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Ron Rivera Presser: “We’re looking for a little bit of a spark, something different”

Ron Rivera speaks to the media after today’s practice

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera started off today’s presser by explaining his reasoning for going back to Carson Wentz as the starter for Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns. He pulled Taylor Heinicke in the 4th quarter against the San Francisco 49ers last week, and will now go back to the QB that he traded two 3rd round picks for in March. Rivera said he wanted a little bit of a spark, and something different, which he hopes to get from Carson Wentz. Rivera said he is more comfortable in Washington’s offense, and you could see that when he came into the game vs the 49ers. Rivera said Wentz handled the pressure from their defense, and he got the ball out and his decision-making was quick. He also said Wentz had an opportunity to get a reset, and heal up while he was on IR and then QB2 after returning to the active roster.

Ron Rivera

Injury report:

Carson Wentz:

“Well, I think the biggest thing is he’s more comfortable with what we’re doing. That was evident in the game in spite of the fact that they knew we were gonna throw it. They kept coming and I thought he handled those situations very, very well. He got the ball out a couple times, got it out to where they needed to be thrown. He threw some really nice balls. His decision making was very quick. So, I just think that now he’s had a little bit more of an opportunity to see the rest of the offense, feel the rest of the offense. And I think that’s a big part of it. The other part I think is, he got a little bit of a reset. He missed several games. He had an opportunity to heal up to, to look and feel better. I think that’s exactly where he is right now.”

QB decision:

“I thought about those things. I thought about his ability to make certain throws as well. I think that’s a big part of why he’s here obviously is because we believe he can throw the ball down field and make those long deep throws on the outs and on the seven routes. Those things are a big part of what we do as an offense.”

Taylor Heinicke:

Explosive plays:

“Well, the biggest thing, and the only real thing that got us a couple times was we gave a couple big explosives that hurt us and we had contained most of those for a while. And so that’s something that we can’t allow to happen. I thought again, for the most part, there were some good things, a lot of good things that we did defensive, but probably the biggest thing that stood out was the fact that we allowed a few explosives that were touchdowns and we hadn’t done that in a while.”

“They’re very correctable. I mean, the jet sweep, we didn’t set the edge as tight as we needed to force it to stay inside. We got stretched a little bit. We had a linebacker get cut off and pulled down and we had a safety in a corner basically in the same crease and that’s a recipe for disaster. And so we know we can do better than that. And then as a safety, one of the deep throws to the tie in, we bid up and they had two guys there that could have made the play.”

Playoff pressure:

“Yeah, I mean, we wanna win both of these obviously to get into the playoffs and that’s a part of it. I think that’s also part of the reason behind it. I mean, the last three games we are 0-2-1 and so looking for a little something extra to give us a little something to get over the hump. And it’s important, especially with these last two games that we wanna win.”

Antonio Gibson:

“Knee slash foot. No, I mean, he’s dealing with both of ‘em,. It happened in the game and that’s why we took him out of the game and, and put Dax back there to returned the ball. That’s why Jonathan Williams finished up the game for us. Both those backs were pretty sore coming into the game for the most part. Once we got to the end of the game, we felt just gotta be smart with these young guys. And so we took them out and put Jonathan in and Jonathan did the job that we thought he would.”

“No, not a lot of concern. I mean, we’ll see how he is tomorrow. I mean that’s the thing that we have to understand. It’s never about now it’s always about how he is later in the week. So, as we get further in the week, then the concern really happens. But right now, no, just watching him get his treatments and doing things he needs to do. We’ll see how he is.”

Terry McLaurin’s chemistry with Wentz:

“I think the biggest thing more than anything else is now that I think he’s more comfortable with what we do and how we do it. An opportunity to see how things are going, have a feel for the rest of the offense. I think it’ll help him as we go through this.”

Offensive line adjustments with a different QB:

“Well, I think one of the things that obviously and what I said yesterday is really you get into a certain point of the game where they can pin their ears back and go, it makes it hard and then you also gotta consider who you were playing against. It wasn’t as if we were playing the 32nd ranked defense. I mean we were playing a pretty dog on good defense, that’s for sure so sometimes things happen. But the shift back to Carson really is something the guys will have to get used to. Just the way the cadence goes. It’s probably the first and foremost thing. And then secondly is again, understanding what he’s gonna do and how he can do it with the ball. I’d like to believe that him getting the ball out as quick as he did, going through his progressions like he did in those couple of series that he had gives these guys positive, okay, he’s comfortable, he gets it and so we can adjust and adapt and I think they will.”

Practice Updates

Chase Young:

Antonio Gibson:

Carson Wentz: