Skip to main content

Seahawks QB Sam Howell confident in ability to play consistent, smarter football if 'opportunity' arises

Sam Howell has joined Seattle as a backup, but he remains confident in his ability to fix what went wrong with Washington should the opportunity to take the field arise.

After starting all 17 games with a 4-13 record for the Commanders in 2023, the third-year pro found himself traded to the Seahawks, where he understands and accepts his upcoming role as QB2 behind Geno Smith despite thirsting to show improvement.

"Obviously Geno's still the guy and I'm gonna try to do everything I can to just come in and work and just try to get better," Howell said Wednesday on Brock and Salk, via Seattle Sports. "And it's got to be a good teammate and support Geno and do whatever I can to help the team win. But at the same time, always trying to compete and every single time I step out on the field, I'm always trying to show these guys what I can do and what I'm capable of."

Where the improvement needs to come is clear, and Howell's status as the full-season starter in Washington last year is somewhat misleading.

He was replaced and outplayed by Jacoby Brissett in back-to-back games in Week 15 and 16, then Brissett was actually named the team’s starting QB for Week 17 before suffering a hamstring injury in practice.

The issues for Howell arose from hero-ball tendencies, as the former fifth-round pick's 21 interceptions led the NFL by three. Rather than early on, while he was first adjusting to the speed of the game, the hiccups curiously took place largely down the stretch. After just one contest with multiple interceptions in his first 10 games of the season -- albeit the lone one was his biggest clunker overall, a four-INT embarrassment in Week 3 against the Bills -- Howell tossed an interception in each of his final seven games, four of which included two or more picks.

His falling off derailed what at one point was a promising, declarative campaign.

"The interceptions, I've just got to do a better job," Howell said. "There were some times where we were down in some games and I was just trying to be a little aggressive and at times maybe just tried to do a little too much, trying to give us a chance. But I've got to be smarter, got to play smarter football, got to play winning football. And at times I was doing it, so just doing it at a more consistent rate. And I feel confident about my ability to do that. It's just a matter of if I get an opportunity, I've got to go out there and show it."

Regardless of how the year transpired, Howell gets a fresh start on the opposite coast and shows an understanding of where he went wrong during his first foray as an NFL starter.

Still 23, there's ample room for development. The QB came just shy of the 4,000-yard mark, throwing for 3,946, and his penchant for gutsy runs led to 263 yards and five scores on the ground.

His pocket presence needs work on top of the ball security, but a number of his poorer throws can also be traced back to the Commanders offensive line allowing 65 sacks, tied for second most in the league and -- with all being taken by Howell -- the most for any individual QB.

The chance to grow from the sideline in Seattle can hopefully lessen some of Howell's faults. It's what the Seahawks are counting on after partaking in the quarterback carousel that saw other struggling former starters like Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder and Justin Fields find new homes, as well.

The plan is to ride with Smith for now. If at any point he misses time, both Seattle and Howell are banking on the young backup bouncing back.

Related Content