A couple of days ago, ESPN Draft Analyst Matt Miller joined Lynnell Willingham this week to discuss Washington’s offseason. The conversation steered toward the quarterback situation, Sam Howell specifically, and chaos ensued.
"I compared [Sam Howell] to Colt McCoy," Matt Miller, NFL Draft analyst at ESPN, said. "Undersized, shorter guy, a little bit thicker body, not great arm strength." https://t.co/OaOVbmFfhr— The Team 980 (@team980) May 8, 2023
Hey Matt Miller - you should fire yourself for the comment you made comparing Sam Howell’s arm strength to Colt McCoy’s!— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) May 9, 2023
Hold up - people are mad about a Howell comp to Colt? Without injuries I think Colt had real chance to be valuable NFL starter. I think Sam does too. They have similar size, similar athleticism. What are people mad about?— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) May 9, 2023
Open the tweet to view the comments and quote tweets.
It got to the point where people mentioned Miller’s job after making such a comparison. That won’t happen in this article; it is not that serious. Commanders’ insider JP Finlay asked the most critical question of this conversation, what are people mad about?
NFL analysts, media, and fans have all done comparisons at one point, and some are still doing it to this day. The issue I believe people are having with Howell being compared to McCoy is based on recency bias. The NFL version of Colt McCoy was not the college football version of him, and Miller explained that on the Trap or Dive podcast.
“My preseason comp was Baker Mayfield. I eventually changed that because I thought Mayfield had a little more twitch athletically at the time (before 2021 and injuries). Especially when he was at Oklahoma, we saw him evading guys in space more. So then I revised my player comp for him pre-draft and said Colt McCoy. It’s funny; I remember changing my comp from Baker to Colt McCoy after Mack Brown said he thought Sam was a lot like Colt. From a mental and accuracy standpoint, they are also very similarly built.”
If Mack Brown, current North Carolina Tar Heels head coach, and Howell’s former college head coach, said Howell reminds him of McCoy, what does that say about the fans triggered by Miller’s comparison?
“I think what has happened over the last 24 hours is people think that’s an insult,” Miller continued. “Colt McCoy was one of the greatest college quarterbacks of that time. Had he not gotten hurt against Alabama, he probably would have won a National Championship at Texas. He was a fantastic player, so people are looking at that as a slight, when to me it’s, “Man, Colt was a stud coming out of college who was drafted higher than Sam Howell was.” He was just never the same after Alabama wrecked that shoulder.”
Some fans may still choose to disagree with Miller and, by extension Mack Brown, and that is their prerogative. But the reality is that comparisons are subjective and nuanced, and if Howell has as long of an NFL career as McCoy, then maybe they were on to something this entire time.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, check out the full episode of the Trap or Dive Podcast, where Matt Miller joined AJ, Dre, and myself to do a deep dive into Sam Howell and why he loved what Washington did in this year’s NFL draft.