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Ron Rivera Presser: Last year was an awakening for Chase Young, he's really attacking his offseason

Ron Rivera answers questions at the NFL owners meetings

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Ron Rivera is at the NFL owners meetings along with other head coaches, GMs, executives, and of course the media. Today was Rivera’s turn to get behind the microphone and answer questions about the Washington Commanders approach to free agency, the Carson Wentz trade, the offseason and more.

Washington has had a very slow free agency this year, and a big part of that was the Carson Wentz trade that happened before the the new league year started. Washington is also presumably protecting the projected 3rd round compensatory pick they are expected to receive for Brandon Scherff signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Washington is looking for the right people on the right deals (bargains). They are also expecting players to be available after the draft when veterans get cut loose in place of a team’s drafted players. There is also the May 2nd compensatory pick deadline that frees up teams to sign players that would otherwise have been eligible to cancel out their existing projected comp picks.

Free Agency:

Rivera said they studied Carson Wentz’s past performances and knew what kind of potential player they were getting, and they are excited to work with him to get that player on the field for Washington. Rivera added that Wentz was a little shell shocked after getting traded for the 2nd time in two years, but said that he’s settled in now and ready to get to work. They are going to focus on protecting him, and also adding playmakers to the offense. He also talked about finding an impact player in the draft.

Carson Wentz:

Building offense around Wentz:

Rivera was asked about one of his own free agents that caused some controversy during the legal tampering period. J.D. McKissic agreed to terms with the Buffalo Bills, but ended up signing the same deal he had agreed to with Buffalo, bringing him back to Washington. Rivera said J.D. wanted to come back, and dismissed the criticism leveled at the team by Bills GM Brandon Beane. He was asked about the relationship with Beane and other people he (and Marty Hurney) had close relationships with during their time with the Carolina Panthers. Rivera simply said the relationships were okay, and moved it along to the next question.

J.D. McKissic/Buffalo Bills:

Cole Holcomb has been an improving player in Washington since being drafted in the 5th round in 2019. You can read the case for signing the now veteran LB to an extension today, and Rivera and company obviously have big plans for him going forward. Martin Mayhew mentioned that Holcomb was in consideration for the vacant middle linebacker position, and now Rivera is confirming that he could get that nod after spending time evaluating the team since the season ended.

Cole Holcomb:

Offseason workouts will begin for Washington on April 18th, and will continue with different sessions in May and June. The team will hold training camp in July, but Rivera didn’t give many details about it. There have been reports that Richmond could still be in play, and the possibility of joint practices (the Bills have reportedly discussed them with the Commanders). Rivera pointed out that, with the NFL reducing the preseason to 3 games, guys need more opportunities to compete.

Offseason workouts:

Training camp:

Joint practices:

Chase Young infamously skipped OTAs last offseason to film commercials and “make money”

This was a big red flag for a lot of fans going into Young’s followup season after winning the NFL’s Defensive Rooke of the Year Award. The defense was a massive disappointment early in the season and fingers were pointed everywhere. Young and Montez Sweat kept catching heat from fans, media, and even coaches; but their play didn’t do anything to shut their critics up. Young tore his ACL and has been rehabbing ever since.

Rivera said that last season was like an awakening for Young, and a realization of the realities of the NFL. He has been impressed with how Young has been attacking the offseason and his recovery. Rivera says that the 3rd year edge rusher told him that he will be at OTAs, and Rivera expects him to be there as one of the young leaders on the team.

Chase Young:

Overtime rules:

Winning changes perception:

Third year in Washington:

Diversity in coaching:

Sammis Reyes:

Head athletic trainer:

Late round QB:

"I will say this: if there’s a guy sitting there, and I know we don’t have a (fifth-round pick), but if we did have a fifth, the question would be, does he fit that long-term, later in the years guy? But then if there’s another position that we like better, we’re not going to take a guy just to take him.”