Washington Commanders starting QB Sam Howell answered questions from the media before today's practice. The team is preparing for their second game of the season against the New York Giants. Washington lost the first game in New Jersey 14-7, and returns home with a 4-6 record to host their division rivals.
Sam Howell had a rough outing against Wink Martindale's defense in the first game, getting sacked 6 times. In the three games since, Howell has only been sacked 7 times, and has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 8 TDs. The offensive line has two new starters, and Howell has been improving from week-to-week. He says his confidence has also grown, but he's always had confidence in his arm.
Howell's play and his stats have been getting national attention since he became the NFL's passing yardage leader after the Seahawks game. He said he's not concerned with individual stats, and is focused on improving and winning football games. Howell has been working closely with new OC Eric Bieniemy since the off-season, and says he can tell what kind of plays EB is going to use next. Washington's offense is the most pass-happy in the league, and Howell's stats have been jumping up recently.
LIVE: QB Sam Howell speaks to the media before practice https://t.co/VMAekDOJyP— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) November 15, 2023
Rematch with the Giants:
Sam Howell on the Seahawks and his thoughts on the Giants pic.twitter.com/cUC0T8DDZs— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) November 15, 2023
Obviously, that was a disappointing game for us. We didn’t play well offensively and there’s a lot of things we could have done a better job of but we’re excited. We got another opportunity to go against them. They got a good defense, and they do a lot of really good stuff on the defensive side of the ball. They mix up the looks and every single game they’re doing different looks and stuff, so it makes it harder to prepare. But all we can do is prepare for everything they put on tape. We’re excited for the challenge and we know we let one get away last time for sure.
Sam Howell says he’s always had “all the confidence” in his arm but now he’s becoming more confident as a player pic.twitter.com/9Q35YDiXjU— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 15, 2023
I just think my overall understanding of defensive football has gotten better throughout the year. And obviously just having those in-game experiences and just learning more about what defenses are trying to do to stop us. Obviously, this week we’ll play the Giants and just having that one game under our belt, I think will be big for us as far as our preparation going into this week and we’re excited.
Touchdown pass to Dyami Brown and what led to him getting the ball:
He was really probably the second guy in my progression. The nickel did a good job kind of getting in that first window of Dyami’s original route, but I was just trying to influence Dyami to kind of come inside of that guy. And obviously we’ve played a lot of football together, so I have a good feel for kind of what he’s going to do in those types of situations and he made a good play. I tried to throw it where only he could get it. He jumped up, made a good play and he did the rest. But I mean there was good protection on that play. That was just a good football play for our offense for sure.
Feel more comfortable making that throw now than in previous weeks?:
Maybe. I’ve always been confident in my arm, and I’ve always felt like I could make every single throw on the football field. I think in that situation, I have all the confidence in the world that I can get the ball where I want to get the ball. I’m probably just a more confident player, but the confidence in my arm has never changed.
Was the touchdown pass to Brown intentionally thrown to him?:
Yeah, I mean, honestly, even if it was somebody else, I would probably anticipate them to do the same thing. I have trust in all those guys, and I feel like I have pretty good chemistry with all the receivers that we have. So, I think no matter who it was in that situation, I still probably would’ve made the same decision. It just happened to be Dyami at that point. I trust all my guys, everyone’s making plays.
Obviously, we got to try to continue to get more people involved and get people the ball earlier on in football games to get them going. But yeah, no matter who’s out there, we’ve thrown the ball to a lot of guys this year and I really don’t care who’s out there. I know everyone that’s on the football field can make plays. It’s just my job to get the football to the right person and let them do what they do.
League-leading passing stats:
Going into Week 11 of the NFL season, Commanders QB Sam Howell has the most passing yards in the league.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) November 15, 2023
That's pretty darn good.
But, does he care?
Howell said, "it doesn't really mean much to me...I look more into what we're doing as a team."
Great answer. pic.twitter.com/FYv571RSnd
Sam Howell has some gaudy, league-leading stats, but he's not overly enthused about the numbers. pic.twitter.com/gHLcpI1GbN— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 15, 2023
Howell said the league-leading stats don’t mean all that much to him. Doesn’t want to look at personal accomplishments. Instead, he wants to focus on the team and what he can do to help them win— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) November 15, 2023
Honestly, I don’t really look at it a whole lot. It doesn’t really mean much to me. Obviously, I want to go out there every single weekend, play well and give our team a chance to win. Obviously, we haven’t won enough games. We haven’t won the games that I feel like we should have won this season. So that’s a little bit disappointing, but I really don’t look too much into what I’m doing on a personal level. I look more into what we’re doing as a team and just how I can improve for this football team and how I can put this football team in better chances to win football games.
Does he pay attention to the national attention he is getting:
Commanders quarterback Sam Howell has been getting quite a bit of national attention lately.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) November 15, 2023
Has he noticed? Does he care?
Howell said, "It doesn't change anything for me. I do everything I can to stay focused on this team and each game....still a lot of games left." pic.twitter.com/1OwM8Ho82S
Not really. It really doesn’t change anything for me. I haven’t really noticed if it is out there, but I just try to do everything I can to stay focused on this team and stay focused on each and every game that we play and just taking it one day at a time.
And we still have a lot of games left. I think we still have seven games left, that’s a lot of football and a lot can happen in those seven games, and we’re going to take it one week at a time and we feel good about our chances against every single one of these teams that we play.
So, it’s just a matter of us doing the right things throughout the week to give ourselves a chance on Sunday and then going out there on Sunday and executing. We have a lot of football left, so that’s what we’re focused on.
Relationship with Eric Bieniemy:
Commanders QB Sam Howell was asked today about his relationship with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) November 15, 2023
How has the relationship grown?
How has it evolved?
Howell said, "we've grown to get more comfortable with each other."
Yep, that shows on the field as well. pic.twitter.com/vBhWj9aWGL
He is doing a good job, and he cares so much. I think he’s one of those coaches who puts so much into it, and he demands a lot from his players, and I think as players, that’s what we want from a coach. He’s put so much into this team, into our offense, and I think a lot of people in this building respect him. He’s done a great job. He’s calling games really well right now. We just got to try to keep this momentum going and keep trying to play better and better and keep trying to win football games.
Obviously it’s definitely grown as we’ve gone through each and every week and we’ve obviously learned more about each other as we’ve gone throughout this journey. I just think there’s nothing like going through games together and getting that experience, so our relationship’s definitely closer. I don’t think anything’s changed as far as what he feels like if he feels like he can talk to me a different way than he did when we first met, you know? It’s pretty much stayed the same. But I would just say we’ve just grown to know each other better. We’ve grown to get more comfortable with each other and I would say there is probably more dialogue as far as what I like, what I don’t like. But it definitely has grown.
Brian Robinson & Antonio Gibson:
Howell said BRob and Gibson are awesome players. Their abilities in the passing game makes them really valuable— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) November 15, 2023
I mean, those guys are awesome football players. Obviously, they can run the ball at a really high level, but what makes those guys really special is what they can do in the passing game as well. Especially, BRob is not a guy who’s known for catching the ball out of the backfield. He is a power runner and a guy who runs the ball downhill, but he does a really good job as far as check downs and scramble drill type stuff. He has a good feel for the game. He’s just a smart football player and he tells me all the time if something breaks down, come find me. That just makes me feel comfortable as a quarterback knowing that I always have someone I can dump the ball down to.
In the Seattle game, he probably told me five times before the game, if the play breaks down, come find me, I’ll always be open and it just so happened that it worked out that way. But those guys were awesome. AG came in there in the fourth quarter, ran an awesome route on a play we tried to get schemed up for him to have a favorable matchup and we got it, and he did a good job. So, everyone just kind of doing their part, we just got to try to continue to get better each and every week.
Getting more comfortable with drive progressions:
I think I’ve definitely grown in that area. I think it’s something that EB and Tavita have talked about a lot is just extending plays, keeping my eyes downfield and being able to sometimes stay in the pocket, getting to the backside of my progression or if I do have to get out of the pocket, keep my eyes downfield and try to make a play. I think our guys do a really good job on the scramble drill and those type of broken-down plays. The O-Line’s doing a really good job right now as well. It’s allowing me to get back to the fourth and fifth reads of my progression. So, I think I’ve definitely grown in that area and it’s just something that’s worked for us so we’re going to try to keep doing it.
Lessons from playing Philadelphia twice that can translate into playing New York for the second time this weekend:
Yeah, I mean, I kind of, like I said, when we played the Eagles the second time, I think every coordinator is different, every team kind of takes a different approach as far as if they’re going to try to play the same defense or if they’re going to try to give some different looks. I think the Giants played well on defense against us the last time, obviously. So, we got to prepare for what we didn’t do well and what they were doing well against us. You can kind of get into a guessing game as far as what you think they’re going to do differently. But at the end of the day, all you can do is prepare for what they’ve put on tape so far and that’s what we’re going to do.
Specific things that he’s done better to perform at the level he’s at right now:
It’s hard to say. I think every game is different. I think we’re doing some good things. I think we’re still leaving a lot of points out there. I don’t really try to compare week-to-week, game-to-game. It’s kind of hard to do that. Every team is different, every defense is different. We just got to try to take it one week at a time and you know, just because we’ve played, I think we’ve played alright the past few weeks, doesn’t mean we’re going to play alright this week, you know? So, we got to take it one week at a time, one day at a time, and make sure we approach it the right way to give ourselves a chance to try to play well on Sunday and give us a chance to win.