4 major observations from Sam Howell's performance at the LA Rams in Week 15

How did QB1 fare in his first game after the bye week?

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Sam Howell has work to do

The final games of the season represent the last audition for Sam Howell. He wants to be the Washington Commanders starting quarterback in 2024. Many feel like he's deserving of such a distinction. But the signal-caller is starting to rack up indifferent performances at the wrong time.

Howell improved slightly in the second half, which was encouraging. He made things happen when the pocket was clean and remained unrattled at all times despite the Commanders having to chase a heavy deficit once again.

Flashing is all well and good. That won't be enough once a new coaching regime comes into the fold. The Commanders also have a top-five selection in the 2024 NFL Draft locked in for now - something that could tempt them into taking a gifted prospect from the college ranks rather than solidifying the offensive line.

This game was a microcosm of Howell's season. When he's good, the wow moments are there for all to see. When he's bad, the North Carolina product looks like a turnover waiting to happen.

One can point to the drops. The lack of consistent protection. The often predictable schematics concepts to open games from Eric Bieniemy. One could also argue Howell isn't making the strides anticipated no matter the mitigating circumstances surrounding the gunslinger.

Getting sat down is not a good look, either.

When push comes to shove, nobody occupying prominent leadership positions within the Commanders currently will be deciding Howell's fate. And that - above all else - leaves his prospects hanging in the balance with just three games left.

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