Plenty of quarterbacks have looked great in the preseason, only to melt when teams hit the regular season and start doing things like blitzing or disguising coverages.
But the Washington Commanders have to be excited by what they saw on Monday night.
The Commanders named Sam Howell their starting quarterback last week, ending a competition with offseason addition Jacoby Brissett. Washington had to feel like it was the right call after watching Howell carve up the Baltimore Ravens.
In the first half, Howell was 19 of 25 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The Commanders had 17 points at halftime against a Ravens team that takes the preseason kind of seriously.
Nobody should be crowning Howell based on a good half against the Ravens’ backup defense. But it was more than just the stats. Howell looked very comfortable. He looked like a veteran going through his progressions, not a second-year player with just one NFL start. And when he did find a receiver open, he delivered strong, accurate throws.
It’s just preseason, but Howell was impressive.
Howell was once considered a first-round prospect, but his draft stock took a huge hit during his final college season at North Carolina. He fell all the way to the fifth round, when the Commanders made a smart, low-cost investment in him. Howell looked good last preseason and did well in his Week 18 start against the Dallas Cowboys last season. The Commanders mostly gave Howell the a clear runway to be their quarterback in 2023, signing Brissett in case Howell failed in camp. He didn’t.
Maybe Howell will turn into a pumpkin when the regular season starts. But if he hits, it’ll be one of the best things that has happened to the Commanders in a long time.