Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell addressed the media on Nov. 29. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
On if recent coaching changes have impacted him:
"I mean it's definitely disappointing to see. I have a lot of respect for Coach Del Rio and [Brent Vieselmeyer] Vies. Thought they did a tremendous job. It's just kind of unfortunate how the season's gone. So, it's definitely disappointing to see them go and two people that I had a lot of respect for. But at the end of the day, there's still a lot of football left and we got games to win. Our focus is on Miami this week, whoever's out there playing, whoever's out there coaching, it doesn't change anything for us. We just try to go out there and give it our all every single day."
On how he has grown with Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy:
"I think he's doing a really good job. I think lately he's been calling games really, really well and I think he's starting to get a really good feel for how to be successful with the talent that we have here. I just think I've seen him get better and better each and every week. Obviously, us players got to do our job, we got to take better care of the football, we got to execute better in certain situations, but I think he's doing a really good job. He's grown as a leader, as an OC throughout the season as he's done probably his whole career. He's just gotten better every single week and he continues to work so hard, so it's fun to play for him."
On his communication with Bieniemy:
"I think it's something that's gotten better every single week. I think he learns more about me and I learn more about him every single week as we kind of go through this thing. Ever since the beginning of this thing, he's always asked for my feedback and input and he's always been very respectful. He's always respected my opinion as far as if it's something I do like, something I don't like, he has been very good about stuff like that. It's fun to play for a coach that values your opinion. But going into every game, we always talk about every single call that's on the call sheet, whether I like it, whether I don't like it, what situation I like it in and he respects my opinion. As a quarterback, that's all you can want."
On where he thinks his awareness is now compared to earlier this season:
"I would say I definitely feel more confident and I feel like I can see more things pre-snap. I really haven't gone back and kind of watched myself at the beginning of the season, but I definitely feel like I've gotten more comfortable and I'm able to see more things and have more of an understanding of what defenses are doing. Honestly, I haven't really reflected much on my growth throughout the season. I'm just trying to take it one week at a time and try to get better each and every week."
On if his relationship with Bieniemy will be closer now that Head Coach Ron Rivera is focusing on the defense:
"I wouldn't say that really has much of an impact. Yeah, I wouldn't say so."
On competing against Miami Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey:
"I always watch a lot of those corners and always try to see how they like to play. Ramsey's a good player, obviously, watching him a lot growing up and it'll be fun to play against a good player like that. But yeah, he's a great player and does a good job mixing up his looks and choosing when he wants to be aggressive and when he's not. So, we definitely have our hands full with him. The other corner's pretty good as well, Xavier Howard's a good player, so we definitely have our hands full out on the perimeter, but we got some good wideouts and I'm going to take our wideouts versus anybody every single week."
On how the Dolphins ability to restrict explosive plays changes his mentality going into Sunday's game:
"I think just kind of how they call the defense and how the system is ran, you got to be smart about when you take your shots and you got to try to do a good job of having positive plays, especially on first and second down and keeping yourself in manageable third downs. So, you got to be smart about when you want to take shots down the field just because they don't give you very many opportunities to. There still will be times and we'll just have to feel that kind of throughout the game. But yeah, I think versus some teams in the league, you got to do a good job of just sustaining drives and taking what they give you and this is definitely one of those weeks."
On what his mental approach is competing against a team known for putting up points:
"Honestly, I don't really think about it. I think as an offense we try to do everything we can do every single week and we try to control what we can control. At the end of the day, our job as an offense is to score more points than our opponent. We hold ourselves to a high standard and we feel like if we play to that standard, we have a chance to win every single game. We have a lot of confidence in our defense as well. We expect them to go out there and play well and we just want to go out there and play good complementary football, it gives ourselves a chance to win."
On the challenges the Dolphins defense presents pre-snap:
"I mean obviously they do a good job with disguises and there's a lot of really smart players on the defense and they definitely know what they're doing as far as trying to make certain things look like other things. So, it's a little bit of a challenge pre-snap at the end of the day you got to snap the ball and you have your post-snap indicators as far as what you're looking at and things that'll tell you where the ball should go. So, those things will definitely be very important this week."
On RB Brian Robinson Jr.'s performance this season:
"BRob, he's playing some really good ball and he's done a good job throughout the year. I just think he's gotten better every single week. I think our run game has gotten better throughout the year. Obviously, he's probably seeing it a little better, just as he's getting more comfortable with the O-Line and with the schemes. I think where I've seen him really grow is as a pass catcher out of the backfield. I think he's done a really good job in that area and that's something that coming into this year and coming out of college, that's not something he was really known for. So, just to see how much time and effort and commitment he put into that area of his game and see that payoff this year has been really cool."
On the improvements in the run game:
"I think right now I think EB's doing a really good job of mixing things up as far as pass game, run game, screen game. I think he's doing a good job from a play calling standpoint of keeping the defense off balance, that's allowing us to have some good runs. I think the O-Line's playing better and I think they're playing their best football right now and we got to try to continue to build on that. Me personally, I got to take care of the football and continue to build on the things that we're doing well offensively and giving our team a chance to win."
On what creates a good Hitch route:
"I think you got to be on time, you got to be on time with the receiver. If you're going to miss, you want to miss outside. You don't want to leave those inside. But I would say timing is everything."
On if the key to Hitch routes change with different receivers or coverage:
"I mean usually you're only throwing Hitch routes versus off coverage. Whether it's probably Cover 3 or Cover 4, so the coverage doesn't really change the route. You're probably not going to throw them very often against press coverage, so that doesn't really factor into the Hitch route. There are some versions, I don't know what your definition of a Hitch route is, but there are some versions of the same route, just a little deeper that you will throw versus press. But those are routes where it's all about timing and we work a lot on those in the offseason and training camp and throughout the week in practice. So, I feel really good with all those guys and for the most part they run them all the same. Maybe one guy comes out of it a little quicker than others, but I have a good feel for what they're doing."
On WR Curtis Samuel:
"Curtis, he is a great player and just the way he can get in and out of breaks makes him really effective. He's a guy that has a really good feel for zone coverage. And then, like I said, his ability to get in and out of breaks and create separation versus man-coverage is really effective. I think when you have a good feel for zone, you can beat man-coverage that makes you a really good receiver. He certainly has that. So, we just got to try to continue to get him more involved, get [WR] Terry [McLaurin] more involved, get [WR] Jahan [Dotson] more involved, just because they're all so good and obviously there's only one football. I just think when we can get everybody involved and keep the defense off balance, that's when we're at our best."
On if Samuel's ability to gain separation surprises him:
"I just think obviously he is a good player. He is a smart player and he knows how to use his body, knows how to get in and out on breaks and he does a good job of knowing what things can create separation versus the defenders. All of our guys are good versus man-coverage and Curtis just has a really good twitch and he can just get out of those brakes really fast. He's a great player, I have a lot of confidence in him."