Ron Rivera spoke to the media today after Washington's 27-17 loss to the Eagles last night. He gave several injury updates from last game, but didn't mention DE Daniel Wise who left with a knee injury after a dirty block from TE Dallas Goedert. Antonio Gibson suffered a toe injury, but came back in the game to play through it. Rivera said it was similar to the turf toe injury he suffered last year, and had offseason surgery to clear up lingering fluid. Rivera said that William Jackson III(ankle) and Landon Collins(foot) are getting MRIs, but they diagnosis "sounded encouraging". Ian Rapoport quickly reported that Jackson may have an Achilles sprain.
Rivera said guys were trying to do more than they needed to on defense vs the Eagles. The defense got anxious, and the execution wasn't where it needed to be. They crossed face with the Eagles OL and it led to bigger holes for their RBs. He did say that Jeremy Reaves fought his butt off after being called up to play.
Rivera says the team would be very disappointed if they didn't make the playoffs. Washington is still in the driver's seat, but they need to win to get in.
Cornelius Lucas has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will return to the team today. Rivera said they should get answers on several other players soon. That will include their QBs who were both hoping to get cleared before yesterday's 4pm deadline. The team had 3 players cleared yesterday, and they were flown to Philly on the Snyder private jet(only one of them was active).
William Jackson III/Landon Collins:
William Jackson may have a rare Achilles sprain. He’s having an MRI, but the belief as of now is, based on the tightness he still feels, the Achilles is intact. https://t.co/hgYxOX9B53— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 22, 2021
Antonio Gibson's development:
“I think the one thing more so than anything else is he has progressed, and he’s gotten himself into position where you feel very comfortable about who he is as our starting running back. The unfortunate part is he’s dealt with some injuries this year that I think it’s kind of slowed him down a little bit. Yesterday, he struggled with that turf toe that he had last year, it flared up on him and it kind of showed, and he was a little hesitant to drive off of it a couple times. And if he could have really stuck that foot in the ground and pushed, what was a three and a four-yard gain, had a chance to pop for eight to 10 yards, if not more. So that was the hard part he was dealing with, and he was trying to push himself through it and I applaud that. I think the biggest thing more than anything else though really has been just protecting the football. I think that has slowed him down more so than anything else. He’s really starting to get a feel for catching the ball out of the back field as a receiving back. I mean, he was a receiver in college, so catching the ball’s no issue, it’s just learning how to catch the ball from that position. It’s a little bit different in terms of how to keep that route, how to run that route, how to flatten it so that he presents a good target for the quarterback and then catch it that way. I think that’s part of something that’s part of his development, but with the ball in his hands, I think he’s as good as any back in the league.”
Antonio Gibson's toe injury:
Ron Rivera said Antonio Gibson's toe injury last night in Philadelphia was "very similar" to the turf toe injury he dealt with last year. Rivera said it flared up and Gibson tried to fight through it.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) December 22, 2021
When asked about the run defense failures in Philly, Ron Rivera brings up something he often discussed during the early-year struggles: guys trying to do "more than they needed to." Appreciated the defensive effort but lamented the execution pic.twitter.com/Cl1sfSBMBz— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) December 22, 2021
Rivera said he thinks the defense got a little "anxious" at times. He doesn't blame the effort, just not as sharp as they needed to be.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) December 22, 2021
Ron Rivera praised his defenders' effort but said they got "anxious" at times and "crossed face" on offensive line, leading to bigger holes. Rivera said it got particularly bad at the end of the third quarter.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) December 22, 2021
“I know I’ve said it in the past, you really saw guys not where they needed to be, but it wasn’t because they weren’t trying, I think more so than anything else we got into that second quarter, and you started seeing guys trying to do more than they needed to. Guys were crossing face and looking inside, were trying to make plays from going backside. Got a little undisciplined at one point, especially in the end of the third quarter, I thought the guys really tried to do more than they needed to, instead of just staying where they had been. For the most part, they were doing a great job early on, but I think we got a little anxious. I really do mean that because when you watch the tape you can’t fault the effort. It’s the kind of effort that you want when you’re in a tough situation. And I really applaud how hard they played. I mean, some guys’ efforts really stood out and it’s just unfortunate.”
Rivera said they'd be "tremendously disappointed" if they didn't make the playoffs.— John Keim (@john_keim) December 22, 2021
Ron: "We're still in the drivers seat. The only way we have a chance to get in is to win."— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) December 22, 2021
Custom benches for away games:
On the benches. Rivera said that decision was about comfort, somewhere to sit.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 22, 2021
Ron Rivera on Jeremy Reaves: "I thought Jeremy fought his butt off." Felt like Reaves could've jumped a tad later on that Goedert jump ball in order to come down with the pick. That play sticks out the most to Ron— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) December 22, 2021
Ron Rivera says he's sending the 3rd/6 screen completion with the #Eagles OL apparenty too far downfield into the league for explanation. He indicated they were about three yards too far.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) December 22, 2021
Also , didn't love the Saahdiq Charles block penalty based on spirit of what he was doing.
Ron Rivera says that Cornelius Lucas cleared the protocols and they should get more answers on others soon — including one of their quarterbacks.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) December 22, 2021
“Well the hard part, you know, first of all, is having to get him here. We were very fortunate to get him in right away as soon as we knew [QB] Taylor [Heinicke] was out. I think to me, the tough day more than anything else really was Sunday. We were hoping for, well, we typically have a fast Friday and we really get a chance to work on timing and that aspect of the game. And we had like 25 mile an hour winds and gusts and stuff like that. So it made it kind of tough to get that timing down. That’s the only disappointing thing in terms of preparation, but look at the tape and how things were, but handled it very well. He gave us an opportunity. I mean, shoot, 20-17 in the fourth quarter, things were where we had hoped to be. And that’s just for the most part you have a chance.”
Forfeit the Eagles game?
“Not that I know of, but I’m not in those discussions to be honest with you on that, Michael. Whatever they discussed, whatever they thought was best for the League, we were gonna do that accordingly. Last year, we got asked to move a game back, which we did because we believe that was best for the League. So this year we were fortunate, they felt what’s best for the League was we went ahead and played the games, which I was very appreciative of.”
“That in all honesty, you would have to ask the quarterbacks. Because, again, you gotta understand every one of our routes, all of our offensive plays, all have specific starting points based on what the quarterbacks see. Would I like to see Terry targeted a little bit more because of who he is? Yes. But again, that’s a better question for the quarterbacks to be fair.”
Forcing the ball to McLaurin:
“Well, I think you can. The understanding what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to do it, sometimes it puts in the hands of the guy that’s pulling the trigger and that goes back to the quarterback. I’m not trying to dump any blame or anything on anybody. I’m just saying that if the quarterback sees something that he doesn’t like, he’s not gonna try and force it. He’s gonna try and do what’s best.”
“Well, there could be a number of things. We came up against a pretty good Dallas team and gotta give them credit. We were down a couple of players. That’s unfortunate. It really just gotta look at things and try to figure out that. But again, those are excuses. We all get paid, we’re all professionals and we just gotta make sure we’re also putting them in position to be successful.”