out of North Carolina. Even if it represents a voyage into the unknown of sorts with so little experience to go off after the Commanders brought him along gradually as a rookie.

Howell has a significant opportunity in front of him. If it works out, Rivera looks like a genius and the Commanders have one of the cheapest starting quarterback contracts to build around over the next two seasons.

Should complications emerge and Howell cannot meet increased expectations, the ramifications will be severe. And it'll be the excuse needed for Josh Harris' ownership group to make some landmark changes in readiness for the 2024 campaign.