Ron Rivera on committing to Commanders QB Sam Howell for the rest of the season: 'I can't predict the future'

Tensions are mounting in Washington amid a 3-4 start for the Commanders.

The heat is rising on both head coach Ron Rivera and quarterback Sam Howell.

The former was asked about the latter's job status Monday. More specifically, Rivera was asked if he was willing to commit to Howell as Washington's quarterback for the rest of the season. His answer? Not exactly.

"I will tell you this," Rivera said. "I'm committed to him. And we'll see how things go. But I can't predict the future. And the only thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna focus in on one game at a time.

"Because the truth of the matter is that's the only thing that matters right now is getting ready for Philadelphia. Once I get done with this conversation with all you guys, it'll be on to Philadelphia."

None of that sounds promising for Howell or the Commanders, whose lives won't get any easier in next Sunday's game against the 6-1 Eagles.

Can Ron Rivera and Sam Howell figure out how to limit he number of sacks the quarterback takes? (Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Can Ron Rivera and Sam Howell figure out how to limit the number of sacks the quarterback takes? (Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) (Jamie Schwaberow via Getty Images)

Giants swarm Commanders' offense

Monday's question arrived following Sunday's 14-7 loss to a spiraling New York Giants team that entered the game with a 1-5 record. The Commanders produced 273 yards of offense against a defense that ranks 23rd in the league in both points and yards allowed per game. It was an anemic offensive outing from a team that ranks 22nd in yards and 20th points per game.

A fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Howell's in his first season as Washington's full-time starter, a decision Rivera made in the offseason after Howell showed promise in a Week 18 start against the Dallas Cowboys. In seven starts this season, Howell's completed 65.2% of his passes for 6.8 yards per attempt, 249.9 yards per game with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's added 119 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Can Commanders limit Howell's sacks?

The turnovers and Howell's tendency to take sacks have particularly hampered Washington's offense. Howell leads the league with a whopping 40 sacks taken for 267 yards lost. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is second with 28 sacks taken for 150 yards lost.

The negative plays have repeatedly stunted drives and put Howell in a position to take chances he otherwise wouldn't. It was the case Sunday from Washington's opening drive. On Howell's first dropback of the game, the Giants rushed five and got immediate pressure on Howell. He failed to get rid of the ball and was dropped for an 8-yard loss.

The sack put the Commanders in third-and-17, and they punted after failing to convert for the first down. The sack was the first of six for the Giants defense, accounting for 52 lost yards. Howell was hit 12 times.

This is issue No. 1 for Washington's offense. No team that repeatedly finds itself in second- and third-and-long is going to find success on the scoreboard. It's up to Rivera and Howell to figure out how fix it. If they don't, both of their jobs will be on the line.