Simms: Howell could make No. 39 QB ranking ‘silly’

Chris Simms makes the case to Mike Florio why Sam Howell has the edge over Desmond Ridder in his Top 40 QB Countdown and examines the QB’s potential for success next season.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: The guy who looks a little like, or a lot like, John Belushi--


MIKE FLORIO: --Sam Howell, the guy that the Commanders are all in on. A year after they turned every stone, looking for every possible starting quarterback, they decided, we're going to go with the young guy, the cheap guy and see what he has. And they would point out that if he were to come out in the draft a year earlier than he did, he may have been a first-round pick, not a fifth-round pick.

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CHRIS SIMMS: Well, yeah. I mean-- you know-- and again, I also-- hey, this is the fascinating thing about our 2023 season. We got two guys here who-- yeah. I mean, like, undoubtedly, he just got, hey, here's the keys to the organization, and you really haven't proven yourself, but we're going to back you and do that.

That's unusual. It really is. Sam Howell has made one start in the NFL, and he was given the keys to go, hey, nope, you're the starter. We're going with it. I give Washington a lot of credit, right? He did great in his one opportunity. He's a good, little athlete, you know?

Why he beats Desmond Ridder? He's got better feel in the pocket. He's a better overall thrower of the football. He just has better feel as to where to move in the pocket and how to deliver the ball for the most part. And he's fearless in the pocket as far as hanging in there.

But yeah, I think his ability to control the ball and make a few, little off-platform throws or slide up in the pocket to find a guy over the middle and the little window, he's just got a little better feel in that department compared to Desmond Ridder. And that's why I gave him the edge there. But either way, these are two guys that, like I said, are rookie plus, and I'm excited to see what they do.


And I got to think, you know, Brock Purdy and other instances like that are giving Jalen Hurts, whatever-- are giving teams confidence to go, you know what, let's build a team, and we think we can make it work with these type of quarterbacks.

MIKE FLORIO: And look, they have Eric Bieniemy running the offense in Washington. They love what he's brought to the table. And he can make Sam Howell better than Sam Howell otherwise would have been.

CHRIS SIMMS: Well, definitely. And, you know, that's where my-- hey, listen, I'm going about my list about, you know, where they are going here into the 2023 season. I'm no more-- there's been years where I've tried to project a little bit, and I'm not doing that. It's just too hard, right?

Sam Howell is certainly one of those guys I look at number 39 to go, his stats and their win-loss record could make 39, you know, look silly after the year. He's got that potential here-- even Desmond Ridder, because I think the Falcons are a team that could surprise some people.


But, you know, with Bieniemy, Jahan Dotson, like we said, Curtis Samuel, Terry McLaurin, the running backs, the tight-end play, I mean, they have a chance to be an exciting offense and catch some people off guard. And he could put up some numbers.

MIKE FLORIO: Who's set up more for success this year, Ridder at 40 or Howell at 39?

CHRIS SIMMS: I think Howell is, from our, like, you know, sexiness, yards, TDs, all of that, Ridder, I really feel like they're going to play-- they're going to play Tennessee Titans 2019 football, you know? Run Bijan Robinson. Run Bijan Robinson. You know? Bootleg Desmond Ridder, you know?

Read option Desmond Ridder, Bijan Robinson. Right? Play action pass back to Bijan. Bijan, Allgeier. I think they're going to be that kind of football team.


MIKE FLORIO: Drake London, Kyle Pitts.


MIKE FLORIO: Cordarrelle Patterson.

CHRIS SIMMS: Right. So I think they're going to come at you that way. They're going to be more, we're going to play defense, we're going to run the ball, control the clock, and Desmond Ridder is going to be efficient. And they're going to, kind of, manage him. And I think that's, kind of, what, at least, I expect from the Falcons.

MIKE FLORIO: And, you know, to continue a theme that we addressed yesterday, we focused on it as it relates to the NFC South, where the Saints have two-- Sunday, Thursday.



MIKE FLORIO: The Commanders have two--


MIKE FLORIO: --as well. The Falcons don't even have one. And again, you're talking about tight margins, a little bit here, a liitle bit there.

CHRIS SIMMS: No doubt.

MIKE FLORIO: A bounce of the ball here, just that little extra bit you get of game planning there from having three more days instead of only four to turn it around. All it takes is one win to be the difference between in and out. And I think the Falcons are a team that we need to watch.

They've been 7 and 10 each of the last two years.


MIKE FLORIO: I think they're a team we need to watch to steal a playoff berth, whether it's to win the division or get a wild card berth.


CHRIS SIMMS: If I was a guy that was into betting or anything-- like, last year, where I felt like Jaguars would be the team to play, like, the long shot, could maybe get in the-- but Atlanta would be the team I'd throw money on this year to go. You know, oh, those are great odds.

Like you said, there are some things to believe in. I think they're a very good coaching staff. They are, to me, one of the teams that won the offseason between free agency and the draft. I thought they did a really, really good job. And yeah, I'd be, kind of, shocked if they're not more of a player than they've been the last two years.