Washington Football Team Head Coach Ron Rivera returned to practice today after missing yesterday to start his cancer treatments. Rivera is thankful for the group of coaches and staff he has assembled over the years that can take over if needed, and guide the team with his vision. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio took over yesterday’s practice, but he also cited TEs Coach Richard Rodgers and Head Athletic Trainer Ryan Vermillion today. Rivera has had several coaches who have gone through cancer treatments from Chuck Pagano to high school coaches, and he said the passion to get back to coaching inspired him. His players were very supportive as he returned to practice today, and he spoke to a group of core players about also stepping up if he’s not there.
We got the first injury report of the season today, and it features a lot of players who have been dinged up recently. Jonathan Allen tweaked his knee 10 days ago at practice, but was a full participant in today’s practice. Rookie WR Antonio Gandy-Golden has been working off to the side recently, but was a full participant today and is listed with a concussion. Three other players were limited today. Kendall Fuller was the team’s big free agency signing this year and he has been sideline during training camp with a knee injury for the last few weeks. Fourth round rookie LT Saadhiq Charles has also been sideline for a few weeks(calf), but seems like he’s getting very close to a return. Del Rio mentioned that Thomas Davis Sr. was dinged up yesterday, and today he’s been listed with a calf injury.
The development of QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. is going to be huge for the future of this franchise, and Rivera said every coach he interviewed talked about working with the 2nd-year QB to improve his game. Rivera challenged him this year, and he is comfortable with where Haskins is in the offense right now. Alex Smith has been a great influence on him, and they share a competitive spirit.
The team released an unofficial depth chart yesterday, and a lot of people lost their minds. Rivera gave the yearly reminder that these don’t really mean much, and they are forced to fill them out for the media. He was specifically asked about J.D. McKissic being listed as the starting RB over Antonio Gibson. Rivera said the words no fantasy owner likes to hear, “The RB spot is going to be by committee.” Washington has multiple backs that they feel comfortable with, and they will get their opportunities depending on the formation and the situation.
Head Coach Ron Rivera was back at practice today pic.twitter.com/iIZD0gMYZL— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 9, 2020
Press Conference - Ron Rivera https://t.co/krCJrMMQtR— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 9, 2020
Washington's first injury/practice report of 2020:— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 9, 2020
OT Saahdiq Charles (calf) - LIMITED
LB Thomas Davis (calf) - LIMITED
CB Kendall Fuller (knee) - LIMITED
WR Antonio Gandy-Golden (concussion) - FULL
DT Jonathan Allen (knee) - FULL
Dwayne Haskins Jr.:
Rivera on Haskins: "You feel comfortable that he's getting it."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 9, 2020
Rivera reminds the media that Haskins is not the only one who has developed. He has seen the players around him develop, too.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 9, 2020
Ron Rivera: "Dwayne [Haskins] wants to be good, and he's shown me he wants to be good."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 9, 2020
Rivera said he loves Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith's competitive nature. Haskins wants to be better every day, and he can see the competitive spirit in Smith.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 9, 2020
Mike Ditka philosophy:
Ron Rivera says his philosophy is to never ask players something that he wasn't willing to do.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) September 9, 2020
Learned it from Mike Ditka.
On Dwayne "he's showing me he wants to be good." @WSHFootballSI
One of the thing that QB coach Ken Zampese and OC Scott Turner did when Ron Rivera asked him what their plans for Dwayne Haskins were, they said "form a personal relationship" with him. That was part of what sold him.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 9, 2020
Running back by committee:
Ron Rivera says the running back group is going to be by committee. The depth chart released was unofficial— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 9, 2020
Rivera: "The running back spot is going to be by committee." He says it will be depending on the formation. "J.D. we just happened to put on the (depth) chart first," he said.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 9, 2020
Mentioned this yesterday but Rivera said it just now: The RB spot will be by committee. So don't read TOO much into McKissic listed at the top. It will be fluid. McKissic will get a lot of work. So will the others.— John Keim (@john_keim) September 9, 2020
Rivera said the running back position is going to be by committee. J.D. McKissic was the starting running back on the initial depth chart, but Rivera said that could change with each game and each personnel situation.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 9, 2020
It starts with the division.— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 9, 2020
Ron Rivera points out that Philly has been to the playoffs three of the last four years and they won a Super Bowl during that time. They're the gold standard and measuring stick for what this team can do.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 9, 2020
Rivera said that in the NFC East, the Eagles have set the standard the past few years.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 9, 2020
"If you want to win your division, you've got to beat teams like this."
Rivera said playing against the Eagles is a measuring stick for Washington. He called Philadelphia is "gold standard" of the division. How they play against the Eagles will tell Rivera a lot about where his team is at.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) September 9, 2020
Cancer treatment advice from fellow coaches:
Rivera says he's had a chance to talk to other coaches who've dealt with cancer, including former Colts coach (and Bears coordinator) Chuck Pagano.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 9, 2020
Rivera said that several coaches who have gone through what Rivera is going through have reached out to him. Not only NFL coaches but high school coaches as well.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 9, 2020
"It was special to get out there today in front of the guys."
Ron Rivera said that he's had a number of coaches reach out to him at the professional and HS level. Said it was special for him to get out to practice today. It was a little late, but he said the players dapping him up thinking of him brings him comfort.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 9, 2020
Yesterday’s cancer treatment:
Rivera says he felt pretty lousy yesterday.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) September 9, 2020
Says Jack Del Rio and Richard Rodgers (who has been with him for a long time) have been great to lean on.
Rivera said he recently talked to a group of the team's core players and talked to them about ownership and stepping up when Rivera is not there.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) September 9, 2020
Ron Rivera gives a ton of credit to his coaching, personnel staff and generally a lot of people he can trust. He learned from John Madden to be able to delegate where he can. And he shouted out head trainer Ryan Vermillion for occasionally taking him to treatments.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 9, 2020
Rivera said he's so far balanced his health & football largely b/c of his staff. He praised his coaches for going above & beyond for him. Said he's learned to delegate more too. "Something I learned from John Madden, when you delegate the authority you have to set the standard."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 9, 2020
Ron Rivera said when the ball kicks off on Sunday, his thought will be, "Finally." They'll finally have some normalcy. He's really looking forward to that after everything that's happened since Jan.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) September 9, 2020