The Washington Football Team started off the week with Ron Rivera answering questions from the media on Monday morning. Later this week we will hear from Dwayne Haskins Jr., Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat and Terry McLaurin.
The coach opened up with a statement about his decision to cut Derrius Guice, taking full responsibility for it. He said that he spoke to the players about it on Sunday. He also said that “each situation is unique” and that each would be dealt with individually, clearly not wanting to say that the Guice decision will set a precedent that binds the club in the future.
The discussion prompted questions about parallels to Cody Latimer and Reuben Foster. Rivera stressed that each situation is unique, but reading between the lines, Ron sounded more positive about Foster’s situation than Latimer’s, saying that things would have a chance to play out for both players.
Coach talked about the range of talent at linebacker and eschewed the opportunity to discuss which players would fill which linebacking positions, suggesting that different players might start different games depending on defensive alignment.
One new thing we hadn’t heard from coach before was an emphasis on players practicing with tempo, and exhorting reporters to let him know if they don’t see that in practice. This seems to be a priority for Ron Rivera as part of his new culture.
The coach praised Dwayne Haskins and discussed Alex Smith’s situation, reminding everyone that if Alex gets healthy he will be competing for a roster spot. Coach Rivera also talked about the running back group without Derrius Guice, and reminded people “not to forget about Peyton Barber”. He reviewed the TE position and Logan Thomas’ re-activation from COVID reserve list, saying at one point that fans might see one, two or even three tight ends in formation when the season begins. While he was talking about COVID, the head coach stressed that awareness and prevention are ideas he has asked the coaching staff to talk about every day.
He had praise for the defensive linemen as well, at one point calling attention to each of them individually by name.
After the fairly subdued opening comment about the Derrius Guice situation, the media session was fairly upbeat. I got the sense that Coach Rivera is enjoying the opportunity to spend so much time with players, and with on-field practices right around the corner, the energy level is ratcheting up bit by bit.
Training Camp Press Conference - Head Coach Ron Rivera https://t.co/B2YdVMum1O— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera is giving his weekly press conference. He opens with a statement on Derrius Guice. He says it was best for the organization. "We take those allegations very, very seriously," he said.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera said he talked to players yesterday that he made the decision that he believed was the right one for the organization. So if it's the right decision, they'll benefit from it. If not, the blame is on him.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 10, 2020
Rivera: "Each situation is unique and each situation will be dealt [with] that way."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera on Derrius Guice. Says each situation is unique and will be dealt with accordingly. pic.twitter.com/wEdeL49Ct8— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 10, 2020
Rivera makes a pre-emptive comment about Cody Latimer, basically, by saying "Each situation is unique and each situation will be dealt (with) that way."— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) August 10, 2020
Asked if there were football reasons to cut Guice in addition to the arrest charges, Rivera said he didn’t “want to get into it”— Les Carpenter (@Lescarpenter) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera on Reuben Foster: He was prepared and ready to go and we're pretty excited for Reuben— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 10, 2020
Rivera said they were pleased with what they saw from Reuben Foster over the last week or so and, more than anything, his body responded well to resuming practice in a limited capacity, so they activated him.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 10, 2020
Over the course of nine days, Reuben Foster has done really well, Rivera said. There were no issues from his injury over that time. Washington will gradually increase his workload over time.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 10, 2020
Rivera on Foster vs. Guice: "I think the biggest thing is Reuben was claimed here and as he went through the process, certain things came out and he had his moment ... to show that he was exonerated for the most part."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera said that Rebuen Foster benefited from a change of scenery and Derrius Guice may benefit from one as well, too.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera is anticipating Reuben Foster having an impact in the linebacker room. He looks at the recovery that Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith had and how he's performed. That's the hope for Foster.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 10, 2020
Rivera said in regards to keeping Reuben Foster: says he’s done everything right in terms of his approach with treatments etc. says if Cody Latimer: b/c on commissioner exempt list they’ll let that play out and then make a decision. (I Wouldn’t assume he’ll be on the roster)— John Keim (@john_keim) August 10, 2020
“Linebacker by committee”:
Rivera said he has a really good group at linebacker. He doesn't know the best combination for starters, so the best strategy to him is to watch and see. He also said there could be a "starter by committee" going forward.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera: "This might be linebacker by committee because this is a very talented group."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 10, 2020
You play the way you practice:
"The biggest thing I want you all to see is tempo." Ron Rivera on how his practice is going to be different when we watch on Thursday.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 10, 2020
What makes a Ron Rivera practice? "Tempo."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 10, 2020
"When we practice, we've got to practice faster ... at every chance we get."
Ron Rivera said he knows it's practice, but he's been very excited looking at how Montez Sweat, Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Ryan Anderson and more have played so far.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 10, 2020
Running back group:
Rivera says the decision to release Derrius Guice was "very difficult" but the team feels good about the RB group. Rivera specifically brought up Peyton Barber too— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 10, 2020
Rivera on running backs group after Guice: "Don't forget Peyton Barber."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 10, 2020
TE Logan Thomas & COVID-19:
Ron Rivera said that TE Logan Thomas did a good job taking care of himself when he ended up on the COVID-19/Reserve list. Now, he's off and they're excited about his athleticism and football smarts. The team may play one-, two- or three-tight end sets.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 10, 2020
DE Montez Sweat:
Asked about Montez Sweat, Ron Rivera breaks out a smile.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 10, 2020
"It's pretty exciting, he's a tremendously gifted athlete"
Alex Smith & QB competition:
Ron Rivera: If we activate Alex Smith from PUP, he's going to be "in the throes of this competition."— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 10, 2020
Ron Rivera again talking about Alex Smith - if he gets activated he will compete.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 10, 2020
"It will be a very challenging situation to make sure everybody's reps are equitable"