The Washington Commanders were officially eliminated from playoff contention in Week 17 after they came up short against the Cleveland Browns, but that hasn’t stopped them from having a bit of quarterback drama heading into Week 18. After initially labeling Taylor Heinicke as the starter, it looks like Ron Rivera has changed his mind, and decided to label Sam Howell as the starter for Washington’s final game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys.
QB Sam Howell will start on Sunday pic.twitter.com/Ec7oYMKwtY
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) January 4, 2023
This is a noteworthy change for the Commanders, as Rivera initially labeled Heinicke as the starter but said that Howell would get some snaps along the way. Yet only a few hours later, Rivera has completely changed course and decided to name Howell as the starter instead, which should make things rather interesting for Washington in an otherwise meaningless game.
Howell was a fifth-round pick for the Commanders in the 2022 NFL Draft, and hasn’t played a down of football yet this season. But with neither Heinicke or Carson Wentz looking likely to be the long-term quarterback of the future, it makes sense for Washington to get a look at Howell and see if he shows them anything in his first NFL action.
While this game doesn’t mean anything for Washington, it is rather important for the Cowboys, so it doesn’t look like Sam Howell will be getting any free passes in his first start. But he does have some solid weapons around him ready to help, and it will be worth keeping an eye on his performance and seeing how he does in his first NFL action for the Commanders as they close out their season.