We're still months away from actual football being played, but this summer's OTAs will provide fans, and coaches for that matter, with glimpses of what the Washington Commanders' roster will look like once Week 1 comes around Sept. 10.
This is particularly true for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who is getting his first in-person look at incumbent starting quarterback Sam Howell as he tries to earn the job for the regular season.
Take his evaluation of how Howell looks in shorts and a helmet against no pass rush with as many grains of salt as you want, but Bieniemy has been impressed with what he has seen from the second-year quarterback.
"Sam's done a heck of a job," Bieniemy told reporters at the Commanders' flag football event on May 20. "Sam's very professional. He's very critical of himself."
It's not much, but it is an encouraging sentiment given how much head coach Ron Rivera has preached that Howell is ready for the opportunity to be the Commanders' starting quarterback. The Commanders were already high on him when they took him with their fifth-round pick in 2022, but they started to see a possible path towards him being a long-term answer at the position near the end of his rookie year.
Howell's performance against the Dallas Cowboys in his first career start was the culmination of those improvements, but before that, Rivera and his staff saw progress in his decision-making and footwork once he became the primary backup.
"A couple of times some things happened in practice, and you would see him fix it himself," Rivera said back in March. "That was always something that you look for. There is something that is not right, a quarterback will fix it. He was doing things like that probably mid to end of the season, so we felt really comfortable about it."
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