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Ron Rivera Presser: We won’t make a decision on Carson Wentz, Chase Young, or other injured players until Friday

Ron Rivera speaks to the media after today’s practice

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera answered questions after today’s practice in the bubble. QB Carson Wentz will not be activated today. Washington is dealing with several injured players, and will need to evaluate everyone before activating Wentz, or Wes Schweitzer who was designated to return to practice this morning. Trai Turner(ankle/knee) and Antonio Gibson(foot) suffered injuries on Sunday, and the team still has to decide when Chase Young(knee) will return to the field after being activated from IR last week. The plan for Young is to work him harder over the next two days to see how he responds, and then make a decision on playing Sunday. Benjamin St-Juste is dealing with a mid-ankle sprain, and he could miss more time.

Ron Rivera

Injury report:

Carson Wentz injury:

“Well, we’re gonna continue to evaluate and go through some things. You know, we’ve got some personnel issues and everything that we’ve gotta kind of sort through so we really won’t make any decisions until Friday on guys.”

Taylor Heinicke improved from last year:

“I believe so. I mean, you look at some of the decisions, he’s making some quicker decisions, he’s getting the ball out of his hands. He is not taking the sacks and the hits that he took last year. He’s playing a smarter, quicker game which has been to his benefit and to ours as well.”

Heinicke’s development:

“A little more maturity. Every now and then when he does throw a high-risk pass, that’s exactly what it is. And with the high risk though, does come big rewards and he’s done that a couple times and again, you wanna see him limit those things and control that and really just take what’s given.”

The secondary:

“Well, I think they’ve done a really nice job with the development of our young guys. I think [Defensive Backs Coach] Chris [Harris] and {Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Richard [Rodgers] and {Assistant Defensive Backs/Nickel Coach Brent] Coach Vieselmeyer and [Defensive Quality Control Coach] Cristian [Garcia] have all really just kind of worked with that group and you start seeing the growth and development of the young guys. Playing [CB] Christian Holmes was, was really a decision that, here’s a young guy that’s got some potential, got the kind of size you look for in a corner and he had a pretty decent day. So, we felt pretty good about that. And we’ve got some other guys that deserve opportunities and it’s all about their growth and development.”

Preparing for Daniel Jones and the Giants run game:

“I think so. I mean, when you watch some of the stuff that they do with Daniel Jones and knowing some of the things that he’s done in his past against us, I think it really does help us. I will say one of the things that I was real appreciative of last week is really the adjustments we made going into the second half. I thought Jack and the staff did a nice job adjusting to the way they were playing with Marcus. Especially in that last drive when we eventually did get the turnover. There were a couple times when they tried to run quarterback keepers and we were all over it. I think that’s important because it will carry over to this week.”

Saquon Barkley:

“Well, I will say this, the back we faced in Atlanta is a pretty good example, so it really is. But, I don’t disagree. Saquon is really a special football player. He really is. He is back 100 percent. I know last year he was getting back to form and you could see it this year he’s back. We have to account for him as well. So we’ve just gotta make sure that if we’re paying attention to the quarterback on one aspect, the other side of it has to pay attention to their responsibilities. And that’s really what it comes down to is we do our responsibilities.”

MetLife Stadium’s bad turf affecting the decision to play Chase Young this week:

“Well that won’t, yeah, if he’s available that that’s not gonna be a concern. But, the thing about the turf, and I think the thing people gotta understand is all the turfs are different. They really are there. There are some that as far as the grass are concerned, there are some sand based, some are are long roots, some are short rooted, and so they’re all gonna react differently and you’ve just gotta understand that. But big part of it too is wearing the right shoes. There’s a guy that tells the players that based on their size, based on their position and their weight, this is the type of shoe they should wear for that type of surface. And so you would hope guys kind of follow that. That’s one thing that could help limit some of those things that happen. I do know MetLife is a little different type turf and, and it’s a little softer, so the shoe reacts a little differently and so again, wearing the right equipment is important.”

Making adjustments when playing on turf vs. grass:

“Well, one thing we try to do is at least get inside once just so our guys get used to it and get a little, little bit of feel for being on turf as opposed to grass. The grass is a different type surface. It’s not as fast as being on the turf, so you wanna at least create some opportunity so they get a feel for running on it because it does change the timing a little bit.”

Making the run game work:

“I that’s one of the things that we do look at is and listening to Scott [Turner] and the offensive coaches game plan is trying to determine what concepts best for their style of defense, what type of front are they playing and what type of coverage do they match with those fronts and what personnel groupings they’re in. Because of the different personnel groupings, you’re gonna know that if they’re playing with five bigs that their run fits are gonna be a little bit differently. If they’re playing with four, uh, four man front is a little different and then the coverages that they’re playing, how many times are they gonna try and get that extra guy in the box? How many times are they gonna try and stop you with just six in the box or seven in the box depending on what personnel grouping you’re out in? And that’s gonna dictate what concepts you’re gonna want to use, whether it’s a gap scheme, whether it’s a zone, you know, something like that. Pin and pull, whatever you want it to be, it has to match up to what they’re doing.”

Using more 12 and 13 personnel in recent weeks:

“It’s a little bit to do with the identity thing. Knowing that we wanna run the ball and be physical with it but we have had some success with our 11 personnel as well.”

Kam Curl:

“No, I just think it just kind of covers it all. I mean, he’s a very bright young man and he gets it. He understands concepts, he sees things that it may take another guy, a second or two to register and then, you know, dissect it and then react to it. I mean, he’s a guy that’s got a good feel for the game. He really does.”

Importance of the interior rush:

“For me personally, I’ve always had that feel that the interior guys are very important. When I got the opportunity to play back in the day and I had to move to middle when [Former Bears Linebacker] Mike Singletary got hurt playing behind [Former Bear Defensive Linemen] Dan Hampton and William Perry and Steve McMichael, that was a treat. I mean, you know, those three guys, they took up a lot of space and all I really had to do was run and not miss tackles. So I’ve always felt that tackles are important, kind of a philosophy I had. And in my last place with the two guys that we had [Former Carolina Panthers DT] Kawann Short and Star [Lotulelei] two guys that allowed, [Panthers LB’s] Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly to run. That’s what you want is your linebackers can get on their horse and go make plays for you. And then when it came to pass rush, they get that middle push so it’s hard for the quarterback to step up. And when you get to that situation now, that’s where your ends really come into play.”

Jahan Dotson:

“I think a lot of that has to do with what we’re doing. It was mentioned that we’re playing a little bit more 12 and 13 personnel, and that’s by design. So it’s going to cut some of those opportunities for Jahan. He’s still important and very integral into what we’re doing and he’s developing and he’s growing and we all know he’s got the potential to be a very, very good player for us. And it’s just a matter of time before you see him start getting some more opportunities.”

Rookies stepping up and contributing to big games:

“Well, I think big part has to do with their learning. Kudos to our scouting department, you know, the last few years the guys that we’ve brought in, smart bright football players, guys that get it and understand it. And guys that will get on the field a lot sooner and so far we’ve been able to do that so kudos to them. I think them going out on the road and spending time and taking the opportunity to visit with their coaches, their counselors, whoever they can talk with to try and get as much information about how quickly they learn. That helps us and again, being able to do that. Secondly, I think our coaches’ willingness to play young guys, put young guys out on the field. I mean, if you can get young guys early in their career and get ‘em on the field that that helps impact your salary cap, you know, now you can play young guys and it kind of changes the way you build your roster. And the more young guys, more of your own guys that you draft that you can keep and put on the field, I think that helps as well. So we’ve got to be really good to be really diligent with making sure we get guys that do understand, learn quickly, don’t have to get a lot of reps, have some position flex that we can move them around and put ‘em in different positions. That helps a lot, It really does.”

Taylor Heinicke

Throws he’s making this year due to his familiarity with the offense:

“There’s a couple that stand out and I think it’s probably the deep over routes to Terry. Again, there’s a lot of throws last year, same route that I just wasn’t completing to him. Whether it’s that or deep balls, nine balls to Terry that I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at. Again, there’s a lot more improvement to be done, but those are some balls I’m hitting this year, that I wasn’t hitting last year.”

Hitting those throws:

“I think it’s just more familiarity and just kind of trusting the process. This offseason, I’ve worked a lot on my footwork and arm strength. I think that’s definitely helped me out. But like I just said, there’s definitely room for improvement there.”

Going up against DTs Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne in practice:

“Yeah, it’s not fun. Those guys, if they don’t slip through, they’re pushing those offense linemen back in your lap. And it’s tough as a quarterback to really kind of keep your eyes down field, read the defense while there’s stuff kind of flying in front of you. So, I feel for all those quarterbacks that they’re going against, two really good defensive tackles and when you have defensive ends like the way we do too, it’s tough for those quarterbacks.”

Jonathan Allen:

“I know he’s the leader of our team. He’s a pro’s pro. Him and Terry both, they carry themselves in a very professional way. They come to work every day and work hard and they wanna lead the guys and they wanna win. So, when you have two guys like that, that are leaders of the team, captains and they just got two big contracts, they could’ve easily shut it down. But, they’re still hungry. So, to have two guys like that, it’s very special.”

Jahan Dotson:

“Yeah, obviously we want to give him the ball more, but we’re running the ball like we are doing and what Terry’s doing, some guys aren’t gonna get the ball. I kind of said this several weeks ago, when you have a bunch of weapons like this, someone’s gonna get shorthanded and from week-to-week it might be one person or another. This year for the most part, it’s kind of been the tight ends. But again, Logan showed up against Houston. Every week there’s gonna be a guy that doesn’t really get the touches that he deserves. But, that’s a good part about having all the weapons that we have.”

Division game on Sunday:

“Yeah, the guys are excited. Again, when you get to this time of the year and you’re in the playoff hunt, every game’s really exciting. It means something. I’ve been on the other end. I wasn’t playing at the time, but I’ve been in locker rooms where you get to this part of the season, you’re already out of the playoffs and it’s not fun. You come to the facility every day, it’s harder to work hard when you don’t have much to play for. So, the fact that we put ourselves in a position that we kind of dictate our own destiny, it’s a lot of fun and guys are excited for it.”

Not scrambling as much this year:

“Yeah, it’s one of those things that kind of just happens. I don’t really try and think about running. It’s kinda one of those things where if things break down, then yeah, I’ll go for it. I will say that there’s been a couple instances in previous games where I feel like I should’ve. But again, that’s something that you just keep on working on and it’s not something that you want to be thinking about pre-snap. It’s something that kind of just happens. So, it’s something that I’ll definitely keep in mind for sure.”

Falcons victory Jordans:

“Yeah, I’ve been looking at these for a long time. There was a lot of other black and red ones that are obviously really cool, but I already have a number of them. So the fact that I’ve had my eyes on these and they had the black and red in them, I decided to pull the pin.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t really anticipating this and it getting this much traction. But, it’s a cool deal, especially when you can get some of the guys on the team to kind of buy into it and have some fun with it. It’s really cool. Something to look forward to every week.”

Offensive line getting victory Jordans:

“They’re excited. Very appreciative. Again, those guys deserve it. They’re working their ass off. So again, we got them the Eagles ones, we got them some Cherry Red 11’s after the Texans game. So, hopefully we can just keep giving some shoes. That means we’re winning.”

Brian Robinson big hats:

“You know, I kind of spoke into his ear about it and hopefully he can kind of get some money from it. Because he did put it viral kind of. Yeah, I saw that that Washington Caps player with a big hat on too, so it seems like it’s catching on and hopefully he can get some money from it.”

Risky vs safe throws:

“I think I’ve been better from last year. Not to say that I’m doing good at it. The one last week against Atlanta was just awful. I knew that they were gonna give me a lot of depth because they didn’t want to give up a touchdown. So it was just a really bad decision. That was a high risk, low reward. That’s the things that you’re trying to get out of. So again, if I can get rid of those plays and just keep on being aggressive and not turn the ball over, I think we’ll be alright.”


“Yeah, and again, it’s one of those things where it’s, hey, we maybe design a play for Curtis or Terry and if we don’t get the look that we want, the quicker I can get the ball down to those guys with more space, let them do their thing, the better we’re gonna be. So, the biggest thing is that stand in the pocket with the ball for a long period of time. Maybe taking a sack, maybe getting a holding penalty, get the ball in my hand, let those guys do the thing and, and stay ahead of the chains.”

Running game limiting his throwing opportunities:

“I don’t care, man. As long as we’re winning, we’re good. I could throw the ball seven times or 50 times, I don’t care. As long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters. If I only throw the ball 12 times and we’re running the ball, we win, it makes that life easier on me. I feel like whatever we do, whatever Scott [Turner] chalks up, I’m very comfortable with and very confident in and the guys are, they’re buying in too. So, it’s a good deal right now.”

Logan Thomas

Victory Jordans from Taylor Heinicke:

Sam Cosmi


Practice Updates


Benjamin St-Juste:

Trai Turner replacement:

Wes Schweitzer:

Dax Milne:

Chase Young: