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Sam Howell | 'I'm grateful for the opportunity that the coaches have given me'

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Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell addressed the media after practice on Aug. 18. Here is a full transcript of the press conference. 

On his thoughts about being named starting quarterback:

"I'm grateful for the opportunity that the coaches have given me. Shout out to [Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera for just believing in me and always trusting me really since I got here. I just shout out to him and all my coaches, [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator] [Eric Bieniemy] EB, [Quarterbacks Coach] Tavita [Pritchard], [Senior Offensive Advisor/Game Management] [Ken] Zampese, [Assistant Quarterbacks/Offensive Quality Control] Luke [Del Rio], all the guys, [QB] Jacob [Brissett]. There's been so many guys here that have helped me in my development and my career that have ultimately led to the position I'm in today. So just a shout out to all those guys."

On if there was a point where he felt like the starter:

"Yeah, I mean, obviously I'm always confident in my abilities just to come out here and perform and do well for this football team. I think just throughout camp every single day I've gotten better and more comfortable and I feel like I'm in a really good place right now with the offense. I feel really good going out there every single day and I feel good about my chances to go out there and execute."

On what Coach Rivera said to him and Jacoby this morning:

"He told both of us that he was going to announce it today. He just told me that he was excited for me and that he believes in me and that he trusts me. To hear those words come from him, it means a lot. He's a great guy, great coach. He's been around the game for a long time, so just to have his support and his confidence in me means a lot."

On where he has made the biggest strides:

"I just think I'm so much more comfortable than I was, especially last year. I have a year under my belt. I didn't play the whole year but just being here that year and learning so much, I feel like I've learned so much from a mental standpoint. I feel really comfortable going into this year."

On where he is most comfortable in the offense:

"I think it's just a confidence thing. When I step out on the field, I'm confident in my abilities. I'm confident in the offense, I'm confident in my teammates, and I'm confident in the system. When I'm confident in all those types of things, I can just go out there and just be myself and play free and play fast. I feel like that's what I've been doing the past few weeks. I feel really good about it."

On where he feels the quick game is at in the offense:

"The quick game is awesome. I love that part of the offense that we have. It makes my job easy, getting the ball out of my hands fast and we have some really good weapons on the outside. That's a way to get the ball in their hands really fast. That's one of my favorite parts of the offense."

On Coach Rivera saying it was his job to lose:

"Honestly, I didn't really think about it. I just tried to do everything I could to come out here each and every day and just try to be the best player I could be. I wasn't really worried about anyone else's expectations except for my own. I have very high standards for myself. I just came out here every single day trying to be the best that I could. If I make a mistake, just try to learn from it. From a mindset standpoint, coming into this, it really wasn't anything different than what I'm used to."

On progress of the offensive line:

"I was very pleased with their performance in Baltimore. I thought there was some things in the Cleveland game we could have done a better job of and I could have helped those guys. Like the one sack we had in Cleveland was my fault. I got to do a better job of helping those guys. I was very pleased with their performance in Baltimore. I thought they did a really good job, and they're starting to learn how to play together. Once they do that, they're going to be really good."

On what today means to him in his career:

"It means a lot. To have this opportunity in front of me means everything to me, but I think all of my work is ahead of me, and I know this is only the beginning. I know I have a lot of work in front of me, and that's what I'm focused on right now."

On last season preparing him for growth this season:
"Yeah, I mean, I think the main thing just going through last year was just trying to have a positive mindset. You know, it was really the first time in my life where I wasn't playing, and so just trying to attack every day still with the same mindset like I was playing so I could get that experience and have that experience under my belt going into this year. Really just credit to the coaches, you know, Coach Zampese did a really good job last year in helping me in my development, even though I wasn't playing, he still put so much time into me and he was committed to me and so I thank him so much for that. Then just going into this off season, just trying to take advantage of this opportunity that I have and just trying to sharp up every part of my game."

On Coach Rivera liking his mental approach:
"I mean, I would probably say that's kind of how I've always been. Ever since I was a kid and as far as I can remember playing sports, I've always kind of been that way and that's something that my dad kind of taught me when I was young, especially when you're playing this position, you know, things are going to go well, things are going to go bad, but at the end of the day, people are looking at you and so you got to just focus on what's next and focus on your teammates and trying to get everyone ready for what's next, whether it's something good or bad happened. It's always about what's next and that's kind of always been my mindset."

On his current and future leadership style being named the starter:
"I don't think it really changes anything, you know, obviously I try to do everything I can to make sure my group of guys is ready to go. I think the main thing with leadership is it starts with having relationships with your teammates and knowing everybody and knowing what gets everybody on your team motivated. So, I've learned kind of who my guys are on offense are this year, and I think by learning who they are, I can lead them how I need to lead them. I think I've done a good job of that, and I'll continue to do that."

On takeaways from QB Jacoby Brissett:
"Yeah, he's awesome. I definitely got really lucky to have a guy like that in my corner. Obviously, he came here to compete, and he's done a really good job but, you know, not only from him coming here competing, he's also here trying to help me. He's been an awesome guy to have. He's been an awesome friend of mine, we have a great relationship, so I'm just super thankful to have a guy like that in the locker room."

On if he has spoken with WR Dyami Brown about their University of North Carolina Chapel Hill connection:
"Nah, not yet. I'm definitely going to talk to him probably when we get close to the season. I'm just so proud of Dyami and what he's been through in his life and we both used to talk about things like this, talk about playing in the NFL together and now we're both kind of achieving our dreams. So, we're super excited just to be here together. A great guy, great friend of mine, so it's just a blessing that we're doing this together."

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