Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell addressed the media before practice on Nov. 1. Here is a full transcript of his press conference.
On what make the Patriots difficult to play against:
"They do a lot of different things on defense, and you can tell they try to do things to mess with your eyes and they do a good job of it. They try to give you different looks pre-snap, and then get to some of the same coverages that everybody plays. You just get to them in some unconventional ways, but they do a good job. Obviously, there's a reason they've had so much success up there on the defensive side of the ball. It'll definitely be a challenge for us."
On what areas he improved in against Philadelphia:
"I thought I did a good job getting the ball out. Obviously, I go into every game trying to get the ball out as quick as possible. As soon as the defense tells me where I can get the ball out for a completion, I take it. [I] thought I did a good job of that for the most part on Sunday and did a good job trying to avoid sacks. Obviously, it's credit to the O-line. They did a good job, but I just thought as a whole offensively we were very efficient and did a good job in first and second down, which made the third downs more manageable. That's probably our best game on third down so far this year. We did some good things. We just got to find a way to finish and find a way to win."
On his reaction to trading DE's Montez Sweat and Chase Young:
"It's always tough. Two great teammates, two great players. Obviously, I didn't have anything to do as far as the decision making of the trades, but they did what whatever they felt was best for the team and as far as the future goes. I hate to lose those two guys. Obviously, tremendous, tremendous players, but they're just great guys, great guys in the locker room. They're fun to be around and they work really hard. I wish those guys well and I want nothing for [but] the best of them."
On if the players view the trades as a rebuild:
"Honestly, the players aren't really involved in many of those conversations. For us we just try to control what we can control and try to do the best we can on a daily basis to help this team win football games. I think obviously you lose two players like that, it gives an opportunity for some other guys to get in there and improve what they can do. We still have a lot of football left this year and we're not just fully set on rebuilding. We're trying to win right now, and we feel like we have the players to do that. We're going to do everything it takes to try to win each and every game that we play."
On what allowed them to have success again offensively against Philadelphia:
"I think it's different every single week, as far as why it doesn't go well or why it does go well. I think we were efficient, and we avoided the negative plays. We avoided the sacks and we were able to get the ball out pretty quick. I think we just did a good job on first and second down. I think when you can do a good job on first and second down, it's easier to sustain drives. I thought Sunday was one of those times where I thought we really had an identity on offense of what we were trying to do. We're just going to try to continue to build on that and continue to try to put that performance out there every single week."
On what allowed for the improvement on avoiding sacks:
"Obviously, I think it starts with those guys up front and I thought all five of those guys did a really good job for most of the game. It made my job easier and then if something wasn't there downfield, I was just trying to check it down as quickly as possible and just trying to get the ball out of my hands, whether it was an incompletion or a short completion. I thought I did a good job kind of managing the game and I thought just as an offense as a whole, we were pretty efficient. We just got to try to continue to build on that."
On how much it helps the offense when WR's Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are involved early:
"That's really important for us and I think we're starting to realize, obviously, we know the type of players they can be, but I think when we get everybody involved like that pretty early, I think it just makes it so much harder to stop. I think when we do a better job on first and second down and we're able to sustain drives, that it creates more opportunities for them to get them involved. Because some games, everyone might think, oh, we didn't get so-and-so involved, but going into the game we plan on getting them involved. It's just kind of how the game goes. When you have a lot of three-and-outs, it's hard to do that. When we can sustain drives like we did on Sunday, it just creates more opportunities for those guys to get involved."
On what QB Jacoby Brissett brings to the quarterback room:
"Obviously, he's very important to me and he's helped me a lot since he's been here. I'm just super fortunate to have a guy like that in the quarterback room who's so willing to help me and he's been a great mentor, great friend. So yeah, I mean, obviously, there was a lot of talk about him going somewhere else and obviously I wasn't involved in any of those decisions or anything like that, but I'm happy he's here. I'm happy that we kind of get to finish this year together because I feel like I've learned a lot from him and I go into the game more confident knowing I have him to help me. It's been awesome to have him here."
On team goals for the rest of the season:
"Yeah, we're going to take it one week at a time and that's our mindset. We're going to try to go 1-0 every single week. I think if we do the right things throughout the week and we approach it the right way, I think we have a good chance of winning a lot of football games. I think, obviously, the first half of the season, like you said, didn't go the way we wanted it to. There's a lot of games and a lot of plays that we feel like we want back, but the reality of it is, we don't get them back. So, all we can control is how we move forward as a team and what our mindset is each and every day when we come into this building. We're still confident, we still know what we're capable of as a team and I think we've shown that at times throughout the season. But, it's time to put it together and try to go stack some wins."
On if he feels vindicated by his draft experience based on the way he is playing this season:
"Yeah, I don't know. I don't really get too caught up in that. I'm just trying to focus on each and every game that we play and every single time I go out there, no matter what the circumstances is, I try to go out there and give it my all and try to do everything I can to help this team win games. Obviously, I think I definitely could have played better so far this season, and it could have contributed to some more wins. That's just kind of the way I look at it. But, you know, the reality of it is, is we still have nine opportunities and that's an opportunity for us to turn this thing around. I'm going to try to do everything I can to make that happen."
On Head Coach Ron Rivera's message to the team after the trade deadline:
"Yeah, I mean, obviously, two popular players leaving, like you said, but he was positive this morning. When you trade two good players away, it can hurt a locker room. But, at the same time, it creates opportunity for some other guys. I think there's been a lot of guys on that defense that have proven they can contribute. Obviously [DE] Casey's [Toohill] done a good job, [DE] James Smith Williams done a good job, and so we got guys that can come in and contribute and we feel like they can come in and play well. So, we feel like we have a good chance, we feel like we have a good football team and we know inside of this building what we're capable of. It's just a matter of going out there and putting out consistent behavior every single week."
On how NFL teams adjust to facing quarterbacks twice in one season:
"I think it's one of those things where every team is kind of different and every team kind of approaches it differently. I thought the first time we played Philly, I thought we had a pretty good game, offensively moved the ball pretty well. So, you always think, what changes will they make, what will they try to do differently to try to stop us? But some coaches like to do what they do, you know? So, it's kind of every coordinator is different, and so it's kind of hard to guess what they're going to try to do differently the next time. But all you can do is try to prepare for what they've put on film. Then you kind of go back and watch, where like previous seasons, like how they played a team the first time, then you go watch their second game against the division opponent and see if they did anything differently. Just to try to see if it's in their DNA. But yeah, I mean it's kind of different every single week and it's different with every coordinator as far as how they want to approach it."
On playing against Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick:
"I mean, it's a fun opportunity, and it's a cool opportunity for us and our offense to go against a good defense, obviously coached by Coach Belichick, and he's done a really good job throughout his career and there's a reason he's talked about the way he's talked about. So, it's definitely a fun challenge for us and they do a good job on defense and do a lot of different things and try to do a lot of different confusing looks. So, it's definitely a challenge and we've been excited to prepare. It's been a fun challenge so far and we're excited to keep preparing and go out there on Sunday."