Anytime your starting quarterback throws four interceptions in a game, there will be questions. That is unless that quarterback is Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, or someone with that pedigree.
Additionally, Howell was sacked nine times, some of which were on him for holding the ball too long.
After the game, head coach Ron Rivera and all of Howell’s teammates expressed support for the second-year quarterback. Howell had played well in his previous three starts, and Sunday’s game was his first multi-turnover game as an NFL player.
Surely, after one bad game in his fourth NFL start, there wouldn’t be any talk of a quarterback controversy. But this is Washington.
One day after Washington’s loss, Rivera met with the media and was asked if he had a leash on Howell.
“Well, right now we are 2-1,” Rivera said. “Sam’s won three games in four starts. So, we’ll just continue to go from there and see how things go. We kept Sam in because we felt the only way he’s going to grow and get better is to play. That’s why we did what we did.”
Was this the right time for that question? Howell had one bad start, and someone was already questioning if there was a leash on him. Rivera did a good job of answering the question while also dodging it a bit.
There are multiple ways to look at this situation. If Howell struggles against the Eagles again on Sunday, do you even think of making a move? It depends on how he responds to this week’s performance, but as a whole, no, there should be no move to Jacoby Brissett. You declared that Howell was your guy and spent all of the offseason telling everyone why he was the guy.
Secondly, what if new ownership wants to see Howell on the field for all 17 games? It would make sense, considering this is their chance to know if they need to make a bold move for a quarterback next offseason or stick with Howell.
For now, any talk of benching Howell is silly. Let him show everyone how he can respond. Next week will be tough. Win or lose, his response to his Week 3 performance will say a lot about Howell moving forward.