The preseason is over and now the tough decisions need to be made. Ron Rivera said he will be meeting with coaches, scouts, and the two Martys to determine the last few spots on the roster that are up for grabs. He said there were 4 spots that were pretty open going into last night’s game against the Ravens. After the game two more spots became a little less clear so they have 6 positions open. Rivera said the big thing is getting the number of offensive and defensive linemen the team plans on keeping, and then the rest of the roster becomes clearer.
Another thing the team has to look at is how likely are they to get the guys they cut, and want to keep, on the practice squad. The team monitors interest in their players around the league to determine if it’s a risk to try to pass them to waivers. Rivera said one player has interest from other teams, and Ben Standig has previously reported that TE Sammis Reyes has other teams intrigued. The pro scouts will also give Rivera a list of players from around the league that are potential cuts. An advantage this year over last year is there were 3 preseason games, and there is more tape on players available. Rivera said he won’t make changes just to make them, they will add or cut players to make the team better.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins has been a big topic of discussion among fans this year(and the last few years). He had a pretty bad miss that he took full responsibility for last night. Ron RIvera says he is as comfortable as he can be with Hopkins. He said it’s not a problem until it’s a problem and they are going to ride with him for now. Rivera noted that he got hot at the end of last year (when there was talk of bringing in competition for him).
PRESS CONFERENCE: Head Coach Ron Rivera, Speaks to the Media https://t.co/nRXpuIGvoP— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera said injuries last year at the QB position — they cycled through 4 different starters — will be a consideration as he and his staff determine how many QBs to keep on the 53 this year: pic.twitter.com/g1O8Dpni0c— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
53-man roster cuts:
Ron Rivera said he met with the coaches this morning and will meet with the executive brain trust, including GM Martin Mayhew and EVP Marty Hurney, later this afternoon about the 53-man roster— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) August 29, 2021
Some things Rivera is considering with roster cuts coming up: how deep is each position? Does the last guy on the roster have the potential to develop the way they way? Either way, Rivera said Washington isn't going to make change for the sake of it.— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWFT) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera said their two drafted rookie edge rushers, William Bradley-King and Shaka Toney, have been "really good," but they'd like to add a veteran to that room.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
You have to be really good with your practice squad decisions, Rivera said. They're not just developmental guys. They're players who you need to believe can help you on the game day roster if you would need them— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWFT) August 29, 2021
Asked Ron what it's like when he exposes a player he likes on the way to trying to get him on the practice squad. He attempts to "gather as much info as we can, even if it is just scuttlebutt" in terms of what other teams are poking around his guys #Scuttlebutt— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) August 29, 2021
Rivera says Washington pays attention to media/social media reports about players on his roster to see what interest levels are elsewhere. Some of that can lead to trades. Cool to hear a coach admit the truth, many NFL folks pretend they dont pay attention— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 29, 2021
Rivera explains a bit of the process with gagging whether a player might clewe waivers. They hear things and hear directly from team. They also track social media.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) August 29, 2021
Says they've heard from teams on one specific current player.
Ron Rivera: "Saahdiq [Charles] has progressed very well. One thing he's shown us is he has position flex..."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera highlighted a number of players that grew this offseason, among them Saahdiq Charles and Cam Sims— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera said he'd 'love to keep 10' offensive linemen but he also includes the practice squad in the numbers. That provides flexibility— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 29, 2021
Rivera on the offensive line: "You'd love to keep 10, especially in light of the extra game. Last year, we had 16 offensive linemen, that's with the practice squad."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 29, 2021
Rivera says first thing they have to do is settle on how many guys they want to keep on the OL and DL. Then he said "everything else falls into place."— John Keim (@john_keim) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera's full answer about his comfort level in going into the season with Dustin Hopkins as their kicker: pic.twitter.com/pGNs9i2HZ5— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera asked how comfortable he is sticking with Dustin Hopkins: "I'm as comfortable as I can be right now. It's that old saying, 'It's not a problem until it's a problem.' We're going to go with him, we're gonna ride with him, mostly because he got hot late last year."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
Rivera pointed out Hopkins' hot finish as a reason he feels comfortable. In the last 6 games of 2020, Hopkins made 13 of 14 FGs; his % ranked 6th among kickers with at least 10 FG attempts during that time (and 8th among PKs w/at least 5 attempts). @ESPNStatsInfo— John Keim (@john_keim) August 29, 2021
Other team's potential roster cuts:
Ron Rivera said they'll get a list sometime tomorrow from their personnel staff of projected cuts from other teams "and if there are any guys that intrigue us, we're going to follow up on that."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
Rivera said they will compile a list of projected cuts from other teams. The good thing this year as opposed to last year: Can look at game tape from the preseason. Will help possibly sign guys from elsewhere...— John Keim (@john_keim) August 29, 2021
Rivera on picking up other players: "We're not going to change just to make change. We'll do it because we believe it's going to help us."— John Keim (@john_keim) August 29, 2021
Would imagine that concern may be partially driven by the fact that his top two guys off the bench at defensive end are both injured right now.— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera cites Tampa & Tennessee + Nate Kaczor's situation as reasons he's still concerned overall.— Chris Russell AKA The Rooster (@Russellmania621) August 29, 2021
Says there's a few hardcore holdouts on #WFT that won't get vaccinated.
Ron Rivera asked about the increase in vaccination rate for the team and league. He said he's pleased "to a degree, but we've had a few guys that have held out and really dug in their heels a bit."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
As of last Tuesday, Washington had 90% of its players at least partially vaxed.
Rivera Says feels better about vaccine #'s but "we have a few guys who have held out and dug in their heels a little bit. That's the concern." Says fear is being told on a Sun morning that some guys won't be available b/c either tested positive or are now contract tracing.— John Keim (@john_keim) August 29, 2021
Rivera likes the guys Washington has at LB. As the staff works through that position, position flex will play a key role.— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWFT) August 29, 2021
Player improvement this summer:
Ron Rivera was asked to identify some players who seemed to really take a tangible step this offseason. His list: Saahdiq Charles, Wes Martin, Logan Thomas, Cam Sims, Chase and Montez— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) August 29, 2021
Rivera can think of one or two players at every position who benefited from a more traditional offseason and camp. Logan Thomas is one of the better examples of that. He was already good last year, but the extra time has helped elevate his game.— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWFT) August 29, 2021
Roster battles before/after Ravens game:
For the "preseason doesn't matter" crowd, this is courtesy of Ron Rivera: pic.twitter.com/oI1awM6gUR— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2021
Ron Rivera said there were about "four spots" that were completely open heading into Saturday's preseason finale and then "two more" opened up.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 29, 2021
"Six positions were impacted last night," Rivera said.