Though he was in a new environment stepping into his very first NFL action on Saturday, Sam Howell did not try to contort himself for the big moment. Rather, the quarterback relied on the skills that have helped him rise before.
"I thought Sam did a nice job. He played like he did in college," coach Ron Rivera said after the preseason loss. "This is a guy that is very smart, got a good arm, very athletic, runs well with the ball. He is a guy that has a bright future."
Tar Heel fans would have had a handful of déjà vu moments watching Howell in the third and fourth quarter. He found opportunities to slice through the Panthers defense much in the same way he did against ACC opponents in college. His 17-yard run in the final quarter was a perfect example. With the Commanders down by 14 deep in Carolina Panthers territory, Howell surveyed the coverage quickly and opted to improvise, finding a lane that cleared him for a 17-yard run into the end zone.
"I didn't really see anything open, but I saw a little hole, so I just tried to tuck it, run it, and make a play," Howell said of the moment. "I ran the ball a lot in college so it's something I'm kind of used to."
What Howell admitted that he wasn't used to the tempo of the game.
"The speed of the game," Howell answered when asked what surprised him most about his debut. "You can see it in practice, but you can't really see it until you get to the games."
Filing away both the wins and opportunities for growth that emerged from his Saturday performance, Howell is eager keep working to show this franchise and these fans what it means to him to the wear the burgundy and gold.
"Every opportunity I get I'm going to try to take advantage of it and do my best for this organization," Howell said. "That's what they drafted me here to do, and I'm going to try and continue to get better. I'm gonna give this organization all I got."
Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Monday, August 14, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.
The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.
- The Washington Post's Sam Fortier lists his takeaway from the preseason opener.
- NBC Sports Washington's writes about two standout rookie performances against Carolina.
- The Washington Times' Matthew Paras writes about Carson Wentz's Commanders' debut.
- The Athletic's Ben Standig writes gave his takeaways from Washington's first preseason game.
- The Washington Post's NIcki Jhabvala writes that Washington's wide receivers still have plenty to prove this season.
- NBC Sports Washington's Bijan Todd lists five Commanders whose snaps against the Panthers will mean more than most.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux gives five storylines to watch during Washington's preseason game against the Panthers.
- The Athletic's Ben Standig writes about what you should be looking for against the Panthers.
- ESPN's John Keim writes about Carson Wentz improving his chemistry with his pass-catchers.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about Kam Curl's versatility.
- NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey writes about Mike Adams, the man in charge of the Commanders' practice playlist.
- The Washington Times' Matthew Paras writes about how rookie Brian Robinson's fighter mentality has helped prepare him for the Commanders.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about the developing chemistry between Jahan Dotson and Carson Wentz.
- The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala writes about the Commanders' offensive line looking to pick up where they left off from last season.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux offers five things to know about the Commanders new DL coach Jeff Zgonina.
- The Athletic's Ben Standig writes about what William Jackson III has shared to help out Christian Holmes.
The Washington Commanders open the 2022 preseason with a home matchup against the Carolina Panthers at FedExField.
Check Out What's On Commanders.com:
- 5 takeaways from Washington's preseason opener against Carolina.
- Numbers to know from Washington's preseason opener
- Media Roundup | Brian Robinson said FedExField 'felt like home all over again'.
- Instant Analysis | Late Sam Howell surge not enough in 23-21 loss to Panthers
- Competition among Commanders' WRs intensifies ahead of preseason
- 3 keys to Washington's preseason opener against the Panthers
- 4 standouts from Week 3 of Commanders training camp
- Sophie Manning celebrates end of cancer treatment with training camp day full of fun
- Media roundup | Tress Way loves Percy Butler, looks forward to 'watching him hunt' on special team
- 'New best day ever': Cancer survivor Josiah Desper and family cherish a special night out at FedExField
- Training Camp Notebook | Rivera breaks down expectations for Commanders' preseason opener
- From the booth | Bram Weinstein gives his training camp takeaways
- Training Camp Notebook | McLaurin scores goal line TD as timing with Wentz improves
- Hail Mail | Assessing depth at DE and an update on the O-Line
- Commanders announce 2022 home jersey schedule
- Jeff Zgonina named Commanders' new defensive line coach
- McLaurin has confidence in his and Carson Wentz's budding chemistry
- Media roundup | Sam Cosmi's progress feels like 'night and day' from rookie season
- Training camp notebook | Commanders begin preparations for season opener