Ron Rivera made a lot of roster moves today, and will likely be making more over the next week. Alex Smith has been fully cleared for contact, and was practicing fully over the last two days. He made his case to Rivera and other coaches, and he earned his spot on the 53. Rivera said he would feel comfortable playing him on September 13th in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles if he had to.
Reuben Foster was not able to fully comeback from his ACL/LCL injury from last May. He was activated off of the PUP list and practiced with the team. Rivera said he plateaued in camp health-wise, and he just wasn’t where he needed to be to make the team.
The Washington Football Team only kept 5 WRs on their initial 53-man roster, and Rivera said that is a position they will be monitoring as players become available. But they felt comfortable only keeping 5 WRs because of the versatility of their RBs. He said both Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic can line up at wide receiver in this offense.
Rivera decided to keep 10 offensive linemen, and said he thinks all of them could start for this team. He also didn’t want to expose those players to waivers in an attempt to get them to the practice squad.
This is a young team, and Rivera sees a lot of talent on the roster. He said one of the problems at the end of his run in Carolina was that the team got old. All 8 of Washington’s draft picks made the team, along with UDFA WR Isaiah Wright.
Training Camp Press Conference - Head Coach Ron Rivera https://t.co/liCAwSo5bp— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 5, 2020
Here's Ron Rivera on Alex Smith, including the revelation that he did full 11-on-11 work the last two days of practice.— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) September 5, 2020
"He was very passionate about wanting the opportunity to play again." pic.twitter.com/gRuWRa8JtC
Rivera on Alex Smith.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) September 5, 2020
Talks about the progress, but he also noticed his mental state of mind. Said Smith was very passionate about wanting to play and make the team. Took that to mean Smith is passed any mental hurdle.
Ron Rivera said he and Ken Zampese and Scott Turner sat down with Alex Smith and Smith was "very passionate" about wanting to play.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 5, 2020
"The mental aspect was answered the other day," Rivera said.
Rivera said Smith handled all 11-on-11 stuff the last two days of practice.
Ron Rivera is addressing the media right now. Alex Smith made the 53-man roster and Rivera believes he has "passed the hurdle" mentally. Everyone is positive about his progress. He said he threw Smith "into the fire" during 11v11 drills and Smith stood tall through all of it.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Coach Rivera on Alex Smith playing: "If the opportunity comes down the line, who knows."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 5, 2020
Asked what plenty of people are thinking, Ron Rivera says yes, if needed, he's comfortable playing Alex Smith Week 1 vs Philly.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 5, 2020
Rivera said having Alex Smith is a "great sounding board" for all the quarterbacks on the roster. He spent time with Haskins, Allen and Montez and helped them between plays.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Rivera said Troy Apke, Kamren Curl and Deshazor Everett had good camps. He really liked Apke, dating all the way back to his days at Carolina, and he likes the way Apke has grown.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Washington chose to keep five wide receivers on the roster. Rivera said they will monitor the position, but they also liked the position flexibility of the running backs as pass-catchers.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Rivera said that they will monitor the wide receivers out there, but he also feels good about the wide receivers they have. Also noted how having versatile RBs will help. Mentioned McKissic and Gibson being able to split out at WR.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 5, 2020
Running back versatility:
RB versatility: Antonio Gibson can play the X/Z, while J.D. McKissic can be lined up in the slot. #washingtonfootballteam— Julie Donaldson (@juliedonaldson_) September 5, 2020
Rivera says it was disappointing to have to put Reuben Foster on IR, but he plateaued health wise. The leg just wasnt there, everyone could see it— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 5, 2020
On Reuben Foster... As you know, if on IR at this point Washington can't activate him during the season. Rivera felt he plateaued during camp and wanted to give him more time to work during the fall here to try to see if he can get it back at some point. Was a brutal injury— John Keim (@john_keim) September 5, 2020
For clarification, Rivera said Mike Liedtke, Reuben Foster, Simeon Thomas, Ryan Bee and Jordan Veasy will be placed on IR today (not after the first 53 was set), so they'll lose the full season.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 5, 2020
Had they started on the 53 for a day, they'd be eligible to return after Week 3.
Rivera said there are a lot of young talented players on the roster. That's something he said during his introductory press conference. Said he's to see what these players can become.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Rivera said he loves Ryan Anderson's physicality and the team has specific things planned for him.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 5, 2020
RE: trade talk, Rivera said: "Those things that are being floated, they're floated about everybody."
Rivera said Ryan Anderson had a good camp and that he likes the physical nature of him.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 5, 2020
Rivera said he enjoys having Ryan Anderson around on the roster. Rivera said earlier in camp that Anderson fits into the rotation on the defensive line.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Credit to @NickSundberg for calling James Smith-Williams to the 53. Rivera just spoke about JSW's versatility as a key part of him making the roster— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 5, 2020
Rivera's simple reason James Smith-Williams made the 53-man roster: position flex. The seventh-round rookie played several positions along the defensive line during training camp.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 5, 2020
Rivera likes the 10 offensive linemen on the roster. He said every player on the line could start for them.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 5, 2020
Washington kept 10 offensive linemen because they didn't want to expose any of them to waivers. He said he felt like all 10 have the capability to start.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 5, 2020
Rivera said that CB Danny Johnson just "kept ascending and kept ascending" and had a really good stretch towards the end. He ended up surpassing Aaron Colvin, who was released.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 5, 2020