Three seasons have come and gone for Ron Rivera as Washington Commanders head coach.
And eight starting quarterback quarterbacks have taken snaps in that time, too.
Finding stability at signal-caller has been an unanswered quandary for Rivera. He believes he’s finally found the answer in Sam Howell, however.
“I think there’s not that question mark still, you know what I’m saying?” Rivera said, via team transcript, when asked how he felt about the quarterback position this year in comparison to the previous ones. “For three seasons, I’ve always felt that I had a question mark and now it feels like, ‘OK, this is pretty good.’ I mean, I’m pretty comfortable, pretty confident and I look forward to seeing it. I really do.”
Rivera’s comments came less than a week removed from Howell being named the team’s starting quarterback. They also were uttered just two days following the aforementioned “other night,” when Howell turned in a splendid Monday evening showing against the Baltimore Ravens in the team’s second preseason outing.
Howell put up 188 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-25 passing. He was in command of the offense, throwing an accurate ball and showing poise under pressure. Preseason or not, it has Rivera confident entering the regular season.
“I mean, the other night seeing it was, ‘Wow, he did some really nice things and let’s keep rolling, let’s keep growing and hopefully it continues,'” Rivera said.
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Alex Smith, the late Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Garrett Gilbert, Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz and Howell have each taken starting snaps during Rivera’s tenure coaching Washington.
He’s no doubt hoping Howell will put a stop to the Commanders’ chaotic QB carousel.
Howell has just one start’s worth of experience under his belt, which came in Week 18 of last season.
Nonetheless, the North Carolina product followed up his official promotion to QB1 with a stellar showing. It might well have served as evidence enough that Rivera’s exhaustive odyssey to finding a starting quarterback who sticks has ended.
“You know my first three years, every year it was a conversation,” Rivera said. “Every year it was a point of discussion. Every year it was, ‘Well, what are we gonna do? How are we gonna do it?’ And then trying to figure out what resources could you use? You know, do we try to trade for this guy? I mean, the amount of work that was done two years ago, I mean, you spent a lot of time because you wanna get it right, you try to get it right and you know how important it is, especially in this league today.”
If nothing more, Howell has changed the outlook and provided optimism that the franchise has finally gotten it right.
“We feel very strongly,” Rivera said. “I know I do going into this season that we’ve got a guy.”
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