Dan Orlovsky on how Eric Bieniemy can get the best out of Sam Howell


Which second year quarterback entering the 2023 NFL season would you bank on leading a team to the playoffs?

The more Dan Orlovsky thought about that question the more he thought about Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell. He explained what led him to that decision with Team 980's Craig Hoffman.

"No. 1 the roster in Washington," Orlovsky told Team 980. "That was a team that, in many ways a lot of us justifiably so thought, they could jump up in the draft and get one of these really talented quarterbacks because their roster is so ready and doesn't have a lot of flaws or holes. So their roster is a big part of that.

"No. 2 is the addition of Eric Bieniemy as a play caller. If you had to ask me 'Hey what is the fundamental principle, schematically, of Eric Bieniemy's offenses?' I would tell you really good RPO - run-pass option - play designer and then caller. And then you ask me, 'Man, what did Sam Howell run like 90 percent of the time at North Carolina?' I would tell you, RPOs."

And when it comes to specifically to the "Bieniemy and Howell marriage is: Bieniemy's RPOs have layers to them, they are not a pre-snap or post-snap read. They are pass-game concepts that are attached to these RPOs. So it's not two plays in one, it's four plays in one. And that's a lot of what Sam Howell did with Phil Longo at North Carolina," Orlovsky told Hoffman.

Both people will be in a "comfort zone" and, while not trying to simplify the game too much, Orlovsky said there will be "relatively easy throws that as long as there is talent on the outside there should be good connections consistently. It's kinda why I'm intrigued by this relationship."

But can the offensive line protect? Orlovsky went over the biggest challenge for the Commanders' o-line and an area Kansas City struggled with two years ago and how a lot of their success may come down to Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson winning against man coverage.

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