The Washington Commanders have wrapped up the preseason with a 17-15 defeat against the Baltimore Ravens, and head coach Ron Rivera, Sam Howell, Dax Milne, Reggie Bonnafon, Jamin Davis and Jaret Patterson all addressed the media. Here are some of the highlights from their press conferences.
On how QB Sam Howell played tonight
"I thought Sam [Howell] played well, I thought he did a nice job. It's good that he got this time to play just because of the mere fact that Taylor [Heinicke] is our number two. It's just one of those things where we want to get him as much exposure to get comfortable."
On who he was pleased with tonight
"I was very pleased with the game, very much so. I was happy with the guys that played, they did some great things. It was great to see Jamin [Davis] running around early on. He played with a lot of energy. I thought Dax [Milne] showed what he was capable of, not just as a punt returner, but also as a receiver for us. He did a couple of good things, very pleasing to see. A couple of the young offensive linemen really showed well, they're growing, they're developing, they're putting themselves in a position to be back."
On QB Sam Howell's two-minute drill
"It was very important for us to really get a chance to evaluate the young quarterback. He has a very bright future in this league. He has a lot of growing to do. I know Scott [Turner] and Ken [Zampese] will go through this with a fine-tooth comb and emphasize the things that he could have done better. He was exciting to watch, he made some really good decisions, and he made some decisions that could have been better. He did a nice job."
On how many roster spots are up for grabs
"I would probably say there is one per position, somewhere in the neighborhood of probably four to seven. We have guys that are really battling it out, whether it be the last or the second-to-last guy, they had some pretty good battles going on."
On what the coming days look like
"Basically we will get in tomorrow and review this tape. We will grade it, and then we will have a chance to talk it over. We will review the personnel as a staff, we will go through the personnel and numbers at each position. There will be a discussion between the personnel and the coaches, and then we will start making cuts."
On how it felt to play the whole game
"It felt great. [I'm] really appreciative of the coaches for having the confidence in me to go the whole way. Obviously, I still have a lot to work on, but it was great seeing the whole game through. I thought that that was a big advantage for me going into the regular season – getting to play the whole game here."
On getting the chance to play with his friend, WR Dyami Brown
"It was great. He's one of my best friends, and it was like old times back at UNC. I just wish I could have connected with him a couple of times."
On how he would rate his expectations versus how he played
"I thought I did OK in the game, but my expectations are always higher. There are of course some plays that I would like to have back, but there were also some plays I was able to make. Obviously, we'll take a look at the film and be more critical. But my expectations will always be high."
On his five-step drop and if the footwork is different at the NFL level
"Yes, it really is, and I'm getting more comfortable with it, but it is something that I need to work on. It really goes to hand-eye coordination, but also with the rest of your body, as well."
On if he is happy with his poise in the pocket
"I think I'm pretty poised in the pocket, but it is just going to come with more reps and more work. When things do start to break down, I tend to rely on my feet a little, but that's always served me well."
On how he works on his poise in the pocket
"Really, it's about simulating game situations and different types of rushes. It's more mental reps and then putting that to your body. And then, it's about just going through the process and getting more comfortable with the offense."
On how much pressure he felt coming into tonight's game
"I wouldn't say pressure. I just wanted the opportunity to show that I belong on this team. I've been playing football for a long time. I kind of thrive off that."
On if he feels that he proved he thrives under pressure
"Oh, yeah. I feel like I left it all on the field. This game comes down to inches. You know, plays, turnovers, penalties. And yeah, a lot of penalties. And you know, I could've done some things better. [I'm] just thinking about some plays I wish I had back. You can't really think much on it. You've got to improve and just keep moving in this league."
On what he would say to head coach Ron Rivera to stay on the team
"Just what Coach [Ron] Rivera's doing with the organization, the culture, what he's building ... That kind of aligns with myself. With [running backs coach Randy Jordan] Coach Jordan, he asked everybody our goals and I told him I want to be part of this organization, where it used to be the tradition and all that. I definitely want to be a part of this organization, because I feel like they're doing something special."
On if the six snaps he played tonight will help him in the regular season
"Of course. I mean, any opportunity you get to go out there and make plays and you make the most of it."
On if his tackle he made cutting across the field is an example of him being more confident
"That's me just trying to play fast and not do all the extra things. Just playing ball at the end of the day."
On if it was tough to play after being informed he wasn't going to play
"I mean, regardless what the situation was, you prepare like you're going to play at the end of the day. So, when they told me, 'You're going to go out there and play.' I said, 'Let's do it.'"
On how they feel as a linebackers unit going into this year
"Pretty comfortable. Just trying to go out there to play fast. Not even just the linebacker room; the whole defense as a whole. Getting off the field on third down, trying to get all of us to the ball. Just doing what we are doing. Playing to our standards at the end of the day."
On where he feels he took the biggest step this summer
"Just playing a lot faster. Honestly, that was the main focus for me. Just trying to eliminate the extra thinking."
The Washington Commanders take on the Baltimore Ravens to wrap up the 2022 preseason. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
On trying to make the team
"This is something the coaches continue to mention to us – not paying attention to what we're hearing, just putting our best out on the field at all times. It's what we put on our resume. Some guys don't handle it well, but others do. I think I'm handling it OK, and I'm putting enough out there."
On if he feels like he deserves a spot on the team
"I do. I do."
On describing his touchdown play
"It was a nice read from Sam [Howell], and he caught me in stride. I turned and headed downfield, and I thought I had the goal line and was surprised they called me out at the one [yard line]. But thank God for review, and they got the call right. It's exciting to score."
On his workload tonight
"[I'm] not surprised, and I always appreciate it. We knew going into the game that it would basically be me and Jaret [Patterson]. Now, we'll see where the chips fall. It's a weird time, because you've done all you can, and now it's just a waiting game."