Commanders QB Sam Howell


NOVEMBER 5, 2023


Q: How did you feel about your play out there? And just I know we ask this every day, every week, but just your overall growth with each game.

SH: Yeah, you know, I thought it was all right. I thought I did some good things, made some good plays. I just got to find a way to play better at certain times, and obviously the interception was a big play for us, a chance for us to really get the momentum going into halftime. And that’s probably one of the worst plays I’ve ever made in my football career. So definitely just got to not do that in that situation. But, yeah, I thought I did some good plays. A lot of guys stepped up and made some big plays down the field. You know, the O-line did a good job all day long. We ran the ball well. We protected well. They brought some blitzes, some cover zeros. We got to some checks and managed that pretty well, so I thought as a whole we did a lot of really good things. We just got to find a way to finish better and when we have a chance in the fourth quarter to win the game, we’ve got to take advantage of that and not put our defense in so many opportunities. We gave the ball back to them probably three times, you know, and our defense came up with a stop every single time so just credit to them and it was a great team win.


Q: So for you, after a game like this, how much are you thinking about the really good throws you had versus that one interception?

SH: Yeah, I mean, obviously I hate that that play happened, but I’m not going to let that happen again and I think my teammates know that and I told them that, so I’m just going to try to continue to build on the good things that we did.


Q: Since Nicki kept bringing it up, what did happen on that interception?  

SH: Dang, John. (Laughter) I tried to talk about it early so y’all would just stop asking me about it. But, no, it was just obviously in a situation like that, you’ve got to try to throw the ball away, and obviously I was on the perimeter and it was a rollout pass and a guy kind of triggered and tried to come hit me late and so I was trying to find an incompletion and I just didn’t get the ball out-of-bounds.


Q: What about the touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson? Just walk us through that one and how that one came through?

SH: Yeah, it was – they were trying to bring cover zero and for most of the game, our cover zero stuff was getting to some quick screens and stuff like that, so I knew we’d have an opportunity versus cover zero to get into max protection and take a shot down the field, and Jahan did a good job beating his guy. We know it’s going to be one-on-one. In cover zero, there’s nobody behind him, so I just tried to throw it out there and let him go get it. He did.


Q: Over the last couple of games, how much do you feel like you’re getting in sync with the protection and how does that help you when you’re in the pocket and your game overall?

SH: Yeah, I think we’re doing a really good job and I think that o-line unit is really starting to come together. They put together two really good games and we’ve just got to continue to grow and they’re doing a good job. Tyler [Larsen] came in and is doing a really good job and he’s doing a good job with making the right calls and me and him being on the same page and those guys are fighting. That’s all we can ask from them, is continue to fight and as we continue to grow as an offense, their job will get easier. As we run the ball better, as we continue to get the ball out fast and stuff like that, as I continue to grow and develop, it will only help them, but, you know, we’re doing some good things and we just got to try to continue and build on it and let it translate to more points.


Q: Sam, being one of the young guys, how important is it to you that Emmanuel Forbes and Jartavius Martin and K.J. Henry and a lot of the young guys today made a lot of plays?

SH: Yeah, it’s awesome. Obviously, you know, we have a lot of young guys on this team and with Chase [Young] and Tez [Montez Sweat] gone, some young guys had to step up and make plays and they did that today. Obviously, I was very happy for Forbes. He’s been someone I’ve talked to a lot throughout this year just trying to help him continue to grow because he’s such a good player and we all know he is. He’s just been in some bad situations and it was cool to see him go out there and play well today. He had a really good game today, and KJ came up with the sack. I don’t know what you thought about the penalty or something like that, but, obviously, we thought it was – we didn’t think it was a great call, but it was a good moment for him and those guys had to step up and I think they kind of played with a chip on their shoulder, you know, because everyone assumes that Tez and Chase are gone and obviously, you know, Tez and Chase are great players and they’re going to have great careers, but we still have young guys that can play football and they’re here for a reason and they stepped up in a big way today.


Q: Last thing on the interception. Afterwards, Ron Rivera came up and put his arm around you. I don’t know, you had talks at halftime with Jacoby Brissett. In those situations, do you want to tell them, ‘Don’t talk – leave me alone. I know what I did.’

SH: Yeah, obviously they know there’s not really a whole lot you can say after a play like that. They just try to pick me up and I’m just so grateful to have so many good people around me here, whether it’s teammates, coaches and everyone’s just had my back throughout this whole entire journey. I feel like that’s one of the main reasons I’m continuing to grow, just the support I’ve had since I’ve been here. Players on both sides of the ball, coaches on both sides of the ball. You know, we were down at halftime, but we knew we were going to find a way to win the game. So just having that support from everybody in the building has been awesome.


Q: Sam, we talked all week about preparing for a Bill Belichick defense. Now that you’ve played against a Bill Belichick defense, what are your thoughts?

SH: Yeah, I mean, obviously, it’s always tough playing against a defense like that and they tried to do a lot of different looks and mix up different looks and try to disguise different things. They got us a couple of times but we got them a couple of times. That’s just part of it, and I thought we did a good job throughout the week. The coaches had a really good plan for the stuff they were going try to do and the looks they were going try to give us. We went out there, and for the most, part, we executed.


Q: And how do you feel the process of finding how your voice with Eric Bieniemy is going where you’re giving him as much feedback as he’s giving you?

SH: Yeah, I think that’s something that’s going to continue to grow as we continue to go through more games together. I think, you know, I’m starting to – obviously every single week I feel more confident about knowing what he’s going to call and being able to predict how he’s going to call the game. He just works so hard throughout the week, and we’re in constant communication as far as what we’re installing and why we’re installing it, what we’re looking for, how to progress through a certain pass play or stuff like that. He’s a great communicator, and he’s done a really good job as far as my development and he’s just given me so much knowledge and allows me to come out here to play fast.


Q: Sam, you seem to do a really good job of shutting out the outside world when it comes to you and your future and all that. Each week you got a game to play, but there is a lot of conversation about where this franchise can go if it finds a quarterback and each week you keep giving them reason to think maybe this is the guy. How do you not think about that? How do you kind of avoid, continue to avoid that when there’s so much attention on everything you kind of do around here?

SH: Yeah, obviously, you know, I want to be the quarterback here for a really long time. But at the end of the day, how I’m going to get to that point is taking it one day at a time and doing everything that I can on a day-to-day basis, and that’s kind of the way I look at it. I never worry about the future. I take it one day at a time, and I try to give every single day everything that I’ve got. I try to give my teammates, I give this organization every single thing that I have every single day. That’s what I’ll continue to try to do.



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