4 Commanders players that can’t afford to start 2023 on a sour note

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Sam Howell - Commanders QB

Confidence is increasing around quarterback Sam Howell after a strong start to the offseason. Those in power are putting a significant amount of faith in the former fifth-round selection to provide better consistency under center, which is a big call to make considering he was allocated just one start as a rookie in 2022.

Howell has a huge opportunity in front of him and has been keen not to waste it by imposing himself throughout early workouts. There's a long way to go and it'll get a lot tougher as the summer goes on, but the North Carolina product is coping well with additional responsibilities and the high standards Eric Bieniemy is looking to set across the franchise.

Many thought the Commanders got a steal where Howell was considered when the signal-caller slumped to the fifth-round last year. If he rises to the occasion and proves his worth long-term, he'll be one of the greatest draft picks in franchise history along the way.

Of course, a situation could emerge where Howell cannot produce the goods. If that happens over the first few weeks, then it might force head coach Ron Rivera into a change with free-agent signing Jacoby Brissett waiting in the wings.

Rivera is betting his job on Howell, to a certain extent. But that doesn't mean he won't ring the alterations if his signal-caller struggles right out of the gate.