Ron Rivera spoke to the media today, and it will probably be the last time we hear from him until after the NFL draft which starts 4 weeks from today. Rivera said the Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the #1 QB going into training camp this year, but there will be a competition. He has talked about regretting naming Dwayne Haskins Jr. the starter without a real competition last year, and doesn’t want to make the same mistake this season.
They wanted to get a veteran QB who could not only help the team win, but also help develop the players around him. He mentioned Alex Smith doing a good job of that last season, and that’s something they think Fitzpatrick can do for them this season. Rivera didn’t rule out adding a young QB this year, but it will depend on how the draft plays out. Washington currently holds the #19 overall pick this year, but there are expected to be 4-5 QBs that could get drafted before they’re on the clock. Rivera said you can build the team before getting your QB of the future, but you never know until the opportunity is available.
The team was planning on taking a wait and see position in free agency this year, but saw slow markets developing at CB and WR. This allowed them to get William Jackson III and Curtis Samuel, two players they liked, but didn’t think they would be able to sign due to the cost. Then in the next wave they were able to add players like Darryl Roberts and Adam Humphries to address the slot positions. They will continue to monitor free agency before and after the draft to see if there are players that fit their needs.
Rivera talked about two players on the offensive line that could play a big role on the team now and in the future. The team has not talked to Brandon Scherff who received the franchise tag again this season. They still want to sign him to a long-term deal, but there have been no new talks since he got tagged. Saahdiq Charles’ rookie season was lost due to injuries, but Rivera sees him at the facility rehabbing, and said he looks good. They are not sure if he will play guard or tackle when he is ready to play, but they liked his versatility coming out of LSU, and will play him where he best fits the team.
William Jackson III was a big signing this offseason, and helps replace the loss of Ronald Darby who signed a 3-year deal with the Broncos after his “prove-it” season was successful in Washington. The coaches weren’t sure if he would be a fit in their defense because he’s so good at man coverage. After watching more tape those concerns disappeared, and the coaches will now be able to play more man coverage with the players they have.
LIVE: Coach Rivera speaks to the media https://t.co/BbUMs2DzCy— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) April 1, 2021
Rivera: "One of the mistakes I made last year, we didn't have a true competition. ... I want to play the guy who is going to give us the best opportunity."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera says one of the mistakes he made wasn’t having the quarterback competition he wanted. So now they have an intended starter, but this offseason Rivera is having the competition he wanted.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera says that the appeal of Ryan Fitzpatrick is the veteran element. He’s improved the last few seasons. And when Rivera was in Carolina, when he played against Fitzpatrick, he thought, the guy could play.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera on Fitzpatrick: "When the whole Stafford deal went down and a couple things happened, we wanted to get a guy in here that has the experience and can help us develop."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 1, 2021
Ryan was part of the conversation early when it came to getting a QB. It was also about getting a QB that helps makes the guys better, develop.— Julie Donaldson (@juliedonaldson_) April 1, 2021
Drafting a QB:
Ron Rivera says he "cant tell" how things will unfold for Washington at QB once the team gets into the NFL Draft at the end of the month— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera says they could be done adding to the quarterback room, but they’ll see. They don’t know what’ll happen in front of them, but the team has players they like.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) April 1, 2021
QB of the future:
Ron Rivera says it's not paramount they get their "QB of the future now. In Carolina, he got Cam and then built around him. "I've always thought if you could do it the other way, where you put all the other pieces around them and then go get your QB, that could be good."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera emphasizing how Curtis Samuel compliments Terry McLaurin, then also how Adam Humphries compliments both of them along with the tight ends.— David Harrison (@DHarrison82) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera says that Martin Mayhew is a bit more an 'office' guy while still getting out to scout first-hand. He likes to watch mostly off tape. #WashingtonFootball— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) April 1, 2021
.@RiverboatRonHC says initially they were going to have a wait-and-see approach in free agency but when they saw the $$ at certain positions (mentions WR/CB) but they didn't think they had a chance at. #WashingtonFootball— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) April 1, 2021
Rivera said the market was slower to develop for wide receivers and cornerbacks than they expected, allowing them to jump in for Curtis Samuel and William Jackson III: "It was a great job by Eric (Stokes) and his people."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) April 1, 2021
.@RiverboatRonHC says that he got support and approval from Dan Snyder to go hard in free agency.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) April 1, 2021
"I'm really appreciative of the support we've gotten...from Mr. Snyder." #WashingtonFootball
Next wave of free agency:
Ron Rivera says the team is going to continue to monitor who’s out there in free agency for the second wave. They know they can fill some positions through the draft, however, someone may hang around that they’re interested in— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera says the team is interested in a long-term deal with Brandon Scherff. But since he signed his tag, they haven’t talked. They’re going to pay attention to what else is happening and see how things go.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera on if there's been any further contract talks with RG Brandon Scherff: "That situation hasn't changed. We've got Brandon signed right now. ... We're most certainly interested, but we haven't talked since he signed [the franchise tag]."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) April 1, 2021
Rivera says it's "up in the air" as to where Saahdiq Charles plays, be it tackle or guard. "We'll see where he fits best for us."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 1, 2021
William Jackson III:
Rivera on William Jackson III: "It's going to add to the things we are currently doing. ... This is a dynamic football player. We're very happy to have him."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera, on if William Jackson III allows them to play more man coverage: "It gives us more of an opportunity to be diverse."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 1, 2021
[Note: Jack Del Rio has worked with a lot of corners who were primarily man corners elsewhere. Jackson isn't the first.]
Rivera is asked about William Jackson III. He said Jackson gives them the ability to play more man coverage if that's what they want. Rivera added he was initially concerned about Jackson's fit because of being so good at man, but watching more tape alleviated those concerns— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) April 1, 2021
Cleansing the timeline after the Nats news....— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) April 1, 2021
Here's Ron Rivera, on getting to see his parents post-vaccination. pic.twitter.com/E7jI3E8FBQ
For HC Ron Rivera: Vaccination = Go home and “Hug my mom”. #allthefeels— Julie Donaldson (@juliedonaldson_) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera said after getting vaccinated he went to California to visit his parents for the first time since his cancer diagnosis. Mentioned hugging his mom. Very cool. Amazing what we've all been without and been through over the last year.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) April 1, 2021
Ron Rivera values in-person time and said "the biggest disappointment" and "concern" this year is "we didn't get a chance to go to the combine and we didn't get a chance to meet in person."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 1, 2021
17 game schedule:
Ron Rivera on the 17-game schedule: "The league and the players association think it's good for the players. It's just part of the game now."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) April 1, 2021