Well before his first start, Sam Howell kept impressing Jonathan Allen at practice

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Allen impressed as Howell ‘stood tall’ taking big hits in practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In the third quarter of his first-ever regular-season start in the NFL, Sam Howell trucked Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Trevon Diggs at the goal line for a touchdown. It was a play that not only demonstrated the rookie quarterback’s rushing ability, but also his toughness and willingness to put his body on the line.

“You love seeing a quarterback get physical, man,” Commanders’ defensive tackle Jonathan Allen told the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday. “When we saw that [touchdown run], the stadium erupted.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Turns out, that play wasn’t a one-off.

Washington Commanders’ defensive players had been testing Howell in practice for months by hitting him hard, in an effort to prepare him for the physicality of the NFL. Howell took every hit and then some, impressing teammates.

“He would always be the scout team quarterback [in practice],” Allen said. “You’re not allowed to touch quarterbacks in practice, but I would always joke with [head coach Ron] Rivera, like, ‘Coach, he’s a rookie, let me just see what he’s got.’

“We would all kinda mess with him during practice. We would get back to him on a pass and kinda shove him, kinda bump him, just kind of mess with him. And he always just stood tall and delivered great balls consistently. But again, until you see him do that in a live situation, you don’t know it. Man, he played well.”

Washington Football Talk | Listen and Follow | Watch on YouTube

Howell certainly had some formidable, and quite large, human beings rushing him at practice in Ashburn. In addition to now two-time Pro Bowler Allen, the 22-year-old would also have to stand tall against Daron Payne, Montez Sweat and towards the end of the season Chase Young.

Still, Howell held his own, which is one reason why Allen believes the signal-caller has a real shot at becoming Washington’s starting quarterback come the 2023 regular season. But don’t get too hasty, the DT says.

“I 100% do [think Howell could become QB1],” Allen said. “The thing that’s tough for me and for Washington fans is to not be prisoner of the moment. It’s very hard. But, at the end of the day, you’ve seen it happen. You see guys like Dak [Prescott], Russell Wilson, guys who weren’t these high-drafted quarterbacks come and be franchise quarterbacks.”

Howell finished his first-ever start, albeit in a meaningless game given the Commanders’ playoff elimination, with 169 passing yards on 19 attempts, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and an interception. His future place on the depth chart is undetermined, but he has the support of Allen.

“I like his bravado and how he acted, and how he was so gracious with the team,” Allen said. “That’s a guy that you can get behind because you know he’s just gonna work and no matter what happens, he’s always gonna have that chip on his shoulder.”