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Commanders fans don’t want Wentz and don’t want another veteran quarterback from another team in 2023

Poll results!!

Washington Commanders v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The confidence of Washington fans took a beating when the Commanders lost 20-12 to division rival Giants on Sunday Night Football.

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From a high of 85% a month ago, the proportion of fans expressing confidence in the direction of the franchise fell to 78%, 71%, and now, this week, to just 50%. Losing sucks.

Washington’s chances of making the postseason took a beating with their first loss since they fell to Minnesota in Week 9, as the surging Lions could actually win out to reach 10 wins, while very few people believe that the Commanders have what it takes to go into San Fancisco and beat the 49ers on Christmas Eve. According to Draft Kings, the Commanders are 7 point underdogs.

Still, Washington actually controls its playoff future; win their three remaining games (Niners on the road, Browns & Cowboys at home) and they are in as either the 6th or 7th seed, depending on how the Giants finish.

So, the glass may be half empty or it may be half full. Depends on how you look at it.

What does seem to be clear to most observers is that, just like every season since Kirk Cousins last played in burgundy & gold in 2017, Washington has questions — lots of questions — at the quarterback position.

This week’s Reacts survey questions focused on the quarterback position, asking what Hogs Haven readers wanted the team to do about the starting quarterback in 2023. The results were...not unequivocal.

The option of starting Sam Howell was the most popular, but a quarter of the voters opted for using 2023 as a ‘consolidation’ year (sort of maintaining the status quo) and then drafting a rookie in 2024. The third option of bringing back Taylor Heinicke as the starter polled only 16%, but it was clear from the comments that many Hogs Haven members want #4 to return as the backup again next year, with either Howell or someone else as the starter.

The other thing that was clear from both the poll and the comments was that very few fans want to see Wentz return, and — after Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Wentz — there’s almost no support for the idea of signing a veteran quarterback via trade or free agency.

Even with a list of fairly attractive free agent options to consider, Hogs Haven members who voted showed that they simply don’t want another “retread”. The hope is to find our own gold nugget with Sam Howell or draft and develop our own guy.

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More than half of those who responded to the survey said “no” to the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, with Lamar Jackson getting the most support at just 16%.

The front office should be listening. Washington fans have no interest in another veteran. After a swing & a miss on Dwayne Haskins in 2019, and the fairly conservative use of a 5th round pick on Sam Howell in this year’s draft, the fan base wants the front office to keep swinging. Either turn Sam Howell into the starter, or draft another prospect (and keep on drafting till the team finds its guy).

Clearly, there is a great deal of uncertainty among fans not only about what will happen, but also about what they want to have happen. Some fans want to see the team continue to push for the playoffs this season, while other have already written off the game against the Niners as a loss and awarded the Lions 3 wins in their minds, bringing the 2022 season to an end mentally. Having written off the season, which right now is very much alive, those fans want to see Sam Howell play, working on the theory that the coaches “won’t know what they have” until they see him play meaningful regular season football.

But the poll results and comments strongly indicate that there is more clarity about what Commanders fans don’t want than what they do want. The only truly consistent messages seem to be a desire to (at some point this year or next) let Sam Howell compete; to give Taylor Heinicke a chance to return as the backup; and to avoid another veteran signing, whether by trade or through free agency.

With three games left in the season and the Commanders currently the 7th seed in the NFC, everything is still possible for this team. We’ll see what happens in these final three games, and in any postseason games that follow, and hopefully revisit the quarterback questions when the Commanders’ 2022 season finally comes to an end — preferably sometime in February.

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