The Washington Commanders returned to practice today, and Sam Howell stepped up to the mic before he hit the field. He said he went back home to North Carolina over the bye week, but he also reviewed his earlier games to see how much progress he’s made since the beginning of the season. He also reviewed what he needs to improve on for the final four games of the season. Howell said he doesn’t worry about his future, he’s more focused on improving his game, and the relationships he has with players like Terry McLaurin.
Ron Rivera spoke to the media after practice, but the team didn’t provide video of presser. He provided some injury updates on players recently injured(Brian Robinson) and players that have been on IR for months(Armani Rogers). Rivera also talked about Sam Howell and the focus for the remaining games on the schedule.
LIVE: QB Sam Howell speaks to the media after practice https://t.co/EltzuqluKq— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) December 13, 2023
I went back home to North Carolina for a couple days and had some downtime and just tried to go back and watch most of our recent games. And then I circled back to some of the games in the beginning of the season, just to kind of reflect a little bit and then kind of look at some things that I can improve on to finish the year here.
Last four games:
Howell said no excuses with the late bye. Need to play better and feels the team will in these last four game— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) December 13, 2023
I want to make better decisions, take better care of the football. I just want to be really, really consistent. I think I’ve done some really good things this year. I just need to do it at a more consistent rate. I think that’s my goal to go into these last four games and be really consistent and make plays and just play winning football. We still have a lot to play for and still four games left.
We’re going to take it one game at a time and we really want to find out how good we can really be as a team because we feel like we still don’t know that yet. We still think we can be a good football team. We still think we have so much potential, but we really haven’t put it all together. That’s what we’re going to try to do here these last four games.
Things he does well that he wants to do consistently:
I just think when I was playing my best was when the ball was coming out fast. It kind of looked like I pretty much knew where the ball was going to go before the ball was even snapped. I just think my decision making was very good, very quick, and I was just playing decisive football. I think when I’m playing decisive and I’m delivering the football accurately, that’s when I’m at my best. So that’s what I’m going to do here these last four games.
North Carolina QB Drake Maye declaring for the NFL Draft and their relationship:
I talk to Drake pretty much every day. He’s one of my really good friends, just super excited for him. What a great career and it’s been so much fun to watch him and just knowing who he is, the type of person he is, and how hard he’s worked to get to where he is, it’s so much fun to watch. Obviously, super excited for him to be in the NFL and he definitely deserves it. He has a good head on his shoulders, and a lot of really good people around him that will help lead him in the right direction. I try to be there for him anytime he needs something. It’s getting ready to get busy for him with the training and everything, so I’m excited for him. He’ll handle it well and he’ll come to the NFL and light it up, for sure.
Howell said he has talked to Carson Wentz, will try and see him in LA— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) December 13, 2023
I haven’t talked to him in a few weeks. He texted me a few weeks ago. He was watching our Seattle game because they were about to play the Seahawks, but I’ll probably talk to him if not today, probably tomorrow or something. We’re going out there a day early, so maybe I’ll try to see him. Excited to see him. Carson’s a good friend of mine. I have a good relationship with him and he’s someone that helped me out so much last year, and he was always so good to me. So yeah, I definitely, definitely want to chop it up with him for sure.
What stands out about Aaron Donald:
He does everything so well. Just how fast he’s able to get off the ball, how strong he is getting off the football, and you got to have a plan for him. You got to know where he is every single snap. He’s one of the very, very special players in the league. Obviously a future Hall of Famer, so it’ll be fun. It’s a fun challenge for us and it’s a good opportunity for us on Sunday.
If he worries about his future:
I don’t worry about it. I think for me, I try to control what I can control, and I try to take it one day at a time and I try to put my best foot forward and truly give this job, give this team, this organization every single thing that I got every single day. That’s what I’ll continue to do. Whatever happens, happens, but I try to control what I can control and try to play my best and try to make those decisions easier. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. I just got to try to keep doing what I can, keep trying to lead this football team and keep trying to get some wins.
Difficulties of having a bye week later in the season and being so far out of playoff contention:
It’s only my second year in the league and last year we had a late bye as well, so it’s kind of hard to compare. Obviously, I think you’d like to have it right there in the middle of your season, but it is what it is. There’s still no excuse for how the season has been. We got to do a better job. We got to win more football games and obviously it was good to get away for a little bit and guys kind of reset coming back here with a good mindset and the right mindset of we got four games left and we’re going to try to win each and every one of those football games. And we truly believe that we can do that. So, I think the team is in a good mindset and we feel good about our chances of moving forward.
What he’s learned from Terry McLaurin on battling through a tough season:
Terry’s obviously a great player, great person, great leader, great teammate. He’s definitely a role model for not only me, but so many people in that locker room. Obviously, we haven’t been able to get him the football as much as we’d like to. I got to do a better job of it, we all got to do a better job of it. But I think the way he’s handled it, the way he’s been just so professional ever since I’ve been here about everything, just the way he goes about his life and just how he handles things on the field, off the field, it’s exactly what you want.
He’s a special person, special player. So it’s so much fun to play with guys like that. And obviously, I’m sure he is frustrated, he has a right to be frustrated. You want people to be frustrated when they’re not getting the ball as much as they should be getting the ball. That’s what you want from those good players, those good receivers. They should want the ball. You want those guys to want the ball on every single play. We got to do a better job to help them out for sure.
Building trust and relationships with the wide receivers:
I feel good. I think we have a good chemistry, good relationship. I don’t think that’s the issue of us not being on the same page or anything like that. I think we can still grow and get better with each other and the more football we play with each other, the better we’ll get with one another. But I feel like we’re in a good place and I don’t think that’s the reason for any miscues or anything like that.
How long it takes to build that relationship to reach the point it needs to be at to be successful:
I think it’s where it needs to be. I just think we got to go out there and put it on the field. We got to do a better job in games of executing. I think we practice well, we practice hard, we take practice very seriously, take every single rep that we get very seriously. We probably run more full speed reps than any other team in the league. And we don’t take that for granted. So, I feel good about my relationship with those guys and our chemistry. We just got to do a better job of executing on the field.
What he would like to see from CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr. in the final four games:
Well, just continue to work through development and growth as far as he’s concerned. Young guy that really just needs to continue to get reps and play.
Improving his technique:
That’s basically it. I mean, we want to see him use the techniques that he’s being coached to use, work on those little things, work on the details of his job.
Brian Robinson playing on Sunday?:
We’ll see how it is tomorrow. I mean, how he reacts to the work that he did today is always important.
What he says to DT Jonathan Allen and WR Terry McLaurin after they’ve expressed frustration this season:
Well, just the biggest thing is that guys do look to them and again, they just continue to lead and just understand this is something that you’ll go through and that at some point, it gets better. You just got to continue to work and work and work.
Fans who want to tank for better draft position:
Well, I just struggle with that just because we’re professionals. We play to do our best, put it all out there and that’s what we intend to do, is just put it all out there.
Developing players from Day 3 of the NFL Draft:
Well, I think again, it is hit or miss because if they’re playing that well then maybe they should have been taken sooner. I mean, Hall of Famers get taken all over the place and people are going to miss and that’s just the way it is. I mean, it’s not an exact science. I think again, sometimes it’s just the fortunate part of it is, or the unfortunate part of it, just where guys get taken.
Competing against Rams DT Aaron Donald:
Well, you most certainly got to be aware of where he is first and foremost. Hopefully, with things that we would like to do, our intent to do, we can get those things accomplished.
Saahdiq Charles’ first practice back from injury:
It was good to see him out there. He’s moving pretty well already. He’s an explosive, dynamic, big guy. Again, he’s got to work his technique and show us that he’s ready to be on the field, that’s for sure.
Offensive line changes when Charles is activated:
We’ll kind of keep it the way it is. Again, as I said, we’ll see how he’s coming along and how he’s working before we make any decisions on any of that stuff.
Darrick Forrest’s injury:
He’s still just going through it. He is going through the rehab and again, that’ll be when he has his next checkup and we’ll see what the doctors say.
Measuring QB Sam Howell’s growth the last four weeks:
Well, I think the biggest thing in talking with EB about it is really his decision making. I mean, that’s one of the things that is really always important with the quarterback, is he making the right decisions and then getting to him and asking why were these decisions made.
Howell’s growth thus far:
I think he’s learning. I really do. It’s tough just because of our situation, being down early in games changes a lot of things that you want to do. Early on when as long as these games stay close, you can really see just how much he’s gotten better.
Focus for the rest of the season:
As a team, first of all, consistency and then where we are in terms of the development of different positions. Obviously looking at some of the young offensive linemen, look at some of the tight ends and the backs for that matter. And then defensively, seeing some improvement with what we’re doing in the secondary.
New message for the team these last four games?:
I don’t think it’s any different than when we left. It’s really about being the professionals that we are and going out and doing your best, giving it your best. I mean, stranger things have happened, were still in it, obviously numerically, but we’ll see how it goes. At the end of the day, you got to take care of your business first and foremost.
Reviewing Howell’s sacks during the bye week:
I think the biggest thing we talked about was getting the ball of his hands quicker. Whether that’s his decision making or it’s play calling, it’s just one of those things that he has to understand. Take what’s there and sometimes discretion is a better part of valor, throw it away.
Injury update for TE Armani Rogers:
Armani’s been doing a good job. He has. He’s been in and he’s been working with our staff. It’s unfortunate he got hurt at the beginning of OTAs, but it is good to see him around. He’s a heck of a young man.
LB Jabril Cox getting more reps:
I think there’ll be some opportunities. He’s done a nice job and you’re starting to see his growth in what we’re doing. He’s got a better handle and a better feel for that so that’s always a good thing. That way if he gets the opportunity, he’ll be ready.
Saahdiq Charles back on the practice field pic.twitter.com/vAfZYb85Wy— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) December 13, 2023
Emmanuel Forbes is at practice with his helmet on and wearing a brace on his left arm— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) December 13, 2023