You have to go way back in Sam Howell’s playing career to find a time when he wasn't the starting quarterback. It was seventh grade during an all-star game; the coach's son played quarterback, and Howell played defensive end.
Howell won't be on the Washington Commanders' defensive line anytime soon, but he is in a similar situation. A fifth-round pick in April, Howell is the third quarterback in a room that features veterans Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke.
The Commanders are high on Howell's potential, but his goal for now is to learn and grow. And as he prepares to help the team at some point in his career, that's exactly what he's been trying to do this offseason.
"It's been a lot of fun just trying to come out here and get better each day," Howell told reporters. "I'm in a great room with some great guys and a great coaching staff here."
Washington was one of Howell's preferred destinations during the draft process. He was a fan of the offense and the weapons he would be playing with, and he was excited to learn from Wentz.
Moving from college to the pros has naturally come with some hurdles, most notably the playbook and style required to direct the offense. Howell operated primarily out of the shotgun in an air raid system at North Carolina. With Washington, he's lining up under center and running more play-action.
"I feel like I'm making some good progress, though," Howell said. "I'm taking all the coaching well. They're doing a really good job. I'm getting a lot of advice from Carson and Taylor as well."
We don't need to take Howell's word for it. While he's made some mistakes, he's also shown flashes in OTAs and minicamp. He had a solid two-minute drill during Wednesday's practice, fitting passes into tight windows.
When it comes to the playbook. Heinicke has called the system "wordy," and Howell backed that up. The only thing that can help him get more comfortable is time.
"I kind of have my own process of how I learn things, and I do that same process that I've had for a long time," Howell said. "I feel like I'm in a pretty good place. It is wordy, but it's really good as well."
Howell is still a long way from contributing in a major way. He still needs to get acclimated to the speed of being on the professional level. Still, Howell is taking steps to make sure that he is ready whenever that time comes.
Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Thursday, June 16, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Football Team.
The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.
- The Washington Post's Sam Fortier provides an update on Terry McLaurin.
- The Washington Time's Matthew Paras writes about what Ron Rivera said on Terry McLaurin.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about Taylor Heinicke's approach to his preparations.
- The Washington Post's Sam Fortier writes about Antonio Gibson's efforts to lost weight.
- USA Today's Bryan Manning writes about the Commanders signing two players.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about Carson Wentz developing a strong bond with Jahan Dotson.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about the absence of Curtis Samuel and Antonio Gibson during Wednesday's OTA.
- NBC Sports Washington's Bijan Todd writes about Brian Robinson valuing veteran leadership from former Alabama teammates.
- Sports Illustrated's David Harrison opens his notebook from the Commanders' OTAs.
- NFL.com's Adam Rank writes that 2022 is a pivotal season for Ron Rivera.
- NBC Sports Washington's Bijan Todd writes about Benjamin St-Juste impressing Shawn Springs during OTAs.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about Ryan Fitzpatrick's retirement.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about the Commanders announcing their fight song will debut on Aug. 13.
- Sports Illustrated's Ethan Hurwitz writes about Percy Butler's progress during OTAs.
- Sports Illustrated's David Harrison looks at where Carson Wentz ranks among the NFL's deep passers.
- USA Today's Ivan Lambert reports on the Commanders announcing their home themes for the 2022 season.
- CBS Sports Shanna McCarriston writes about Ron Rivera comparing Carson Wentz to Philip Rivers.
- The Washington Time's Matthew Paras writes about the Commanders' secondary banking on continuity for success in 2022.
Check Out What's On Commanders.com:
- Minicamp notebook | Depth players continue to shine, show improvement
- Buy or sell | Logan Paulsen, Santana Moss weigh in on Washington's 2022 season
- Antonio Gibson named Top 10 explosive runner by Next Gen Stats
- Media Roundup | Ron Rivera, Jacks Del Rio, Carson Wentz address the media
- Carson Wentz is focused on finding balance between aggressive and conservative
- Benjamin St-Juste is thriving in his new role
- Stars & sleepers from Commanders OTAs
- Why Montez Sweat's length, explosiveness gives offenses so many problems
- Trai Turner is fitting right in with Commanders' O-Line
- Jahan Dotson continues to stand out in OTAs
- Percy Butler is eager to learn, and it's leaving a good impression on his teammates
- Scott Turner | 'There's a lot of different things we we'll be able to do' with Jahan Dotson
- Ron Rivera | Montez Sweat 'becomes more and more dynamic'
- Washington Commanders announce 2022 preseason schedule
- Commanders' offense primed to be more explosive with Wentz at QB
- Logan Paulsen, Santana Moss break down injury updates on Chase Young, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas
- Chase Young remains confident in his recovery process
- Senior Pro Scout, former tight end Don Warren retires from NFL
- OTA Notebook | Jahan Dotson, offensive weapons continue to improve