Commanders’ Eric Bieniemy Hire Will Not Impact Sam Howell’s Status As QB1

The Commanders made a big splash when they landed Eric Bieniemy as their offensive coordinator several days ago. However, that hire will not change the club’s approach to its quarterback position, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

Back in January, we heard that Washington was telling potential OC candidates that 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell is expected to be the team’s QB1 when training camp begins. Although head coach Ron Rivera subsequently left the door open to a veteran addition, it was clear that such a player would be more of a backup type and would likely not be one of the high-profile passers on the free agent and trade markets.

Now, even with Bieniemy on board, Howell remains in the driver’s seat to open the 2023 campaign as the Commanders’ QB1, and that suits the newly-minted OC just fine. Bieniemy, like Washington’s other offensive coordinator targets, is high on Howell and much of the rest of the offensive roster, which includes strong skill position depth in running backs Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson and wide receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel. Because of generally substandard quarterback play, the club posted below-average marks in total offense and points per game in 2022 despite leading the league in time of possession. If Howell develops as the Commanders apparently believe he will, and if the team can bolster its O-line, it would be fair to expect a much more productive offense in 2023.

With Washington about to start a rookie-contract signal-caller and on the verge of cutting bait on Carson Wentz‘s contract — which will come with no dead money ramifications — it will be much easier to address the offensive line and other needs. Bieniemy could therefore be well-positioned to improve his head coaching stock, which has dropped in recent years despite the continued success of the Chiefs, his former employer.

Howell started just one game for the Commanders in his rookie season, a Week 18 win over the Cowboys. In that contest, he completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 169 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also added another 35 yards and a touchdown on five carries.

View Comments (20)