Quarterback has been an infamously turbulent position for the Washington Commanders since 2018 with 13 players starting at least one game since 2018. The hope is that Sam Howell, listed as "QB1" on the unofficial depth chart, will be the one to calm those waters.
As the Commanders begin Week 3 of camp, Eric Bieniemy believes the second-year signal-caller has lived up to those expectations.
"Sam's actually doing a hell of a job," Bieniemy said. "I've seen the growth. You can see when he's confident, he's...releasing that ball. It's a thing of beauty."
Howell, like the rest of the offense, has had an up and down training camp, but normally backs up a disappointing practice with a better performance the following day. Many of his traits that coach Ron Rivera and Bieniemy have praised, like his ball placement and ability to self-correct his errors, have been on display. His command of the huddle has also been impressive, and his teammates have complemented his leadership running the unit.
One of the biggest areas of growth Bieniemy has witnessed from Howell is in his ability to process information. Bieniemy said that Howell would overthink situations at times earlier in the season, but the team has intentionally been "putting a lot on his plate."
"I want him to understand...you gotta process everything," Bieniemy said. "It's been fun watching his growth process."
Howell has not been named the starter for Week 1 yet. In the meantime, he still needs to overcome the obstacles put in front of him and earn that title. The next challenge comes on Friday in the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, and while Rivera hasn't said how much he will play, the snaps he does get will be critical to his evaluation.
But Bieniemy has high hopes for Howell's future.
"I think the sky can be the limit for this kid," Bieniemy said.
Here are some more observations from Day 12 of camp.
-- Howell and the offense continued their progress from Sunday and had another solid practice on Tuesday. The unit started off the first 11-on-11 period with five runs and three passes, all of which were completions for Howell. On one play, Terry McLaurin secured the catch of the day with an over-the-shoulder grab near the right sideline while being covered by Christian Holmes.
-- Sam Cosmi looks like he's getting more comfortable at guard by the day. During red zone drills, he executed an impressive pull block on Jamin Davis, creating a hole for Brian Robinson on the right side of the defense.
-- Speaking of Cosmi, he and Andrew Wylie are building strong chemistry with each other. This is most prevalent in pass protection, as the two are able to pass off blitzes and twists with ease.
The Washington Commanders were back on the field from the second practice of Week 3. Check out the best photos from the action this morning.
-- At the same time, there are moments where the Commanders' defensive line shows why it's considered one of the best in football. Montez Sweat and Jon Allen executed a twist during 1-on-1 pass blocking drills that left Charles Leno and Chris Paul struggling to adapt.
-- Another note on Allen: he had a nice rep during red zone drills while working against Paul. Allen beat Paul on the inside, which allowed him to crash the pocket and pick up a sack.
-- Howell was forced to scramble on several plays today, but the quarterback was still able to deliver accurate throws. Later in red zone drills, Howell was forced to roll to his right before throwing a strike to Jonathan Williams, who made the catch with Jamin Davis covering him.
-- And if Howell was forced to throw from the pocket, he still did so with accuracy and poise. He capped off one of his series with a touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson that had to be thrown over the outstretched arms of a defensive lineman.
-- Phidarian Mathis isn't known for his pass-rushing abilities, but he does have an impressive bull rush that he used on Jaryd Jones-Smith, who was essentially walked back into the lap of the quarterback.
-- Sweat continues to be one of the best players on the field. He blew up a running play by Derrick Gore during 11-on-11 drills right after the ball was handed off.
-- Cole Turner has another strong day and looks like one of the biggest standouts of camp. He had one of his best catches late in practice with a toe-tapping grab between three defenders near the end zone.
-- Kazmeir Allen has had a quiet training camp, but he ended Tuesday's practice with touchdowns on back-to-back plays. At this point, Allen has a challenging path to making the roster, but plays like those are a good way to get the coaches' attention.
-- Finally, let's end things with some thoughts from Bieniemy on his coaching style:
"I'm always gonna be loud and I'm always gonna be vocal. I'm always gonna demand from our leaders, but on top of that, I'm watching everything. Body language, how we address in the huddle, how we're getting up to the line of scrimmage, how we're presenting ourselves. Those things are important, because you gotta send a message to the defense. I want our guys to clearly understand that we're not taking anything for granted."