NFC Notes: Sam Howell, Darius Slay, Commanders, Cowboys, Eagles


Commanders OC Eric Bieniemy said he’s been preaching decisiveness with QB Sam Howell and wants him to make decisions quicker.

Well, first and foremost, and I’ll say this, it’s always better to be decisive than to be right because if you’re decisive with the football, guess what, your chances are that you’re probably right, that just means that you’re not second guessing yourself,” Bieniemy said, via Commanders Wire.

Bieniemy said that Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes also went through a phase where he second-guessed himself often and is trying to coach that out of Howell.

I remember this with Pat [Mahomes] at once upon a time, Pat at times, could see ghosts out there, and hey, it’s one thing, and he was thinking that, ‘Hey, you know what? Well, he could have jumped this,’” Bieniemy said. “Well, that wasn’t the case. So, I’m seeing that with Sam, and sometimes you can overthink something simple, and for whatever reason, I’ve never played the position; it happens. It’s unfortunate that it happens, but the thing that he needs to continue to do is continue working through it and continue trusting his gut and, his instinct, and all the fundamentals that he’s been taught.

Bieniemy said they will continue to study film with Howell in hopes that he can learn what the defense is throwing at him when he steps on the field.

We’re going to point it out to him on tape,” Bieniemy said. “But if you see it and the ball is designed to go in this particular area versus this particular coverage, hey, I got to come off the bound and make that throw. I got to come off the bound and make that play.

  • Bieniemy said they have not considered benching Howell for Week 16: “That’s not anything that crossed your mind…When that discussion comes up, it’s not even a second thought. He’s got to get back on that horse,” per JP Finlay
  • The Commanders ruled out C Tyler Larsen (knee), LT Charles Leno Jr. (calf), and RB Brian Robinson (hamstring) from Week 16, per John Keim. 


  • Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said they will observe S Malik Hooker (ankle) in Saturday’s practice to determine his availability for Week 16: “The plan is to see how much he does tomorrow and then make a decision… He’s definitely doing much better,” via Todd Archer. 
  • McCarthy said G Zack Martin (quad) participated in Friday’s walkthrough and they will also take a look at him on Saturday: “[Saturday] will give us the answer we’re looking for.” (Archer
  • Martin mentioned that “things look good” for him to play in Sunday’s game. 
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he wants Micah Parsons to continue as an edge rusher when asked about him potentially getting more playing time at linebacker: “His greatest attribute to our team is as a pressure player,” via Jon Machota


Eagles defensive assistant Matt Patricia praised CB Darius Slay for helping him out and discussed the ways that he’s leaned on him from technique to mastering the defensive system.

It’s been awesome for me to be back around Slay and really have an unbelievable relationship,” Patricia said, via PFT. “He’s a great guy. He’s super kind, super funny, very determined. He’s everything that he is. Obviously, just so appreciative of him and our conversation that we had in the spring and just helping me. Honestly, he’s helped me a lot. In the spring, just getting acclimated and just talking through, and honestly, he’s one of the guys I knew coming in the building. You know how it is when you go to a new place, and you are trying to learn people, you gravitate towards the ones you know. He’s out there with arms open and helped me fit in and feel comfortable. I’m really very grateful to him for that. As you go through life and you grow and learn and hopefully improve and get better as a person, from me personally, where I was whenever that was, I’m just trying to be a better person every day. I’m just really thankful to him for that. Then, you roll into the season, and you play football and talking technique. We were out there post-practice one day and he was working on some man-to-man techniques and footwork with the young guys, and I was watching, and we were just kind of talking about techniques, and you get back into the football fundamentals of it, which he’s super great at. That was fun. You’re back coaching and teaching, and a couple of things we were talking about, which was really cool. And then getting into the season and he obviously knew maybe the first game of the year, so it was going to be tough for me. He was there and made sure I was okay and that was awesome. That was awesome. So, I think, look, everybody tries to grow as people and sit down and come together and go forward. That’s what’s been really, really awesome and cool about it. I love that. I don’t think all of us are ever our most perfect selves our entire lives. I don’t think that has ever happened. So, it’s good for me to be able to come back and build some of those relationships the way that you want them.”

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