Time to Get Sam Howell Ready for Houston | Washington Commanders
By Adam Aniba
Since the injury to Wentz, Taylor Heinicke has started 3 games, putting together a 2-1 record. Those games have led to more questions for the offense, as opposed to answers. Although Heinicke has made a few splash plays through the air, his receivers continue to bail him out with timely receptions.
His 629 passing yards for 5 TDs and 3 ints through three games, just isn't good enough. Even more concerning, is his lack of rushing yards with only 50 yards on the season. Heinicke is at his best when giving the defense a dual threat to account for, but that hasn't been the case.
The coaching staff continues to put Heinicke in low percentage drop back situations, even though RPO/Zone-Read concepts would help overshadow his shortcomings as a passer. The offensive line struggles have not helped the cause, but not allowing them to push the line of scrimmage on 3rd/4th and short situations, have taken away opportunities to sustain drives.
The bottom line is Heinicke isn't the answer and going back to Wentz would be a mistake, considering the current trajectory of the season and offensive lines durability/performance issues .
Although their overall record is 4-5, the defense has been the primary reason for their 3-1 record through four weeks (NFL rank -10th pts allowed & 7th in sacks). A lot can change with 8 more games remaining, but with PHI 8-0 and both DAL/NYG sitting at 6-2, it's time to look towards the future.
Many fans have started to look at quarterback draft prospects and that isn't hasty considering the current state of the position. The truth is Washington has needs to address this offseason at multiple positions. They need to see 5th round rookie Sam Howell perform in game action, in order to truly know what they have going forward.
Heinike's deal expires at the conclusion of the season. Moving on from Wentz ,who carries a zero cap hit if released in '23, seems like the wise play with more cap space needed for '23.
Rookie QB Sam Howell displayed his ability to improvise with his legs last season at UNC and during the the pre-season for Washington. (FULL Feb '22 Howell Scouting Report)
Howell is a former baseball player, who understands how to throw with velocity, but also displays impressive touch. After losing his top receivers and running backs to the NFL in '20, he was forced to improvise and become a runner with limited weapons to lean on.
What stands out with the former UNC QB is ability to lead and rally players around him, similar to Heinicke. Unlike Taylor, Howell has the ability to get the ball downfield with impressive arm strength and accuracy, while displaying anticipation particularly on deep routes.
Although Howell will have his share of struggles, his football IQ and ability as a field general, need to be tested in the regular season.
The Philadelphia matchup on MNF is a must win for Washington, in order to keep pace in the NFC East. There should be no delusion that Wentz/Heinicke are the solution at quarterback for the Commanders.
Unless Heinicke has his best game of his career vs the Eagles and gets the W, making the switch to the rookie against the Texans, should be the play and a move towards the future.
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