clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Commanders fans are positive about joint practice arrangement with Ravens and predicting success for Sam Howell

Survey results!!

Washington Commanders v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Joint Practices

Joint practices have become more and more popular among NFL teams. Aside from the competition, they offer coaches more control through situational drills, and with starters playing only a limited numbers of snaps in preseason games, it gives them a chance to get quality reps in a situation where injury is more avoidable.

The Redskins hosted the Patriots for joint practices in 2014, and Bill Belichick seemed quite happy with the arrangement.

“As a head coach of an NFL team, you don’t really get many opportunities to see what other people are doing,” Belichick said. “So in the NFL, this is like one of the few opportunities that we have to work with another staff, another team. You can always pick up something. There’s a lot of outstanding coaches on (the Redskins).”

The downside is that putting players from two different teams on the field together often leads to anger, frustration and fights, which sometimes costs both teams valuable practice time. In 2015, for example, when the Texans spent a week at the Redskins training camp in Richmond, VA, tensions mounted and multiple fights and brawls broke out on the final day of joint practice.

Hogs Haven members overwhelmingly approve of the joint practice arrangements with the Ravens. These practices will take place at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills and lead up to the teams’ second preseason game on Monday, Aug. 21, at FedEx Field.

QB ‘battle’

One feature of every football team and every training camp is competition. In theory, every position on every team is open to competition, with the NFL being the ultimate meritocracy. As a practical matter, however, teams need to have certainty — or at least a level of predictability — about key roster spots to move forward.

Ron Rivera has spent months signaling that Sam Howell is the team’s starting quarterback going into camp, and that the job is his to lose.

While the Washington faithful believed coach Rivera when he said this, skeptical national observers clearly did not. Mock drafters had Washington grabbing a signal caller in the first round. Headlines throughout the early months of the year asked what the team was going to do at the game’s most important position, with Washington repeatedly touted as a potential destination for Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr and — at one point or another — every other quarterback that was available in trade or free agency.

The tweet above, which is a QB ranking by Chris Simms, shows Sam Howell — who has started and won an NFL game against a 2022 playoff team — ranked behind rookies like Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson, who don’t yet know where the toilet facilities are in any of the NFL stadiums, as well as backups like Mike White, Gardner Minshew, and the guy that Ron Rivera let walk in order to move Sam Howell into the QB1 role — Taylor Heinicke.

This tells you all you need to know about what the national media and, by extension, NFL fans in general, think about Sam Howell.

ESPN”s John Keim and Sport Illustrated’s Albert Breer discuss the outlook for Sam Howell in 2023

Commanders fans have responded by mostly rallying around their 2nd-year quarterback, pointing out to anyone who wants to listen (and many who don’t) that if Sam Howell had been drafted at the end of the 2021 season, he would have probably been the first quarterback selected in the draft. They further point out that Sam has had a year of NFL training and coaching, and that he began his on-field career in the ‘22 season with a solid start against the Cowboys — a game in which he threw for one touchdown and ran for another en route to a 26-6 thumping of the (then) 12-4 Cowboys.

Whether driven by belief or hope, fans expect any success in the 2023 Commanders season to be driven by the performance of the team’s young quarterback, and most of them are predicting that he will be equal to the challenge.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

This week, we asked Hogs Haven members to predict what would happen at the quarterback position for the Commanders in 2024. Six out of ten respondents expressed belief in Sam Howell, saying that he would be the starting quarterback for the team again next year following a successful 2023 campaign. The wording of the most popular answer in the poll was: “Sam Howell will start, he will do well, and will earn the starting QB role for 2024 as well”.

Another third (or so) of respondents said that there would be no resolution at the QB position, but in reading the comments on the survey article, it seemed that most of those people may have felt confidence in Howell, but expected another middling season from Ron Rivera and the roster he has built.

It seems clear that Commanders fans are ready to stand behind their young quarterback as he steps up to lead the team. At a time when everyone is waiting for new ownership to take command, and with the fan base divided on so much else, it’s nice to see everyone rallying behind #14 as he heads into what could be the most important season of his career, despite skepticism and disbelief from the rest of the league’s media and fans.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.