I’ll admit, after I’d relegated myself to the fact that we were not going the young, drafted quarterback route in 2022, I was a tad bit excited about Carson Wentz. I saw how well the 2021 offensive line pass blocked, and figured behind a solid unit, with weapons on the outside, he could thrive in this vertical offense. Adding guys like Jahan Dotson, Brian Robinson and Cole Turner in the draft further added to my excitement.
Yes, I had caught Ashburn Syndrome...
In the past, I allowed myself to be tricked into believing that “we were close”, however I had since built a very large concrete wall around me that was intended to protect against all these outside influences and set up that proverbial shield between reality and fantasy. I was not about to fall victim again... or was I? I swear, I’d discarded the orange Tupperware kool-aid pitcher for good!
Well, we all know how this chapter ended. Another non-winning season where we started slow, got hot, then, when fans were fooled into actually believing we were a decent football team, the ball was pulled from the hold before we could even make contact.
This, my friends, is Groundhog Day in the life of a Redskins/Football Team/Commanders fan!
Acquiring other team’s cast-offs and assuming they can become “the guy” at quarterback is no way to sustain success in this league. Sure, Matt Stafford recently won a Super Bowl under Sean McVay, but he was hardly considered a cast-off, and Ron Rivera is surly no McVay!
Now, this is not only on Rivera, although he’s pulled this s%^* two out of the three years he’s been the head coach/decision maker here. In my opinion, this downward spiral started on Easter Sunday in 2010 when my dinner was ruined as I found out we’d been fleeced for Donovan McNabb in a trade with the Eagles.
McNabb lasted just 13 games in D.C., which was 13 too many! Rex Grossman became the bridge quarterback before Robert Griffin III was drafted number two overall in an epic trade-up by Washington. Par for the course, injuries and inconsistent play doomed RG3’s tenure in Washington, and the staff turned to another drafted quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who actually sustained three seasons of success before ultimately leaving for greener pastures.
The quarterback carousel began to spin yet again...
The next five years saw a mix of re-treads and drafted rookies culminating in the trade for Carson Wentz in 2022. All told, a total of 12 different quarterbacks started games for Washington over this five-year stretch (second most in the NFL over the same time period).
This, however, wasn’t just happening in Washington as 2022 saw a record 69 different starting quarterbacks, the most in a non-strike season in NFL history. 12 different teams started three or more different quarterbacks this past season, and of course, Washington was one of them. Of these 12 teams with at least three different starting quarterbacks, only three (Ravens, Dolphins and 49ers) made the postseason.
It’s all about getting it right under center and Washington has been a model of what not to do.
Talk of the New Year in D.C. is once again centering around quarterback. There are rumors that Rivera will head into the summer with Sam Howell as the presumed starter, however a coach on the hot-seat like Rivera may not want to hitch his wagon to a signal caller with just 19 career regular season passing attempts.
The re-tread market could be incredibly tempting to what many consider a lame-duck head coach this offseason with marquee names like Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff and Matt Ryan being potentially available for trade. Others, like Jimmy Garoppolo, Daniel Jones and Geno Smith could tempt the desperate Rivera as free agent targets. All of these names should strike fear into the hearts of Commanders’ faithful for many different reasons.
Washington needs to go young at the quarterback position and look to build other areas of the team while having a signal caller on an affordable rookie deal.
The offensive line is the most glaring need, and it can be argued that three new starters are needed along the offensive front five. Warm bodies, like Rivera tried last year, will simply not cut it. Linebacker, tight end and cornerback are other areas where both depth and starters are needed. Spending high at the quarterback spot will severely limit what this team will be able to add via free agency, and potentially the draft if picks are required to obtain a starting veteran.
The move here has to be Sam Howell.
Not only is Howell on an affordable rookie deal, but he’s intelligent, mobile, has a big arm and can throw accurately to all levels of the field. Behind a solid offensive line, and with the weapons Washington has at wide receiver and running back, Howell can be a great guy to develop for the nexr new head coach to take on.
In this time of “what have you done for me lately”, the veteran re-tread route has not worked well for coach Rivera. If he tries it yet again in 2023, this fan base may run him out of town faster than Packers fans ran Dan Devine out of Green Bay.
What should the Commanders do at QB in 2023?
This poll is closed
Roll with Sam Howell - through thick and thin
Trade for a proven starter
Sign a free agent to be the unquestioned starter
Sign a modest veteran and let Howell and said veteran battle it out