4 intriguing things to watch at Commanders OTAs starting on Tuesday

Jack Del Rio and Eric Bieniemy
Jack Del Rio and Eric Bieniemy / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 4

Commanders QB battle

All signs point to the Washington Commanders making Sam Howell their starting quarterback in 2023. However, head coach Ron Rivera is going to make the former fifth-round selection earn everything this offseason.

After resisting the temptation to draft another signal-caller despite Will Levis and Hendon Hooker dropping to an acceptable range, Rivera is betting it all on Howell becoming a stable presence under center. His brief impression in Week 18 indicates more could be on the way, with the presence of Eric Bieniemy something else that adds a different dimension to Washington's offense next season.

Rivera stated that the Commanders would hold a legitimate quarterback battle between Howell and Jacoby Brissett. The North Carolina product is favored, but the veteran free-agent signing wouldn't have joined Washington if he didn't feel like this was a place he could become a genuine No. 1.

Watching how this competition unfolds during the opening exchanges at OTAs will be telling. Both players need to start well and impose themselves, so whoever lands the first key blows is likely to have an edge before Washington's mandatory minicamp and this summer's training camp.

From the outside looking in, it would be a huge upset if Howell wasn't under center in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals. But considering what's at stake for Rivera next season, there will be no sentiment involved.