4 reasons for Commanders fans to be thankful in 2023

Hope springs eternal, for now...

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders have a potential franchise QB

Before last week's debacle against the New York Giants, Sam Howell was on a tear with three straight games of 300-plus passing yards, where he had a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 68.8 percent completion success. Despite his awful showing last time out, he has proven capable of leading the Washington Commanders offense.

Let's not forget that he has 12 total starts in his career. Howell is also playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.

Howell has thrown the ball more than 40 times during seven games already this season and has 60 more passing attempts to the next closest quarterback, Josh Allen. The Commanders are calling passing plays 68.19 percent of the time - if the season ended today, would be the highest since the 2013 Atlanta Falcons, who finished 4-12.

With the number of throws that Howell is being asked to make - especially with the pressure he faces - it is no surprise he is tied for the league lead in interceptions and has 13 more sacks than the next closest quarterback.

If you look at the statistics of the 10 rookie quarterbacks with the most pass attempts in a season, you'll see they averaged 16 interceptions and around 32 sacks in their first year.

Howell has already far surpassed that sack number. With six games remaining, he might pass the average interception total as well, but he is also on track to have more attempts than all top 10 rookies with the most pass attempts.

Can we judge his mistakes when Howell is being asked to put the team on his shoulders and Eric Bieniemy is failing to establish the run with any frequency behind Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson?

Coming out of college, one of the scouting reports compared Howell to Jalen Hurts. If you look at the stats of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback's first full-year starting, Howell is pretty comparable if not better in most categories.

Could he be the franchise quarterback the Commanders are looking for? He is closer than anyone else has been in a long time.