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Ron Rivera Presser: The next step for this team is winning by 2 or 3 scores.

Ron Rivera speaks to the media on Victory Monday

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Commanders Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera

Run game:

“Well, I think a number of things. Obviously, it’s probably just a residual of having some of these guys being here a couple years, going through OTA’s, mini camp, training camp and just kind of it coming together, working with each other, playing with each other. Just kind of the light bulb going off. A number of things like that. I do think though, and I know it’s a little thing or some people might look at a little thing or it’s an excuse, but, it took a little bit for Brian Robinson to come back. We kind of showed our hand during the preseason of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to be on offense. Using that two-back tandem, I really do think that being able to commit to the run the way we have has really helped us. I think that’s a real big part of it.”

Versatility of Antonio Gibson/Curtis Samuel:

“I think you’re starting to see that more and more. I mean we got a great example from Atlanta. You see a great example of that in San Francisco. There are several other teams that are using those types of players. You can see it when people run the jet sweeps, when they’re handing the ball off to the receivers as they’re sweeping around. I mean, it’s no different as if they started in the backfield. The only difference is they got a little bit of momentum built up. It’s kind of the evolution of the offensive game. When you have guys that pose that positional quandary as to is a running back? Is he a slot receiver? Is he an outside receiver? It impacts you. Are you gonna match him up with a linebacker? Are you gonna match him up with a safety? Gonna match him with a corner? Are you matching up with a nickel?

Those are all things that play into some of the decisions that we make. Some teams take it to the extreme where they move a guy around and they put it in the quarterback’s hand to make the right call or check or adjustment because that’s the matchup they want. You see a linebacker get out of the box to cover down on a guy, well, we hand the ball to the other guy because they’re short, a linebacker in the box or linebacker goes out and covers him and they say, ‘Hey, that’s the match we want. Let’s throw the ball. So, I think that’s kinda the way it’s headed.”

Taylor Heinicke:

“It’s funny having watched the tape and going through it, there was a couple of those almost where he gets outta trouble and he’s got Terry in the right hand corner of the end zone and he puts it a little bit high. I mean, he does exactly what he needed to do, got himself in position, and then he just overthrew it. That’s one of the things that you sit there and say, that’s what he can do. That’s how he can do things. Just his movement to our right. And he threw I think it was to a sliding Terry for the first down. Those are the types of things that he does that you sit and say, wow, that’s pretty good. Then you see times when he is hanging in the pocket and he delivers the ball down field like he did to Terry on the opening play or the throw he made to John Bates for the touchdown. I mean, those things are the things that you expect him to make and he does them and so you know he is capable.”

Brian Robinson:

“Yes. There was a third down play. We ran the toss play and he got it outside and you saw him start, stop, come down, and then he went back out. And on that play, it’s that little part where he’s gotta take it outside, it wasn’t as crisp. Well now you start seeing it and you’re going, oh, there it is. And, and I was talking to Randy Jordan and Randy just got done watching him again and he said to me, he said, coach, I’m starting to see that pop back in his feet. And it was kind of interesting because that’s what I was thinking about on a couple of those plays that we saw.”

“I think a big part of it is just the physicality up front. You’re not necessarily going to win all the time, but you can’t lose so badly that there’s a push, there’s a guy coming through a crease getting vertical. That’s what you can’t do, and we’ve been fortunate that that happens a lot with our guys. Our guys do get vertical. Our guys do get into the backfield and that has helped us tremendously. The one that Daron Payne made yesterday, was a big play for us. So I think that’s part of it, is that our guys, they’re not necessarily losing at the line of scrimmage on, at the snap of the ball and they’re maintaining at the point of attack.”

Run game in the NFL:

“Yes and it’s interesting because right now, and honestly I kind of feel like this, football is cyclical. People do things, trends, I think every ten to twelve there’s a different trend, a different cycle. And what you’re seeing right now is you’re seeing these lighter, faster, defensive lines. And what happens is when you hunker in and you grind it out, it begins to wear on them. Now you’ve got to be able to stop your opponent, because if they’re one of those fleet footed offense that scores a lot of points, you don’t have time to try and make it up. But if you can keep the game close and you can grind it out and be physical and attack them at the line of scrimmaging and just wear ‘em down. What was interesting is if you look at the stats from the first half versus the second half, we only have 40 something yards rushing in the first half, and I think we had 130 something in the second half. It was a start difference, but we stuck with the run and stayed with the run and I think eventually got to ‘em.”

Offensive line:

Tyler Larsen:

“He has. And the biggest thing is just that he’s a very smart headsy football player. Been in the system since, gosh I think seven years now, eight years maybe. And so he understands that, he knows it. So making calls and checks with the line of scrimmage is good to have a veteran guy there doing that. He is stout, he is physical and he’s kind of had to work himself back into football shape. Because remember, he started the season on PUP, we brought him along, then activated him. And then when we lost our first three guys, then we put him in and he’s been going ever since and he was coming off of the achilles that he had last year.”

Scoring more points:

“Well, I just think it’s the consistency of the way you play and continue to win. The next step would be to score a few more points and not allow a few more points and instead of winning games by one score, maybe you win a few more by two or three scores. I think that’s the next evolution. More so than anything else, it’s about consistent of play and then putting a few more points up and a few more points off.”

Closee losses:

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