Ron Rivera talked to reporters for the last time before the team cuts down to 53 players tomorrow by 4pm. The Washington Football Team announced a pretty big cut today when they released future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson.
It was a surprising move, but Rivera explained that it was more about what the team's young RBs were bringing to the table than what AP couldn't. Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Bryce Love, and Peyton Barber all have something coach is looking for as Washington's offense evolves under OC Scott Turner.
Rivera also talked about meeting with former Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and being told you have to challenge QB Dwayne Haskins because he wants to be great. He communicated with his franchise QB throughout the offseason and liked the response he got from him. He also stalked Haskins' social media, and liked what the young QB was putting out there about his progression as a QB and a leader.
Head Coach Ron Rivera spoke to the media about Adrian Peterson. pic.twitter.com/YWfoEXZ8IM— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 4, 2020
Ron Rivera says Washington made the decision to release Adrian Peterson on Friday instead of Saturday, so he could have his day. "Adrian is a true pro," he said. He said it was more about what the other running backs have done.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 4, 2020
Ron Rivera said they released Adrian Peterson today bc "he's a first ballot Hall-of-Famer," and it'd be difficult to handle it any other way. He explained the decision:— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) September 4, 2020
"This is about what this group of backs has shown us ... and with the way this offense is headed."
Rivera says Adrian Peterson was "as cool and as professional" as anyone could be in that situation— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 4, 2020
Peterson was one of the clear leaders on offense, and Rivera is confident there are players on the team who will step up and take on a leadership role.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 4, 2020
After waking up at 4:03 am this morning, Ron's mind went right to Adrian. "It was difficult. It was something I struggled with"— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) September 4, 2020
Coach Ron Rivera said he woke up at 4:03 AM today. His first thought outside of the time was how he was going to handle this situation with Peterson. This wasn’t an easy decision or conversation to have in part because of who Peterson is and who he was to the team.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 4, 2020
Rivera: "It's not about what he didn’t do it's about what these other guys were doing for us and allows us to go in the direction we feel good about. The guy's got football left in him."— John Keim (@john_keim) September 4, 2020
Coach Ron Rivera said he wanted to be honest that how Adrian Peterson fit schematically was part of the consideration. When teams see him out there, they have a better beat on what they O might do. Whereas with the other four, opposing Ds can’t make those same educated guesses.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 4, 2020
Ron Rivera says the Adrian Peterson decision allows him to see what he's got in the young players. pic.twitter.com/KM8gJ5hlVC— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) September 4, 2020
Rivera: 'We're going to find out about our young players.'— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 4, 2020
Rivera said he has seen good things from the four young RBs on the roster. It wasn't just about one player, but rather the development of every back on the roster.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 4, 2020
In the wake of Adrian Peterson's release, I asked Ron Rivera specifically about Antonio Gibson. The coach spoke highly of Gibson and JD McKissic but then Rivera brought up Bryce Love and 'all the things he's done.' That was interesting— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 4, 2020
Rivera: "You have to be realistic about certain situations" with the offense.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 4, 2020
Ron Rivera on Peyton Barber - I always liked him in Tampa when I coached in Carolina. Barber gets the tough extra yard, very physical, good in pass protection and "sneaky" as a receiver— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 4, 2020
I asked Ron Rivera about Kendall Fuller, and the coach said it's still 10 days until a real game. Concern level wont go up until next week— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 4, 2020
Rivera likes Peyton Barber's physicality and the way he can block.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 4, 2020
"There are some positives about Peyton that I've come to really appreciate" - Rivera on Barber. Said from playing against him in the NFC South, he gained an appreciation for Barber's blocking, physicality and ability to sneak out of the backfield to help as a receiver— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) September 4, 2020
Dwayne Haskins Jr:
Concerning Dwayne Haskins, Rivera had a talk with Urban Meyer and learned a lot about Haskins makeup as a player. He learned that he needed to challenge Haskins, which is why he approached their initial conversation as a chance to charge Haskins with stepping up in the offseason.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 4, 2020
Rivera said after he was hired he talked to Urban Meyer about how best to push Haskins. Meyer told him: He has to be challenged b/c he wants to be good... So Rivera kept challenging him. Rivera said he'd pay attention to DH tweets. Liked what he was putting out/saying.— John Keim (@john_keim) September 4, 2020
This was funny, coach Ron Rivera admitted he stalked — kept tabs on — Dwayne Haskins social media. And he saw the tweets about leadership, working out and getting with his teammates. They texted during the Super Bowl, playoffs and Draft. All that mattered in forming his opinion.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 4, 2020
Rivera said he was texting with Haskins at various times throughout the offseason -- during the playoffs, the Super Bowl, before the draft... Liked the communication...— John Keim (@john_keim) September 4, 2020