Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Sam Howell — who has thrown 19 passes in the NFL — will enter the offseason as the team’s first-string quarterback.
Further, Rivera said the Commanders are not interested in signing — or trading for — one of the veteran quarterbacks expected to be available this offseason.
Rivera made the comments during three separate interviews Wednesday after being named the recipient of the 2022 Salute to Service Award.
“The biggest thing we decided is he will start out as QB1,” Rivera told PFT Live. “He will most certainly get the first opportunity. We go into OTAs and minicamp, he’ll be QB1. He’ll fight for that position. We’ll give him every opportunity to earn it, and we’ll see what happens when we get into training camp and through it.”
As for pursuing Derek Carr via trade or signing free agent Jimmy Garoppolo?
“No,” Rivera said. “I think the biggest thing is we have to find a guy to come in that’s going to compete, but in terms of finding a guy you’re going to have to spend a lot of capital on, no.”
A fifth-round draft pick in 2022, Howell started the final game of his rookie season and completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 26-6 win against the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s his opportunity,” Rivera told reporters in a separate interview, where he said Howell is “more than likely” going to be QB1.
“This is a challenge to him. If he comes out and does the things that he’s capable of — we believe he’s capable of — he can most certainly be our guy. But we’ll find out,” Rivera added. “Again, that’s what competition’s going to do. It’s going to bring the best out in all our guys.”
The Commanders, who alternated quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke for the first 16 games, let go of offensive coordinator Scott Turner after finishing the season at 8-8-1.
The Commanders are still interviewing candidates to replace Turner.
Howell, 22, was inactive for nine games and did not play in the other seven games in which he was active in 2022.
The Commanders are expected to release Wentz before the league year begins in March. They acquired him from the Indianapolis Colts in an offseason trade and he finished 2-5 as the starter with 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
Heinicke took over when Wentz got hurt and compiled a 5-3-1 record, completing 62.2 percent of his passes for a team-high 1,859 yards with 12 TDs and six picks.
If Howell is tabbed the Week 1 starter, he would make the Commanders’ seventh different starter in seven years.
–Field Level Media