Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera named rookie Sam Howell the starting QB after practice today. There was a report this morning that veteran Taylor Heinicke would get the start, with Howell getting playing time in relief. That was met with immediate criticism, and Rivera said he spoke with several people before coming to the decision to starting the 5th round rookie, and let him get his first regular season snaps in the NFL.
Howell is excited for the opportunity to start and play in his first real game in the league. He has learned a lot from being the 3rd string QB to start the season, and then dressing on game days as the backup to Taylor Heinicke. Howell wants to win his first game, and every game, he plays in the NFL, and is excited for his first opportunity against the Cowboys this weekend.
He took first team reps in practice today for the first time, which let the world know that Rivera had changed his mind after the public wasn’t happy with the leak about Howell getting mopup duty in a meaningless game. Today was the first time that the rookie QB got the opportunity to throw the ball to starting WRs Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. He said he had the opportunity to work with last year’s 1st round pick Jahan Dotson during rookie mini-camp, but it was great to work with Washington’s other two starting wide receivers.
LIVE: QB Sam Howell speaks to the media https://t.co/kVUjwQgswv— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) January 4, 2023
Excited to play this season:
Sam Howell said he is excited to play this weekend and feels like he’s learned so much this season— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) January 4, 2023
Sam Howell on what will make a successful first start: "To win. ... This is the biggest game of my life. ... I don't take any games for granted."— Ethan Cadeaux (@Ethan_Cadeaux) January 4, 2023
Working with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel:
Sam Howell is HYPE to throw to Terry, Curtis and Jahan pic.twitter.com/2VO05JBSIN— NBC Sports Commanders (@NBCSCommanders) January 4, 2023
Howell on getting to work with Terry and Curtis pic.twitter.com/gY70moOE0R— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) January 4, 2023
You'll be surprised to hear this, but Sam Howell said he's excited to start. The goal: Win.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) January 4, 2023
Added today was basically the first time he's thrown to McLaurin and Samuel.
Developing as a 3rd string rookie:
Howell said he appreciated how much he loved football by taking the backseat to Taylor and Carson. Thought midway through the year that his development has come a long way— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) January 4, 2023
Commanders fans wanted Sam Howell.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 5, 2023
They are getting Sam Howell.
The rookie quarterback will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Cowboys.
I asked Howell what he believes will be his biggest challenge in the game.
More tonight on @7NewsDC pic.twitter.com/uH9LipyDFm
Potential last game with Washington:
Taylor Heinicke may never play another snap in a Washington uniform.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 4, 2023
He's a free agent and he's not starting in Sunday's season finale vs. Dallas.
Taylor said, "if it is the last game, it's going to be a little emotional. Made some great memories"
More tonight on @7NewsDC pic.twitter.com/y7IjDWSbGW
Sam Howell starting:
Taylor Heinicke is a pro.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 5, 2023
I asked Taylor about Rivera's decision to start Sam Howell on Sunday against the Cowboys.
Taylor said, "obviously I want to be out there with the guys, but also understand it's kind of a business deal. We want to see what Sam's got." pic.twitter.com/8CgWTzQ4PS
Terry McLaurin on Damar Hamlin: “You never want to see a situation like that happen. … As athletes we know the risk we take when we put the helmet on, you just never think it’s going to come to that.”— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) January 4, 2023
Missing the playoffs:
A very mellow and bummed Commanders locker room today.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 4, 2023
The season is over after Sunday.@TheTerry_25 said, "it's just disappointing. We had quite a few weeks to control our own destiny and we didn't do that."
Live reports from Ashburn tonight on @7NewsDC pic.twitter.com/q7tvKeGbWk
Sam Howell starting:
Thank you to my @Commanders media brethren for this stat.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 4, 2023
With Sam Howell starting on Sunday, @TheTerry_25 will be playing with his 10th different quarterback here in Washington.
McLaurin has only been in the league for 4 years.
That's banana land crazy. Wow. pic.twitter.com/qmXGSeLPtu
Kendall Fuller shared his thoughts and emotions on seeing Damar Hamlin's situation unfold. pic.twitter.com/3A2pZxGs8b— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) January 4, 2023
Playing the Cowboys after being eliminated from the playoffs:
This might be my favorite quote of the day from the Commanders locker room.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 4, 2023
The players are obviously disappointed that they won't be going to the playoffs.
Kendall Fuller said, "Dallas doesn't care, my only focus is preparation and going out there and playing ball." pic.twitter.com/XIDk3qlhKa
Commanders linebacker @KhalekeHudson grew up with @HamlinIsland just outside of Pittsburgh.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 4, 2023
These last couple of days have been very hard for Khaleke.
In the locker room today, he said, "it's bigger than just football, this is a life thing."
More tonight on @7NewsDC pic.twitter.com/Ovm9AWXuJX