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Sam Howell | 'Curtis is a really good player and he has such a unique skillset'

Screenshot 2023-10-18 at 12.16.01 PM

Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell addressed the media before practice on Oct. 19. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On the offense doing a better job of getting yards after the catch:
"I think it's just one of those things where it's kind of a game-by-game thing. I feel like it's one of those things where it's only a matter of time and those guys are all really good after the catch. It's just a matter of them getting in them situations and me giving them good throws where they continue to run, but all our guys are really good after the catch. It's just kind of a matter of time thing."

On WR Jahan Dotson's one target against the Atlanta Falcons and on how aware he is of wide receiver targets in-game:

"Going into the game our plan is to always spread the ball around to all those guys. We want to utilize all the talent that we have, but at the same time you really never know how the flow of the game is going to go. Throughout the game obviously you know kind of who's been getting the ball, who hasn't. Especially after the game, like I don't think Jahan had a catch. Just going to him and just continue to tell him that I trust him and it's really not anything that he's doing. It's just kind of a flow of the game type thing. It wasn't that Jahan wasn't in the game plan, it's just more of the plays that were called at that certain time and kind of what looks they gave on certain plays kind of dictates where the ball goes. It's kind of just one of those unlucky things for Jahan. But we trust Jahan. He's a hell of a player. I'm going to continue to try to do everything I can to get him the ball just like all our guys. The good news is there's been no complaints from anybody. Obviously, I'm sure everybody wants the ball more, but at the end of the day they just want to win so that's the good thing."

On his success throwing the ball to WR Curtis Samuel:

"Curtis is a really good player and he has such a unique skillset. He's so fast and he can get in and out of breaks so easily. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense when he is running routes. I think he can do so many different things, whether it's stretch the field vertically or quick shake routes or quick option routes, stuff like that. He has such a unique skillset set that allows him to be put in certain situations and he's done a good job when the ball's come his way. He's someone that will continue to try to get more and more involved."

On what he has seen on tape that shows he has made improvements:

"I think I'm making better decisions more consistently I would say. I'm playing more efficient ball and I just got to continue to grow and get better and continue to try to limit the sacks and avoiding those negative plays. Because when you have a sack on a drive most of the time it'll kill the drive. I think we've done a decent job making up for it this year, but that's going to continue to be harder as we move forward. I'm always trying to clean up the sacks and do my job to limit that number. Obviously, it's gotten up there so far this year, but I just got to continue to get better and try to avoid those situations. There's definitely been a lot of good stuff as an offense that we put on tape that we can continue to build on."

On how comfortable he is with off-script plays:

"That's something that we put a lot of time into is the scramble drill and when I do get out of the pocket, keeping my eyes downfield. Last week that was a big emphasis for us was when the play does get extended, receivers continuing to work and get open and we kind of have a plan for where we want everyone to go when the play breaks down. It's not like backyard football as it might look like, we have a plan based on kind of what route they're supposed to be running. Then once I break the pocket they turn into a different route. We put a lot of time into it and in practice when our plays aren't there, I try to scramble and practice just to try to get those reps. Those receivers have done a great job just continuing to play and continuing to get open for me."

On how difficult it is to avoid taking a sack versus buying a few more seconds to find an open receiver:

"It's tough, but it's just something that I've got to continue to get better at. I think that's the next part of my game where I really need to show growth and development. I feel good about my ability to do that. It's just a matter of going out there in the games and doing it. I feel like the coaches have done a good job of trying to get me out of that mindset and that thought process. I feel like I've done a decent job with it now. I just got to go take it into the games and do a better job of it on game day."

On the fine line between taking a sack or throwing the ball away and turning it over:
"Yeah, I mean at the end of the day you just want to make good decisions. I think sacks are negative plays. Like I kind of said earlier, they really kill your drives. Especially when you're in field goal range, you can't take a sack in field goal range and just little things like that. I think you've got to have a good feel for the situation. Obviously, you want to get rid of the football, but you don't want to throw it into a crowd or throw it to someone that's covered. So, that's one thing I'm just trying to continue to get better at is if I do need to find an incompletion, just throw it at somebody's feet and just find an incompletion and just live to play another down. But yeah, it's just an area where I'm continuing to grow."

On having played four really closely contested games this season:
"Yeah, there's definitely a lot more [close games] than there was in college. Just because in college, I think it's just way easier to score in college and it's tough to score in the NFL. Everyone has really good players and from the good teams and the not as good teams, there's not as big as a gap as there is in college. So, it's one of those things where you really got to be on your ones and twos when you get to game day and you've really got to be prepared. You just got to play all four quarters because most of the time in the NFL it's going to come down to the end of the fourth quarter. That's why we put such an emphasis on our two-minute drill and our end of game situation type stuff because most games come down to situations like that. But you just got to stay the course for all four quarters, and it does kind of seem like in the NFL it always comes down to the end."

On if the close games have been an adjustment for him:
"I wouldn't say it's any adjustment. I've always felt like I've been pretty good at just continuing to play the game. But I think just mentally, it is definitely more like there's not as many easy wins as there is in college just because of how hard it is to score in the NFL. Obviously, everyone has good players and it's just so even, both teams are always so even, skill-wise in the NFL, but I wouldn't say there's much of an adjustment."

On C Nick Gates returning to MetLife Stadium to face his former team:
"We haven't really talked about it. The only thing we've kind of talked about is he knows a lot of those guys and he knows kind of how a lot of those guys like to play. But no, I mean, I'm sure he's excited to go back up there and play. I'm sure he'll do a good job of managing his emotions. But yeah, he is an emotional player, which is part of the reason why he's so good at what he does because he cares so much and he puts so much into it. But no, he won't have a problem handling his emotions."

On if he is having fun this season:
"Oh yeah. I'm always having fun. You would never really see it on my face, I really enjoy what I do and I'm living my dream. This is what I dreamed of doing from when I was a kid and every single day I come in here to work it's just so much fun. I'm just so blessed to be where I am in my life and it's so much fun to be a part of this team as well. There are so many cool guys in that locker room and a lot of guys that I call my friends. It's just so much fun to come to work here every day."

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