Xavien Howard is still one of the best but has something to prove
Xavien Howard is the man. That can't be denied. But we all saw last season and it wasn't up to the standard that Xavien Howard has set. He made the Pro Bowl but even he said he didn't feel that he had a year that was near the bar that he has set for himself.
For other corners, his season last year would be just dandy. But as we are aware, Xavien Howard knows he can do better and he has said throughout the offseason and training camp that he feels very good and that he doesn't have any groin or hamstring stuff going on which are some ailments that slowed him down a bit last year.
But so far this year, Howard looks like the guy from two years ago who was one of the best corners in the league.
This play was from two weeks ago and to me it's the kind of play Howard had trouble with last year. He had issues with trailing guys and just didn't have the burst to close to make plays like this that often. Right now, it appears he does have that extra gear.
He is going to need that extra gear because like last year it's him and really young guys behind him. It was supposed to be Howard and Jalen Ramsey but we know he is out to who knows when? December, November, late October, I have no idea. I would expect sooner than later that we'll start hearing that Ramsey is ahead of schedule and getting close to returning which would be a bit of a miracle but I imagine it will still be said and reported as such.
You can make the argument that there are other better players on the team. I'm here for that discussion. But let's not act like X is washed or anything like that. It's not like he's late in the career Josh Norman here. Howard still has tread on those tires. The guy just turned 30 alright. Players are playing a bit longer and producing later in their careers more and more. Xavien Howard I expect will be a guy that keeps producing solid play for a few more years.
I just love watching the guy play. The way he takes out receivers on the regular will never get old. Does he get beat here and there? He does, just like everyone else.
Like everyone else on this list, Xavien Howard is massively important to what this team ultimately does. This team will not do damage in the playoffs without a fully healthy Xavien Howard. I firmly believe that.