Commanders rookie Sam Howell will make his first start against the Cowboys

Washington Commanders rookie quarterback Sam Howell finally gets a shot against a live defense.

As noted by Pro Football Talk’s Myles Simmons and ESPN’s John Keim, Washington head coach Ron Rivera told reporters Wednesday that Howell would start when the 7-8-1 Commanders complete their season at home. against the Dallas Cowboys 12-4 on Sunday.

Washington was eliminated from the postseason tournament, while Dallas could still clinch the NFC East Division title and the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs.

Per Simmons, Rivera indicated he would have pitched Taylor Heinicke on Howell and Carson Wentz if Washington was still alive in the hunt for the playoffs. Instead, Heinicke will serve as the primary backup when Howell sees his first regular-season action, and Wentz will be inactive.

“At the end of the day, at some point, if Sam has the opportunity to start, this would be the opportunity – why not end it now and go from there?” Rivera said of Howell. “But the biggest thing is we’re really intrigued in terms of watching and seeing what Sam can do as a quarterback in this league.”

The Commanders acquired Wentz from the Indianapolis Colts in March 2022 and already had Heinicke on the roster when they spent a fifth-round pick to land Howell in last year’s draft.

During spring training, offensive coordinator Scott Turner insisted Howell ‘would have opportunities’ to impress coaches, but the 22-year-old spent most of his first professional season watching Heinicke and Wentz take pictures in meaningful matches.

It should be noted that Heinicke is a free agent after the 2022 campaign and Wentz no longer has guaranteed money on his contract.

Keim wrote that Sunday’s divisional meet will “almost certainly” be Wentz’s last competition with Washington before he is cut, while Heinicke’s future with the organization is less clear in the early weeks of the tournament. winter.

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