Ron Rivera spoke to the media today due to this week's playoff game being on Saturday night. He opened up the presser with some pretty big news. The team might have to rotate starting QB Alex Smith with backup Taylor Heinicke. Smith is still dealing with a calf strain that caused him to miss 2 1/2 games. Smith played last week, but was not very mobile and looked limited. Heinicke was seen warming up on the sidelines, and Rivera said he considered putting him in, but Smith was able to finish the entire game and get the win.
The Washington Football Team will have to evaluate Smith's injury again this week and see if he can start, and then monitor him during the game if he is struggling. They will have Heinicke ready to play, and also Steven Montez available as the 3rd QB on game day. Rivera also mentioned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aggressive defense when talking about rotating QBs.
Rotating Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke:
#WashingtonFootball Head Coach Ron Rivera will consider rotating quarterbacks with Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke during Satursday's Wildcard playoff game against Bucs @wusa9 @WUSA9sports pic.twitter.com/vVpXNtuzeF— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) January 5, 2021
Ron Rivera says Washington has to consider rotating QBs Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke against Tampa. “It’s something we seriously have to look at”— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) January 5, 2021
If Alex Smith's calf tightens up in a game, Rivera said there are some things the team can do to ease that. But they'll also have to look at possibly rotating him in with backup Taylor Heinicke.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
To be clear, Rivera said Washington wasn't necessarily going to rotate in Smith and Heinicke; he said it was something they would think about. But either way, he wouldn't have a problem with it because the game plan will be the same regardless of who is the QB.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
Ron Rivera: "We're going to play a very aggressive defense this week."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 5, 2021
Ron Rivera said the success of the Bucs' defensive line (4th in NFL with 48 sacks) will not directly affect @WashingtonNFL's QB decision.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 5, 2021
"We have to play the guy that gives us the best chance to win."
Playoffs at 7-9:
Rivera reiterated that he is not going to apologize for getting into the playoffs with a sub .500 record. Washington won the division, and part of his job is to make sure his players have a belief that they can win in the first round.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
Ron Rivera on if @WashingtonNFL's players have heard about the 2014 Panthers, who won a playoff game with a losing record.— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 5, 2021
"I hope they have, because I've talked about it."
Playing vs future Hall of Famers:
Rivera likes that some of his young players grew up admiring some of the greats like Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. They want to be like them, and he doesn't see anything wrong with being excited about seeing them and wanting to play against them.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
Ron Rivera understands his young players idolizing players like Tom Brady. "Who wouldn't wanna be like Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger? Those guys are champions."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 5, 2021
Rivera admitted he has some fan boy in him, too. Mentioned Joe Montana and Brett Favre.
Ron Rivera on Tom Brady "I didn't realize he was 43 because...he throws the ball like he's 23."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 5, 2021
"He may be that age, but he sure doesn't play like it." Also mentioned how he spreads the ball around.
Ron Rivera on Alex Smith's movement against the Eagles: "I thought he had his moments."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) January 5, 2021
Highlighted the first drive and the drive before halftime. Both ended in touchdowns.
Rivera on Smith's movement vs. Eagles: "I thought he had his moments. That first drive was what we were looking for. ... As long as he's performing and doing the things to help us, we'll keep rolling."https://t.co/0Lt5m1XLiz— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 5, 2021
Jack Del Rio:
Ron on Jack Del Rio: "When he walks into a room, he has instant credibility." Even brought up JDR's Twitter and how some early-season posts rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but said that Jack "is who he is" and won't back down from that in any respect— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) January 5, 2021
Rivera: I'm a big believer in takeaways.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
Rivera brought up that when he was in Carolina and won the takeaway battle, they won 90% of their games.
Forcing turnovers is something he and the coaches have emphasized on players all year.
Rivera now has four of five offensive linemen signed. And that makes things easier for the team, Rivera said, going into free agency and the draft. It creates something positive as the team looks toward building in the offseason.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
Women in the NFL:
Ron Rivera was asked about @JenniferKing5, who will be a part of the first NFL playoff game to feature female coaches on both sidelines. Rivera spoke about how King "earned" the job, and then went on to talk about the all-black officiating crew for WAS @ PHI:— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 5, 2021
Watch this: pic.twitter.com/Ye5ZyOpWcW
Saturday's game will be the first time female coaches will be on both sidelines in a playoff game. Rivera believes that will show young women out there that they can reach that goal and it is possible for women to have a career in the NFL.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) January 5, 2021
Ron Rivera went on the Rich Eisen Show and here are a few clips from the interview:
.@RiverboatRonHC talked to us about Alex Smith's comeback and if the two shared a moment after winning last night to secure the NFC East crown:#WashingtonFootball #NFL #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/iLIYnBh8xx— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) January 4, 2021
People are throwing out some heavy names when talking about @youngchase907 but #WashingtonFootball @RiverboatRonHC doesn't want to go there... yet:#NFL #NFLPlayoffs @WashingtonNFL pic.twitter.com/KEAppQ60V8— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) January 4, 2021
Eagles switching QBs: