Commanders News: Ron Rivera, Mitchell Tinsley, Rashaan Evans and Sam Howell

Delving deeper into the latest Commanders news and rumors from around the media.
Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders QB Sam Howell's protection

Sam Howell earned the right to call himself Washington Commanders QB1 this offseason. His performance levels were first-class and there was definite growth throughout the summer, so hopes are high reading his chances of returning prosperity to football's most important position in the nation's capital.

Howell cannot do it alone. The skill position players must step up and the running game must set the early tone, but the presence of Eric Bieniemy calling the shots should ensure every single player on offense is put in the best possible positions to thrive.

However, there is one concern that could cripple the Commanders. The offensive line remains a problematic area, with Washington's lack of legitimate investment across the protection coming in for severe criticism from Ben Standig of The Athletic recently.

"Not making clear or potentially significant additions to the offensive line was almost a dereliction of duty, given that the plan for months centered around a QB with one career start. The O-line helps the rest of the offense more than vice versa. Washington knew significant changes were needed. Some were made, but they collectively lacked oomph. Rivera keeps noting that ex-Chief Andrew Wylie played for a Super Bowl champion while omitting the reality that the right tackle was the worst of Kansas City’s starters. Wylie was essentially a role player for a unit with three Pro Bowlers elsewhere on the line. Tasking him with anchoring the right side for a line without that overall quality feels like too much."

Ben Standig, The Athletic

Standig is absolutely right. There wasn't much money to go around in free agency with the ownership in flux, but ignoring some top-tier interior protectors in Round No. 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft in favor of developmental guys with position versatility could be malpractice when it's all said and done.