Ron Rivera seemed to be in a good mood the morning after his team won the NFC East with a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. One thing he was not in the mood for was apologies. This is been a hard season on and off the field, and this team earned their shot at the playoffs. He doesn't worry about what Doug Pederson did with his QBs last night, just like the teams that beat Washington didn't care about his coaching decision when they won.
Rivera heaped praise on the leaders of the team like Alex Smith, Terry McLaurin, and Chase Young. They are all captains for a reason, and they all pick up the team with their attitudes and work ethic. They are what professional football players look like, and they are what Rivera wants to build his team around.
Ron Rivera is speaking to the media now. Said that on Thursday, Rivera saw Terry McLaurin run a 100-yard dash at practice.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 4, 2021
"I knew he was playing, and that's all it took."
Ron Rivera that he's 'pretty confident' that Terry McLaurin will be ready to go.— Washington Football On SI.com (@WSHFootballSI) January 4, 2021
Likely will be limited in practice. #WashingtonFootball
Alex Smith, Antonio Gibson, and McLaurin playing Saturday?:
Ron Rivera says Washington has a plan for Alex Smith, Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to have all 3 ready to play Saturday night vs Tampa— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) January 4, 2021
When asked about Washington playing Tom Brady, Rivera said, "It's Tom Brady. He's having another phenomenal year."— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera asked about facing Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady: "I'll say that with a straight face: It's just another opponent." Pause, grin. "No, let's be realistic about who we're playing. ... Maybe we'll get lucky and catch him on a down."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) January 4, 2021
Great point from Ron Rivera as it pertains to preparing for Tom Brady.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 4, 2021
In Carolina, Rivera's teams had to face Drew Brees twice per season. He knows how to get ready for one of the best pocket passers in NFL history.
Rivera said games like the Wild Card matchup are why teams invest in the defensive line.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Good question from @PeteHaileyNBCS on if Washington’s defensive line was built to stop quarterbacks like Brady. Rivera said he studied interior and exterior pass rush a few years ago and believes in that being a foundation of a defense.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) January 4, 2021
Nate Sudfeld replacing Jalen Hurts:
Rivera on the Hurts-Sudfeld switch: “I’m not going to apologize for winning. ... Nobody cared when we didn’t have our best players two weeks ago” so why should i care about the switch?— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera, asked about the Eagles benching QB Jalen Hurts: "I'm not going to apologize for winning. ... A lot of people are unhappy about it, that's just tough."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera said adamantly that he is not going to apologize for winning the game. He said no one cared that Pittsburgh sat players so he isn't going to apologize for winning a game in which a coach made a decision he thought was best for his team (Philadelphia's Doug Pederson).— Lake Lewis Jr (@LakeLewis) January 4, 2021
Rivera thinks the things he and Alex Smith have been through this year have helped created a mindset on the team. Smith has battled back from near death to play, and it has been inspirational to Rivera, and he likes to think Smith's effort rubs off on players.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
“Being the example is important.” HC Ron Rivera on how Alex Smith and he played a role in this teams mentality. #WashingtonFootball— Julie Donaldson (@juliedonaldson_) January 4, 2021
Rivera said he will speak with Ryan Vermillion about Alex Smith's progress after today's presser. Based on what he hears, he will decided where to go from there regarding the QB's progress.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera, on Chase Young yelling that he's coming for Tom Brady pic.twitter.com/zwz6yVxOJy— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) January 4, 2021
Chase Young ran off the field saying "I want Tom Brady" after Sunday's game. It's going to be bulletin board material, Rivera said, but he likes the excitement that Young was showing in that moment. That is the type of player he wants on his team.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Rivera on seeing Chase Young run off the field screaming he wants Tom Brady....— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) January 4, 2021
"I cringe, but I smile at it because he loves playing the game."
Ron brings up names like Alex Smith and Chase Young before saying: "I want guys that love playing professional football, not guys that love being professional football players"— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera on the playoffs: "All you need is a chance."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 4, 2021
"Never die" attitude:
Rivera was reading a Winston Churchill book earlier in the season, and the biggest he took from was the "never die" attitude the British had in WWII. They would fight anywhere, and that's something he wants to foster with his team.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Benching Dwayne Haskins Jr. In Week 5:
Ron Rivera : "Week 5 -- I did what I did (benching Haskins) - because I thought we had a chance."— Washington Football On SI.com (@WSHFootballSI) January 4, 2021
Front line guys:
Rivera said the team has some "front line guys" that have help set the standard. Mentioned players like Terry, Alex Smith and Montez Sweat.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera on CB Fabian Moreau, who played more last night than he had in recent weeks:— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 4, 2021
"Fabian has the misfortune of having good guys around him as well."
CB Fabian Moreau played more def snaps last night than he had since Week 2 (35). Ron Rivera said it was partly a matchup thing vs. Philly, but he also wants to see more of Moreau moving forward.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) January 4, 2021
We could see Moreau step in for CB Jimmy Moreland at times vs. TB's bigger WRs/TEs.
Overlooking teams with losing records in the playoffs:
Teams with losing records have fared well in the playoffs. Rivera's Panthers, who finished 7-8-1 in 2014, were one of those teams. Teams with better records tend to overlook them. Rivera knows Bruce Arians will not let that happen.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Ron Rivera says @BruceArians is "hilariously honest" at times. They have worked together on committees and obviously coached against each other.— Washington Football On SI.com (@WSHFootballSI) January 4, 2021
Lot of respect there.
Ron Rivera asked if he will wear the all-white jerseys at home on Saturday for the playoffs.— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) January 4, 2021
Wouldn't commit either way, but said tradition is important too.
Ron Rivera in playoff mode: “The game plan is what the game plan will be”— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) January 4, 2021
Rivera said all three of Washington's QBs are interchangeable in terms of their abilities. No matter which of them plays, whether its Smith or Taylor Heinicke, there will be one game plan they all can use.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 4, 2021
Jack Del Rio:
Ron Rivera on JDR --— Washington Football On SI.com (@WSHFootballSI) January 4, 2021
"I hired Jack because I went and spent some time with him....Jack just loves football."
"He's a fierce competitor"
Ron Rivera said he hired Jack Del Rio because he spent some time with him beforehand and realized how much he loved football. Also highlighted his fierce competitiveness and proven track record.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 4, 2021