4 realistic expectations for Commanders QB Jayden Daniels in 2024

Big things are expected of Jayden Daniels.
Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Jayden Daniels' sack percentage

This is my personal favorite. We all saw how Sam Howell struggled with sacks last season. The fact that he improved somewhat in the second half of the campaign is a testament to his growth and the skill of his quarterback coach, Tavita Pritchard.

Rookies get sacked a lot for many reasons. Usually, a team starting one is not very good. That includes their offensive line.

Many rookies are under a lot of pressure. Poor coaching, poor game planning, and poor receiving options also contribute to bad sack totals. But for rookies, more often than not, they get sacked because they simply don’t process the game fast enough.

Except for one massive outlier, the rookies with the highest sack percentages tend to be the ones who have also been the biggest busts. That includes players in our sample group like Josh Rosen. Dwayne Haskins, and Zach Wilson, each of whom posted very poor sack percentages of over 10 percent in their rookie season.

So did Justin Fields, and though he has bounced back somewhat from that first year, the book is still out on him. The huge outlier is Jared Goff, who is not in our sample group. More on him in a bit.

A very good sack percentage is 5.0. A bad one is over 8.0. Running quarterbacks tend to get sacked more because they hold the ball longer. A sack percentage for Jayden Daniels in the 6.5 range would be a solid number for his rookie season.

Commanders must be patient with Jayden Daniels

These stats only deal with Jayden Daniels’ passing. Rushing is a major component of his game. The problem is that most fans don’t want him to run very much.

The Washington Commanders are still reeling from the distant memories of Robert Griffin III and what might have been. Last year, the best running quarterbacks - Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Fields, and Josh Allen - ran the ball more than 100 times. Daniels should not be anywhere near those numbers.

He should top out around 60 rushes at a five-yards-per-carry clip. He may break one or two highlight-reel touchdown runs, but he should not score many touchdowns with his legs. That’s what Brian Robinson Jr. and Austin Ekeler are paid to do.

Remember I spoke about withholding the name of the third rookie quarterback who achieved a passer rating over 90 and QBR over 55 in his first season? You may want to sit down for this. It was Mac Jones. He did it in 2021. Three years later, he’s a backup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

We all want to see Daniels thrive during his rookie season. Even if he does, it is no guarantee for future success. The two most successful rookie seasons in our group were turned in by Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert. Both are hounded by questions regarding their lack of subsequent playoff success.

Conversely, a bad rookie season does not spell doom. We’ve already mentioned Jared Goff’s turnaround. Allen was well below the benchmarks anticipated. He managed to grow.

Expectations couldn't be higher for Daniels this year. But we also need to remember, where you start isn’t always where you finish.