Sam Howell is not the type of person who throws around orders for his teammates to follow. Instead, he takes a quiet approach to his position, and the team respects him for it.
"I think Sam has a real quiet confidence about him," McLaurin said. "He's not gonna tell people what to do, but he knows what he's doing when he gets out on the field."
Howell said that leadership has always been a part of his skill set, but he hasn't had much of an opportunity to show it due to him being a backup much of his rookie year. Now that he's in a position where much of the attention is on him, he wants to show that he's someone his teammates can rely on.
"It's my job to get the guys going and take command of this team," Howell said. "So, it's something that I'm always trying to improve."
Howell's leadership showed itself the most in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. The offense is still learning Eric Bieniemy’s system, which means that players aren't always going to line up in the right spots. Not only is Howell able to reiterate the wordy, complex system in the huddle, but he's also quick to get his teammates in the right spots.
"If someone's not lined up he's taking control of that," said running back Antonio Gibson. "If we don't get out fast enough, he's bringing us back in the huddle, being a captain."
Howell has gotten his share of coaching in that regard as well. The Commanders mic'd up Howell and the rest of the quarterbacks this offseason to hear how they call plays and adapt to challenges at the line of scrimmage.
At first, Howell was "shocked" at the news since he had never heard of any other team using that method with their quarterbacks. Howell has enjoyed the process, though, since it gives him the chance to hear feedback on how he approached certain situations.
Many of the coaching staff's assessments have been positive.
"A couple things that really stood out to me was really his confident level in terms of calling the huddle, breaking the huddle, getting to the line of scrimmage, making his calls and then operating the offense," Ron Rivera said.
What impresses Rivera the most about Howell's is that he doesn't shy away from admitting his own faults.
"You see him taking responsibility for something that happens out there. So, if something goes awry, he steps up right away and tries to get it corrected and if it's his fault, he'll let everybody know. You see him go over and talk to guys, so there's a communication element that's important that they're all on the same page."
Howell also keeps his emotions in check, regardless of whether the play is positive or negative. His new coordinator loves that.
"He's a subtle but solid and confident kid," Bieniemy said of Howell. "He's not gonna really show you anything. He just remains calm. And that's what I love about him. Through the good and through the bad, he remains the same, and that's the sign of a confident player who understands what it takes."
The Washington Commanders were back on the field on Wednesday for the second day of mandatory minicamp. Check out the top photos from the afternoon. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)
When he does speak, though, his teammates listen.
"He's the one starting to break down the huddle as a team -- not just the offense," said tight end Cole Turner. "He's saying something after a bad play; he's not afraid to talk to someone. He's started to step up and be the man."
And it helps that Howell is able to back that up with consistent improvement as a player.
"He's making it happen, he's making throws a lot of people can't do," said wideout Jahan Dotson.
For some, leadership is an innate quality, and Rivera believes that Howell is one of those people. He's not going to be loud and boisterous like some quarterbacks, but he knows when to step up when the time comes.
It's one of the reasons why Howell will still be considered "QB1" when training camp starts in July.
"We know he is young," Rivera said. "He's a second-year player who got an opportunity to start last year. But there was a lot of room for growth, and we know that, but he's got a good skillset."