3 critical observations from Sam Howell's preseason performance at the Browns

How did Commanders QB Sam Howell fare in his first preseason outing?

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders OL need to help Sam Howell

Sam Howell's got the talent. The arm is live and he looks poised more often than not under center, which is a far cry from anything the Washington Commanders have trotted out at football's most crucial position in recent years.

If there was one thing that could hold Howell back above all else, it is Washington's offensive line. This was a major weak link last season and despite a significant revamp throughout the spring, the same pattern emerged at the Cleveland Browns to begin their preseason engagements.

Howell had to improvise often as the pressure came. This also resulted in Cleveland securing a safety when the quarterback couldn't get free in the end zone as the protection in front of him crumbled.

The line gave up some penalties when Howell was on the field and the signal-caller was sacked once for a loss of eight yards. There is a lot to like about his athleticism to get out on the move and make things happen, but it's less than ideal and something that must change at the earliest possible opportunity.

Washington ignored some outstanding interior offensive line prospects in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. It's still early and further chemistry will arrive, but this decision could come back to haunt them if things don't progress considerably over the next fortnight.

Howell can make things happen if given time. But that wasn't a luxury afforded to the second-year-pro as often as he would have liked in this one.