The 5 o’clock club is published from time to time during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Ever since the injury to Carson Wentz’s finger, there’s been a low level hum of people suggesting that the Commanders should “see what they’ve got” in Sam Howell rather than playing Taylor Heinicke since, as we all know, “he’s not the future”. When the team was 2-4, it was one thing, but as the wins have stacked up with Taylor at the helm of the offense, the background buzz of calls for Sam Howell to get on the field died down.
In a late-October poll, Hogs Haven readers said pretty overwhelmingly that they wanted to see Sam Howell play only when the Commanders were out of contention for the playoffs or when we reached the final 4 games of the season. Interestingly, that’s where we are now — 4 games left. I don’t think many people at the time of that poll were thinking that Washington would be fighting for a wildcard spot in mid-December.
The conversation about Washington’s 3 quarterbacks, and about 5th round draft pick Sam Howell in particular, took a sharp turn this past week because of an injury to San Francisco starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G, who was actually doing a “Taylor Heinicke” and starting games because the team’s initial starter, 2nd year player Trey Lance, was out injured, suffered a broken foot in last week’s game against the Dolphins. Garoppolo’s backup (so, the #3 QB on the roster), 7th round rookie Brock Purdy, came off the bench and not only played decently, but led the Niners to a victory against a quality opponent.
Seeing this, many Commanders fans suddenly began to question why Kyle Shanahan could have Purdy ready to play, while the message from Ron Rivera has consistently been that his own rookie Sam Howell is not ready.
This, of course, ignores huge differences in situation, to wit: that Taylor Heinicke has not had to leave a game with injury like Jimmy G did.
What I mean to say is that the Washington coaches have, for the past several weeks, been “getting Sam Howell ready” to be the backup, just like the SF coaches were doing with Purdy. The only difference is that the Niners’ starter got injured, while the Commanders’ starter didn’t.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of Washington fans making a lot of noise about why Washington coaches don’t have Sam Howell ready to play. That noise actually intensified when 5th year QB Baker Mayfield led the Rams to victory on Thursday night, just about 48 hours after arriving at the Rams facility.
So, the question today is: Do you think the Washington coaches are doing a good job or a bad job of handling their rookie quarterback, Sam Howell?
What do you think of the approach that the coaches have taken with Sam Howell in his rookie season?
This poll is closed
It’s been exactly right
The 49ers coaches have shown the right way to do it, and Rivera and his crew should be embarrassed by the difference
Howell should have been named the starter after Wentz’s injury
I understand the patience, but it’s time for Howell to start now
Howell should never have been drafted by the Commanders
I have a different or more nuanced view that I will explain in the comments section