Sam Howell's confidence
Everything looked so promising for Sam Howell once upon a time. But everyone has their breaking point.
Howell's confidence has been knocked significantly looking at the way things have unfolded in recent weeks. It showed no signs of getting better in Week 16 at the New York Jets. One could even say it's been demoralized past the point of no return - for 2023, at least.
The hesitancy Howell displayed under center is a new, concerning development. The signal-caller always looked fearless under center - even during his rookie debut in Week 18 of the 2022 season versus the Dallas Cowboys. Now, it seems like he doesn't trust anything around him.
That is completely understandable given the lack of quality or effort from others. Howell was trying to force the issue as best he could. It was evident from some way out that his teammates weren't willing to match this level of commitment.
One of Howell's biggest strengths throughout the season has been the ability to shake off bad plays quickly. That's hard to accomplish when you're constantly under pressure and unable to connect with pass-catchers. Although it would be remiss not to point out again how much he was let down on occasion.
Mitigating circumstances aside, it wasn't good enough from Howell or the Commanders. Something unlikely to go unnoticed by a new coaching regime once they start examining the film.