The trend developing for the Washington Commanders is not good nor sustainable. Sam Howell has firmly established a reputation as a quarterback who consistently invites too much pressure and takes unnecessary sacks. The offense generally has an unfavorable run-pass imbalance to Howell and the offensive line.
NFL record for sacks taken in a season is 76, set by David Carr. For the Texans in 2002, their first year in the NFL.#Commanders Sam Howell has somehow taken 19 sacks in three games this year, putting him on pace to take 107.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 25, 2023
#NFL Highest Sack Rate in Super Bowl era (min. 500 passes)— Scott Kacsmar (@ScottKacsmar) September 26, 2023
1. Rob Johnson (14.80%)
2. Bob Berry (14.15%)
3. Justin Fields (13.33%)
4. Bobby Douglass (13.25%)
5. Steve Fuller (12.48%)
Note: Sam Howell is at 15.71% so far (118 attempts)
While the Commanders players praised their resiliency before week three, their actual test of resilience is now. Sam Howell has shown a propensity to hold on to the football longer than needed and unnecessarily put himself in harm's way. The offensive line is also not good enough to overcome Howell's current play style. The test begins with the offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, who will attempt to adjust his offense to establish efficiency and protect both the offensive line and Howell.
RBs with the most 10+ yard carries over the last 12 weeks of NFL football.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) September 26, 2023
26, Nick Chubb
24, Christian McCaffrey
23, Brian Robinson
22, Tony Pollard
20, Raheem Mostert
Brian Robinson is still waiting for his moment to shine in Bieniemy's offense, and there is an opportunity to use Robinson to prevent the current trend from growing further. What will the offense look like if Bieniemy chooses to feature Robinson more in an offense that has ranked 28th in rush attempts but ranks 15th in yards and has the third-best yards-per-attempt average in the league?
It doesn't have to stop at Robinson, either; finding ways to add extra protection on Howell's dropbacks will also benefit this unit, whether using tight ends or running backs in chip-blocks before releasing or keeping an extra blocker in more times than not.
With the Philadelphia Eagles coming up this week and even the weeks ahead of Philadelphia, Bieniemy's ability to adjust to his talent will be in the spotlight.
Catch the latest Trap or Dive Podcast, where Dre, AJ, and I close the book on the Buffalo Bills and the fallout since. Along with Lynnell Willingham of 106.7 The Fan, We discuss what the film showed, including answering questions on Howell in this offense, Bieineimy, and if that unit can improve moving forward.