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Ron Rivera Presser: QB controversy in Washington? It’s about playing one game at a time

Ron Rivera speaks to the media on Victory Monday

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera spoke to the media for Victory Monday after the team beat the Green Bay Packers 23-21 yesterday at FedEx Field. Rivera offered praise all around to start the presser. He focused on Jack Del Rio’s defense only using a 4-man front against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. The defense kept 7 in coverage and didn’t allow the big plays that have killed them all season. Disciplined pass rush, and good play from linebackers Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis kept Green Bay contained for the most part.

Rivera likes the pairing of Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson in the backfield. Antonio Gibson made some big plays as a receiver as well as on the ground. Robinson was also involved in the passing game, and Rivera talked up J.D. McKissic’s versatility as well. Rivera likes the 1-2 punch of Robinson and Gibson.

Rivera was asked about the QB position to close the presser, and whether there would be any conflict in his decision if Taylor Heinicke continues to play like he did in the 2nd half, and the team continues to win, when Carson Wentz is cleared to return to action. Rivera said the team is just focused on playing one game at a time, and they would deal with that decision when the time comes. Wentz will be on IR for at least 3 more weeks and then a decision will have to be made.

Fire away:

Jack Del Rio’s Defense:


Antonio Gibson/Brian Robinson:

Success on third downs:

“Well, I think a big part has obviously been how we’ve played on first, second down, not being in third and shorts as much, but being more in a third and medium to third and long. I think that helps. Obviously, it helps with the pass rush. I think the overall development of the young players in the secondary in the back seven. I think that’s been something that’s been really good. I do like the way Jack [Del Rio] is using, the personnel groupings that we have. He does a great job of mixing those personnel groupings, whether it’s four down with two linebackers, it’s four down with one linebacker, it’s four down with two linebackers in a Buffalo, it’s four down, two linebackers and a nickel. I think being able to mix those different groups in and using them accordingly has been very good. I mean, I think he’s done a great job and kudos to what Jack and his staff have done for us as far as being so vastly improved in that area. I know it was something that he worked on and they emphasized throughout the offseason.”

Developing young DBs:

Experience and growth:

“I think this team is still has potential for growth. I mean, there are some things you go back and watch on tape and you see it. There are a couple instances, one point with the defense is that we got a couple guys that still have to understand how to fit, whether you’re fitting versus the run or you’re playing your leverage fit in coverage. Those are things that young guys have to learn and the only way they can learn that and understand is through experience is being on the field and understanding, that hey, when we’re playing this coverage, my leverage is this side, so I fit here. And if it’s run, I’ve got to play it downhill and fit there. If it’s passed, I got to stay to this side because the leverage tells me my help is inside, or my leverage tells me my help is outside. Those are things that young guys learn through experience and hopefully they’ll learn quicker and, and, and be even better at.”

Character and resiliency in the locker room:

“Well, I think it speaks well to the resilience of our guys is that just keep pounding away, keep plugging away, keep learning, growing, developing, keep helping the young guys to grow. In both those guys case, both [DT] Jonathan [Allen] and [WR] Terry [McLaurin], those are guys that want to be at the forefront. Those are guys that want the play to come to them. Whether it’s Terry, you know, doing what he did in the fourth quarter or doing what he did in the third quarter with the catch for the touchdown or simply looking at Jonathan and just the way he’s stout up front and just wants that ball run in his area. These guys set the tone and tempo and the young guys are feeding off of it. I mean, you watch the way the defensive line, how [DT] Daron [Payne] is stepping up, feeding off of Jonathan’s energy and then you see how it affects [DE] Montez [Sweat] and, and then how it affects [LB] Cole [Holcomb] all the way to [S] Kam [Curl]. And then you look on the offense side and Terry’s stepping up making plays and then Curtis [Samuel] is making plays and you get some energy and then the running game starts going. All those things work together in concert, you know, and then again, I can’t say enough about this play of special teams, you know, with Antonio [Gibson] wanting to be back there returning the first kickoff at the 30-yard line. And then our coverage the last two weeks on punt has resulted in takeaways. And those are things that as the team, if you continue to work on and continue to focus on, creates opportunities in games.”

Tress Way:

Special teams:

Taylor Heinicke vs Carson Wentz: