What were some major observations from Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell's performance against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1?
After months of preparations and hard work, Sam Howell took the field for the first time as the Washington Commanders starting quarterback in 2023. There was one game to speak of last season - a memorable Week 18 win over the Dallas Cowboys - but those in power are giving the former fifth-round selection a legitimate chance to become their long-term option under center this season.
Howell passed every test throughout the summer and further raised expectations throughout his preseason involvement. Bringing this into a competitive setting is the next big challenge, which all started in front of a sold-out FedEx Field crowd against the Arizona Cardinals.
This occasion meant so much to so many - the first game without Dan Snyder's toxic grip on the franchise for 24 years. As for Howell, he did just enough to get over the finish line.
With this in mind, here are four major observations from Howell's performance versus the Cardinals to kick off the 2023 campaign.
Sam Howell looked comfortable early
It was evident from early on that the Washington Commanders were eager to get Sam Howell into a rhythm. Eric Bieniemy called plenty of short passes and easy completions for the signal-caller right out of the gate, which gave him the confidence needed when his play-caller opened things up later in the contest.
Even during Washington's first touchdown drive, Howell took what the defense gave him and kept his eyes downfield at all times. It might not sound like much, but this is something the Commanders sorely lacked under center for the most part last season, so the North Carolina product is already having a positive impact.