Ron Rivera talked to reporters after the Washington Football Team’s first practice since Tuesday. The team decided to postpone yesterday’s scheduled scrimmage at FedEx Field to discuss social injustice and racism as a football family. He said most of the players responded when they returned to practice but a few seemed distant after recent events.
Rivera discussed a few issues he’s concerned about with the limited physical practices the team has been allowed to have this offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. He has talked about tackling and penalties before, and he continues to see issues that need to be addressed in practice. One player who has not had issues with tackling during training camp has been free safety Troy Apke. Rivera has praised him multiple times, and continues to play fast and aggressive. Chase Young got more work in today and was impressive. He also mentioned Montez Sweat getting stronger in the offseason.
Washington’s running backs room has been loaded all offseason. Even after Derrius Guice was cut following a domestic violence arrest, the team is going to have some tough decisions to make. Antonio Gibson appeared to hurt his leg in practice today, but Rivera said he was just kicked in the shin, and had to work it through the “owie”. They have been throwing a lot at Gibson since being drafted in the 3rd round, which has led to some confusion, but he has done a nice job of handling it. He also said don’t count our Bryce Love who is making his come back to the field after missing his rookie season due to an ACL tear on the last play of hist college career at Stanford. J.D. McKissic is the versatile type of RB that Offensive Coordinator likes in his offense.
Rivera talked about building a winning culture and the changes he’s seen since taking over almost 8 months ago. He notices the small things that have started to happen from things players are saying to little actions they are taking. He noticed some selfishness early on, but now he sees more encouraging signs from veterans mentoring young players on their own, to guys picking up trash in the locker room.
“I think that’s the important thing that the players get across to one another: ‘There’s a lot of work to do. We’ve got to change the way things have been done in the past.’ Because, one of the things that I always tell the guys: ‘If what we did last year you think is good enough, it’s not. You’re wrong.’ It’s not good enough because it was only good enough for 3-13. So, we’ve got to get past that and get to where we want to go. That’s what I said in terms of it’s important that we build a winning, sustainable culture.”
Training Camp Press Conference - Head Coach Ron Rivera https://t.co/33IP3yp5Jy— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 28, 2020
Ron Rivera says he doesn't necessarily expect any league trends like in 2011 where defenses started slow.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) August 28, 2020
Says having Zoom contact with them helped. Nothing in 2011.
Ron says he is concerned w/ tackling in general. @WSHFootballSI
Ron Rivera on practice after a couple of days off: "I thought they responded" but noticed a few guys "distant." But he seemed pleased overall.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 28, 2020
Rivera said he thought the players responded well during today practice after discussing racial inequality yesterday. He thought they were competitive and played well in some up-tempo drills.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 28, 2020
Ron Rivera says he is concerned about tackling in the early season without preseason games. Rivera adds that he thought practice was a bit "distant" in practice today after yesterday's meeting and the state of our country— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 28, 2020
Rivera admits he thinks tackling will be "a little bit of a concern" to start the season across the league. Said they try their best to simulate tackling in practice.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
Penalties in practice:
Ron Rivera on having a handful of penalties at today's practice after two days off the field: pic.twitter.com/sMkB2lGOFp— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 28, 2020
Rivera calls the penalties in practice today "disconcerting."— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 28, 2020
There were a bunch of offsides today, and Ron Rivera admits it was a little concerning. "It's part of the maturation process, that you're able to focus," he said.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 28, 2020
Rivera emphasized to his guys to "be where their feet are." When they're at practice, focus on that. When they're at home, that's the main focus.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
Ron Rivera, on what he needs to see from Alex Smith before he takes the next step (11-on-11) in practice: pic.twitter.com/2DVCacqsKj— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 28, 2020
Rivera says Antonio Gibson just got kicked in the shin and that's what caused him to miss some work but why he was able to come back. "He had to get the owie out of the way"— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 28, 2020
Antonio Gibson has been "confused" at times per Riera but is a "great young man" who you see burst and "exciting, dynamic player." @WSHFootballSI— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) August 28, 2020
Washington has used Antonio Gibson in a variety of spots, which has led him to be confused at certain times, Rivera said. But Rivera said he's done a "nice job" of handling it.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 28, 2020
Rivera praises Gibson for his versatility and said he's an exciting, dynamic player. Also:— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
"He's got a maturity about him that a lot of rookies don't have.
Rivera said Chase Young looked "fresh" today. He continues to make progress, and Rivera said they'll give him more reps as he continues throughout camp.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 28, 2020
Rivera said Montez Sweat did a good job of handling himself during the offseason. He's stronger, Rivera said, and he thinks Sweat is responding well to what they're asking of him.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 28, 2020
Here's Rivera on J.D. McKissic, who he views as a situational guy. pic.twitter.com/5JIKA03UXS— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 28, 2020
Rivera said that in certain situations, you'll see J.D. McKissic more than some of their other backs. The coaching staff likes his skillset, and Rivera said that McKissic fits into what Scott Turner wants to do.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
Ron Rivera says they were able to highlight J.D. McKissic more today because of some of the emphasis in drills.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) August 28, 2020
Feels Josh Garnett fits into blocking scheme well. @WSHFootballSI
Good football players:
Rivera said the past few weeks has shown that "we've got some good football players." Said there have been guys who have shown they can be starters and guys who have shown they have positional versatility.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
Rivera said he thinks the team has shown throughout camp it has some good players. He mentioned position flexibility again, and said players who have it have the chance to make the roster. He's looking forward to the next few days when the coaches can evaluate players further.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 28, 2020
Rivera said that the next couple of days will be very important in terms of figuring out the 53-man roster and the 16 practice squad players.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
Ron Rivera on Bryce Love: "Don't fall asleep on Bryce."— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 28, 2020
Five RBs on the roster? Seems to be in play.
Rivera says not to forget about Bryce Love. Said he did a couple of nice things today, including a red zone run where he had an angle on everyone and beat them to the end zone during a team drill.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
Rivera said the whole group of RBs can contribute to this team. He listed off AP's leadership, Barber's toughness, McKissic and Gibson's versatility and Barber's speed on the edge.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 28, 2020
Good news: Ron Rivera has a timeline when he's going to name the starting QB.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 28, 2020
Bad news: Ron wont tell me when that is.
Rivera said the overall tempo has been rubbing off on safety Troy Apke, who has delivered some big hits during training camp.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 28, 2020
"He's doing the things we need him to do."
Troy Apke has been aggressive during practice, and Rivera said he thinks that is the practice style rubbing off on him. He said Apke is doing the right things at free safety and learning to play fast, and when you play fast, Rivera said good things happen.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 28, 2020
Ron Rivera on Troy Apke says he's playing with much better angles and "he's been great" ....— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) August 28, 2020
Says he is developing field awareness, knowing who to hit, when to hit and when to pull up and protect. @WSHFootballSI
Building a winning culture:
Coach Ron Rivera talks about building a winning culture. He says in the beginning guys may have been a little selfish, but you see them growing as a team. Vet’s supporting the young guys. Picking up after themselves and others. It all adds to a winning mentality. @WashingtonNFL— Julie Donaldson (@juliedonaldson_) August 28, 2020
Coach Rivera said he was nervous that the players would be selfish, but the team has come together. The vets have opened up their arms to the young guys. They pick up after themselves and others. He's all about creating a winning culture and the little things that lead to it.— Logan Campbell (@loganncampbelll) August 28, 2020