3 pleasant surprises at the Commanders 2023 bye week

It hasn't been all bad...
Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders have hope with Sam Howell

The Washington Commanders and quarterback Sam Howell took a leap of faith together this season. Ron Rivera made him earn the right to call himself QB1 throughout the summer, which he managed to accomplish emphatically despite being kept out of the lineup until Week 18 as a rookie.

Howell doesn't have any sort of offensive line to call upon. His pass-catchers aren't setting the world alight either, so the cards were stacked against the signal-caller almost immediately.

It's been a rollercoaster for Howell, there's no getting away from that. He's had some exceptional performances and some miserable ones, which are all part of the growing pains of inexperienced quarterbacks around the league.

Looking at Howell's full body of work, it's been encouraging. One could make a strong case for the former fifth-round selection deserving a chance to showcase what he can do with a more prolific supporting cast - but that's a decision for the new general manager and head coach rather than those currently around.

The Commanders could give Howell a shot. They could also target one of the top quarterback prospects emerging from the college ranks given their current standing has them within touching distance of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

That would be harsh on Howell. But the way he's kept fighting with supreme poise while all around him crumbles couldn't have been more pleasing.