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Sam Howell | 'I just think I gotta do a better job overall, just getting the ball out'

Screenshot 2023-09-27 at 12.24.53 PM

Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell addressed the media before practice on Sept. 27. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On what he learned from the game against the Bills and on how he plans to bounce back from it:
"Yeah, I mean I just think I gotta do a better job overall just getting the ball out. And the offensive line, they're doing a good job and it's not gonna be perfect every single time and it's my job to get the ball out before I get hit. Just knowing that I'm not gonna have perfect protection every single time I snap the ball and for the most part, those guys are doing a good job and I just gotta do a better job. I think it's not on one person or one group. I think collectively we can all just do a better job."

On if he has any input on the protections at the line of scrimmage:
"I mean I have a lot of input at the line of scrimmage as far as protection and in certain protections I make the MIKE point and certain protections, the center makes the MIKE point, and then I can change it. But we're all on the same page and we haven't really seen anything that was specifically new in the game. It was kind of all stuff we've talked about. It's just a matter of going out there and executing. It's not like we're having free runners all the time, you know what I'm saying? So, I think from a schematic standpoint, we've been fine as far as picking up the blitzes. We just gotta do a better job executing and I've gotta do a better job getting the ball out."

On if he notices some things that defenses are doing this year with WR Terry McLaurin and WR Jahan Dotson in terms of taking things away that were available last year:
"Yeah, I wouldn't say so. I mean, I think we're probably seeing a little more shell coverage this year, a little more two-high than what we saw last year. That's just kind of based on the offense we're running and the track record that [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy] EB has with the Chiefs. They see a lot more two-high shell coverage, so I would probably say that that might be a little bit of it, but I think I just gotta do a better job. We gotta do a better job of getting those guys more involved."

On the fine line of giving a receiver a lot of targets but not overdoing it:
"Yeah, I mean I think, you know, I think for me, my thought process is we have so many good receivers and playmakers and I want to get all them the ball. But I just kind of go through my progressions the way I'm supposed to go through it. Sometimes I focus on who is where and what position but for the most part I'm going through my progressions how I'm taught to go through them and whoever's in that spot at that time is, and if they're open, they're gonna get the ball. But there are some things in the offense where it's kind of pick a side or pick a guy. And obviously I know who I like in certain situations. But yeah, I mean I just think overall I gotta do a better job of getting those guys the ball because they're special players and we gotta just continue to spread the ball around."

On the process of learning a gameplan preparing for a short week next week:
"Yeah, I mean, obviously the game was on Sunday and Monday we come in and watch the game and talk about it and Tuesday we do that as well. I think you try to learn from the mistakes as quickly as possible but at the same time, you don't wanna overreact just because you have another game coming up that Sunday, like you said. So, there's always some key points that you wanna focus on coming out of certain games but then after you kind of get past that, you start working towards the next opponent. I think we've done a good job of that this week and the Buffalo game is behind us and we're excited about this opportunity on Sunday."

On if he falls back on the principles of the offense as the season goes on:
"Yeah, for sure. Just the base foundation that they have set in not only me, but for our whole offense. We always kind of rely on that and we'll continue to be who we are. All the stuff that we've been doing we'll continue to do but yeah, I would say to answer that question, yes."

On if he finds solace in the fact that he's a young quarterback and that game was only his fourth start:
"Honestly, no. I don't make any excuses for myself. I expect to play much better than I played on Sunday and my teammates, and this organization deserves for me to play better than I played on Sunday, and I just got to do a better job. I can't go out there and make the excuse that I'm young because the teams we're playing, they don't care. The scoreboard doesn't care. So, I got to do my job at a higher level in order for this team to go where we want to go. I'm excited to get back out there on Sunday."

On the atmosphere postgame after beating the Eagles last year in Philadelphia:
"It was a great game. Great win for us last year and such a cool thing to be a part of. I just remember the locker room was probably the most excited I saw our locker room was after that game last year. And obviously a good Philly team and so talented, they had one of the better rosters in the NFL, so it was a great challenge. But yeah, we're excited to go back to Philly. Obviously last year's game isn't going to do anything for us this year. It's a new team, we have a new team and we got to go in there and play at a high level in order to have a chance to win the game. We got to have a really good week of practice and we'll have a good plan and it's just a matter of going in there and executing."

On if he watched the Monday night game:
"Yeah, I watched a little bit of it."

On if he took anything away from the Philadelphia Eagles playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
"We watch every game that they've played. I didn't really watch a whole lot on TV while the game was on, but I watched it on Tuesday. But yeah, we look at every game and always look at what teams are having success on and what's not working. And obviously when you look at the tape, their front jumps out. Obviously, I think that's where it starts with their defense and you know, in the back end they have some really good players as well. So, it's a very talented defense and they're doing a really good job, so we definitely got to be ready to go."

On if there is a difference between starting in the NFL compared to starting in college:
"I don't know. I take the same approach. I wouldn't say there's much of a difference. I would say it's much harder. It's hard to play in the NFL and it's easier in college, I would say, for sure. Obviously the players are much better, but from an approach standpoint and a mindset standpoint, there's not much of a difference."

On his approach to bouncing back:

"Honestly, I just kind of put the game behind me and worry about the next game. I think the player I was on Sunday is not who I truly am as a player. I just kind of go back to my process and doing what's always worked for me in the past and preparing the same way and just never losing that confidence. I think especially in this league, you have to stay confident and no matter how bad I played on Sunday, I have another opportunity this Sunday to play against a really good Philadelphia team and I got to do whatever it takes throughout the week to prepare myself. I'm excited to get back out there. Ever since the game ended on Sunday, I was excited for the next game just because I'm ready for another opportunity, I'm ready to go out there and play like myself again."

On if he spoke with his dad, former coaches or quarterback coach following the loss:

"Yeah, I talk to all those people. My dad, my high school coach, my trainer back home, everyone. Honestly, I get more texts after a bad game like that than I do after a good game. Just people checking on me and checking on my mindset, making sure I'm all right. The main thing is a lot of people have had my back and not only back home, but in this building as well. It's been good to feel that, but I'm excited to go back out there."

On if his approach to taking sacks has changed:
"I just think it's been a point of emphasis for us. I got to do a better job getting the ball out of my hands, knowing the right time to try to extend the play and get outside of the pocket and knowing the time to just take an incompletion. I think that's one thing that's hurt our offense so far is the negative plays and getting behind the chains, just because if you get behind the chains in this league, it's hard to put drives together. So, it's something I'm definitely always working on and obviously always cautious of. Yeah, I feel like it's something that I'll only get better [at] over time."

On the Eagles defensive line being a point of emphasis this week:
"You always look at the guys they have and obviously they're really good up front, so we got to do our job in protection, I got to do my job in protection as well in making sure we're neutralizing the front. They're just so talented and they have so much depth as well. You know, the guys that are coming in backing those guys up are really good players, like the [Philadelphia Eagles DT] Jalen Carter kid doesn't even start the game, but he's one of the better players we'll play all year. They have really good players on their front, and we got to be ready for it."

On how he goes about recovery after taking a lot of hits in a game:
"It just depends on kind of what's more sore. I have kind of have a process of things I like to do. I think the main thing is you got to workout. I come in on Monday and get a good workout in and workout on Tuesday. After those two workouts, I usually start feeling pretty good, once I start moving around again and obviously in the training room, getting treatment and stuff like that. I kind of have a process of how I go about that, but I feel like my body is in a pretty good place right now."

On if TE Logan Thomas' absence affected the offense:
"Yeah, I mean obviously we love to have Logan out there and he's a tremendous player for us. But at the same time, we love all our tight ends. I think [TE] Cole [Turner] has done a good job of kind of stepping in and filling that void of being a good pass catcher. When [TE John] Bates has been thrown the ball, he's done a good job with it as well. Obviously, everyone knows what he's capable of doing in the running game and pass protection, but we love all our tight ends. But yeah, definitely missing Logan out there."

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