The projection changes by the week. For a while, Sam Howell looked like the clear quarterback of the future for the Washington Commanders. Lately, it has become less clear. And it has led to questions about what his role will be after this season.
Howell has had more than a few moments — and games — that showed his talent. He led Washington to rally from an 18-deficit at the Denver Broncos by throwing for 206 yards and two touchdowns in the final three quarters while posting a QBR of 77.2 in that stretch. He threw a combined five touchdowns to one interception in two games against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has routinely made off-schedule passes for big completions — notably in a win at the New England Patriots.
Howell had one seven-game stretch in which he threw 14 touchdown passes — tying Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen for the most during this period — and only four picks. Howell has shown toughness by running with physicality — he crashed off three defenders en route to a 7-yard touchdown run last month versus the New York Giants.
If Chicago ends up with the top pick, courtesy of Carolina, and wants to stick with Justin Fields at quarterback, then there probably will be competition for that spot. In that case, Reid said picking one of the top two passers would make the most sense. He said he had Howell as a late second-round pick in 2022. He has both Williams and Maye rated much higher.
“The gap is significant,” Reid said. “Both of them can be transcendent franchise quarterback types. Sam is an Andy Dalton type, top 15-20 starter at his peak. When Andy had his run, [the Bengals] made the playoffs. He was a playoff quarterback. So that’s not a shot at Sam. I’m trying to envision what he could be at his peak. He can still attain that ceiling, but [Williams and Maye] are a different type of prospect.”
Spielman said, thinking as an organization, “If we believe we have a shot at Caleb Williams or Drake Maye and those guys will get you to the Super Bowl, then I don’t know if you can pass on them regardless of how you feel about him.”
Commanders’ potential rebuild: Pay attention to Philadelphia connections if Washington looks for new GM
Could Washington poach someone from its NFC East rival?
[S]ources tell CBS Sports to pay attention to any Philadelphia connections when it comes to leading the personnel department in Washington.
To be sure, having or not having Philly ties is hardly (dis)qualifying for any candidate. That would just be one aspect of a candidate search.
The Eagles have gone to two Super Bowls in the previous five seasons, and Roseman has turned out an impressive group of personnel in recent years. Current Eagles staffers include:
- Assistant general manager Alec Halaby. The Harvard grad has spent his entire career with the Eagles and has been crucial helping develop analytical models.
- Vice president of football administration Jake Rosenberg. The Penn grad works as Roseman’s right hand and has a background as a commodities trader.
- Director of football operations Jeff Scott. He has Washington ties with the organization for nearly a decade before joining the Eagles in 2021 as a senior pro scout.
- Director of player personnel Charles Walls. He joined the Eagles last year after scouting for both the Browns and Packers.
- Director of scouting Brandon Hunt. Before coming to Philly last year he was in the running to be the next Steelers general manager.
But it’s not only those who currently have their checks signed by Lurie who could be of interest to Harris.
Sources believe being “analytics-literate” will be a requirement in Washington, which recently hired Eugene Shen as the SVP of football strategy and who figures to be involved in the process at some level.
The Commanders would be wise to go in a different direction...
This is something I don’t want to write. I have been assured by people in the know that there is no truth to the rumors - yet they persist. And I worry that giving it voice here will be akin to unwitting wizards uttering Voldermort and inadvertently summoning the darkness.
But if Josh Harris and the Washington Commanders are seriously considering working some kind of deal with the New England Patriots to bring Bill Belichick in as their next head coach, I have simple advice:
Commanders must avoid the allure of Bill Belichick
I admit there is some logic to the idea. It did work at one time in the Commanders’ past. It was 1969.
Legendary coach Vince Lombardi had stepped away from his coaching duties with the Green Bay Packers to serve as general manager in 1968. He believed being both general manager and head coach was too much for one man - he was smarter than most of us.
When he felt that itch to coach again, Washington’s owner Edward Bennett Williams, in a deal that could only have been orchestrated by a true insider, figured out a way to bring Lombardi to D.C.
It worked. Lombardi turned around a culture of losing. He coached Washington to its first winning record in more than a decade. He instilled discipline and a roadmap for success. He essentially discovered Larry Brown. Then he contracted cancer and died before he could build on the success of the initial season.
It was left to another veteran coach, George Allen, to complete the task. He took Washington to its first championship in three decades.
Lombardi was 56 years old when he came to D.C. Belichick will be 72 on the opening day of 2024.
In a conversation with WUSA 9 sports anchor Chick Hernandez, Forbes acknowledged the benching shook him.
“I was really just upset, and just like, it was something new to me; I didn’t know how to feel, honestly,” Forbes said.
“I’ve never been benched before. But it was like a learning experience. Luckily, I talked to my guy, [Eagles cornerback] Darius Slay, and he’s been benched before and he said to just keep my head up and keep coming to work………I would say my confidence, I’m always very confident in what I do. I would say when I got benched, it shook a little bit because I’d never been benched before, and I was in my head a lot, so I had to get past that.”
The Commanders inserted Forbes back into the starting lineup in a Week 9 win over the New England Patriots, where he played his best game of the season.
“The next game I started was New England, and I had an excellent game,” Forbes said.
Podcasts & videos
Fred and Forbes going 1-on-1 | The player’s Club with Emmanuel Forbes
Washington Commanders Sam Howell Benching a Positive According to Coach Eric Bieniemy | Week 16 Keys
Have Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson Regressed? | Take Command x Reception Perception
NFC East links
NFL league links
The New York Times Co. inked a deal this week with Apple to add The Athletic‘s full sports coverage to the Apple News+ subscription bundle— Sportico (@Sportico) December 23, 2023