Sam Howell spoke to the media before the team started practicing for this week’s away game against the Seattle Seahawks. Ron Rivera gave the team an extra day off after Jonathan Allen “suggested” it in the locker room after Washington’s win over the Patriots. Howell talked about continuing to work on limiting the number of sacks he’s been taking, eliminating mistakes like his interception, working with Eric Bieniemy, and the offensive line gelling after recent lineup changes.
LIVE: QB Sam Howell speaks to the media before practice https://t.co/4ZhjgDxgVe— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) November 8, 2023
Evaluating his growth:
Yeah, I mean, the main thing is, did the ball go where it’s supposed to go? Did the ball get out on time? I think for the most part, I’m getting the ball out on time and I’m getting the ball out to the right guy. So, just got to try to continue to get better. There’s little things every week that I’m always trying to improve on and just trying to fix those things going into this week.
Becoming more in sync with Eric Bieniemy:
I think we’re getting better each and every week, not only just me and EB, but I think as an offense as a whole. I think we’re getting better each and every week and I think he’s calling some really good games and he’ll continue to do that. He prepares so hard and always has a good plan for us. For the most part we’ve been executing it, we just got to try to continue to finish drives and finish games in the fourth quarter.
Preparing for the second half against New England after throwing an endzone interception:
Honestly, you don’t really have a choice but to just get over it. Obviously, it was a devastating play at the time and like I said after the game, probably one of the worst plays in my career. But, at the end of the day, we’re still down at halftime, still have a football game to win. Everyone around me did a good job just trying to pick me back up. I just relied on my teammates and tried to go back out there in the second half and make up for it.
Sam Howell on why he’s even-keeled: pic.twitter.com/6A5LBR7qmu— John Keim (@john_keim) November 8, 2023
Yeah, I mean, for as long as I can remember this is kind of how I’ve always been. I guess you could say it’s kind of how my dad always coached me to be. But yeah, I mean, as far as I can remember, it’s kind of how I’ve always been. My dad would always tell me, it’s always about the next thing. It’s not about what just happened, it’s always about what you’re going to do after it. You’re never judged for the mistakes you make, you’re judged for how you respond to those mistakes.
What he has learned about Bieniemy:
I think I’ve just learned how much he cares and just how much he puts into this thing and just how hard he works. He truly, and everyone says they want to win, but he truly wants to win, and he’ll do whatever it takes to win football games. It’s been fun to learn from him, it’s been fun to go through this journey with him. I mean, he’s a tremendous leader and he works so hard and he puts everything he has into this.
Sam Howell says as an offense the whole unit is executing Eric Bieniemy’s game plan much better pic.twitter.com/RBx3hxS0Qx— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 8, 2023
Howell said the offensive is playing well and starting to gel together. They’re starting to build an identity, and that’s helping everyone— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) November 8, 2023
Howell repeatedly said he believes the offensive line "is starting to gel together" and that be's making a big point in getting the ball out faster.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 8, 2023
I think they’re doing a good job. I think that unit upfront is starting to gel together and they put together two really good games. I think we’re just coming together as a whole on offense and I think we’ve truly built an identity now on offense and I think that’s helping everybody out. We’re getting the ball out faster, I’m getting the ball out faster, we’re doing some things to get the ball out on the perimeter quick to try to keep those defensive linemen from rushing up-field every time. We’re trying to keep those guys off balance and I think just obviously those guys are playing well and I think EB’s doing a good job of calling the game to help everybody out. But I just think we’re starting to truly find our identity on offense, we just got to try to continue to grow and get better.
Jahan Dotson bouncing back from early struggles:
He works so hard. On the off days he’s in here on the jugs machine trying to get extra catches in. He’s got some of the best hands I’ve ever been around. He still works so hard and obviously, he’s dropped a couple balls that we’ve seen him catch, but he knows what he’s capable of. At the same time, he works so hard and does the right things throughout the week to go out there on Sunday and catch the ball. He’s doing a really good job and I know he’s a guy that I can always trust for sure.
Eric Bieniemy’s work ethic:
I think everyone sees how hard he works and everyone can tell just how much he puts into it, just by the time he spends in the building and just how detailed everything is. He just works super hard and obviously, in games, I think he’s in a good rhythm right now as far as play calling. He really knows what is working for us. He knows how to use our strengths. I think that’s shown the past few weeks and we just got to try to continue to get better and continue to finish. We’ve played good at times, but I think the last two games we could’ve played a lot better in the fourth quarter. We just got to try to continue to sustain those good games and finish the game.
Run game’s improvement:
I mean obviously a good run game helps the passing game. That obviously helps me, helps everybody get open. There’s more space on the field and I just think we’re doing a good job of being balanced and I think that’s what is helping our running game. Obviously, I think when teams look at us, they think we like to throw the ball a lot, obviously just from what our numbers say. But we can still run the ball. We got a good O-Line. They do a good job in the running game, good tight ends that can block and we got some running backs that know how to run the football. I think the more we can use those guys, the more we can be balanced, the better we’ll be. I think especially on Sunday, we did a good job of that, of being balanced and throwing some screens in there as well and just keeping the defense on their heels.
What changed to improve the number of sacks:
I think obviously it starts with those guys up front and they’re doing a lot better job and they’re, like I said earlier, they’re gelling as a unit and they’re doing a really good job as far as picking up blitzes and being on the same page and the backs are doing a good job as well. I think for me, I’ve tried to improve every single week as far as just getting the ball out of my hands and trying to get down to the check downs faster. I think I’ve shown improvement in that area every single week. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of that right now, and I think I’ve shown that the past two weeks. I just got to try to continue to find ways to improve in that area and make it easier on those guys up front.
Crowd noise in Seattle:
Sam Howell says the team is preparing for the crowd noise in Seattle, but so far loudest stadium has been Denver. He says Virginia Tech still loudest crowd he's ever heard in NFL/NCAA— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 8, 2023
I mean obviously road games are different from home games and especially when you go to Seattle, it’s going to be really loud and it’s an exciting environment that we’re excited to play in. We’ll be in our silent cadences, you won’t be able to use the cadence. I truly don’t know how loud it’s going to be, so I really don’t know how to prepare for it. I try to prepare for it, kind of how I did the other road games, but most of the other road games it’s really only loud on third down. I don’t know if Seattle’s the same way or not. I still got to ask some more questions and talk to some people. It can definitely be a problem as far as checking out the line of scrimmage, you got to have more signals than normal just because you can’t verbally communicate. We’ll be ready to go for whatever we need.
Facing a team ahead of Washington in the NFC playoff picture:
It’s a great opportunity to go play against a good football team. They’re doing a good job on both sides of the ball and they’ve won a good amount of games this year and we know it’s going to take our best to go up there and get a win. It’s an exciting opportunity. We don’t really look into who is ahead of us and who’s not. We just try to take it one game at a time and try to go 1-0 each and every week. Every single game that we play is the most important game of the year. We treat every single game as a must win.
Loudest stadium in the NFL he’s played in:
Probably Denver. Denver was probably the loudest in the NFL, but I think some stadiums I played in in college were louder.
Loudest stadium he’s ever played in:
Virginia Tech, for sure.