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Ron Rivera Presser: We need 11 guys doing one thing, not one guy trying to do all 11

Ron Rivera speaks to the media after practice

NFL: Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera spoke to the media(video was not provided by the team) after today’s practice to talk about Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Injuries are adding up, and the team ruled out two defensive linemen. DT Daniel Wise(high ankle sprain) and DE Casey Toohill(concussion) will both miss their first games this season and continue to test Washington’s DL depth. Rivera said the team will miss Toohill’s athleticism and range. DE James Smith-Williams is also questionable with an abdominal strain. Rivera talked about backup DE Shaka Toney’s quickness, athleticism, and ability to run down a QB.

Washington also has Kam Curl coming back after dealing with a thumb injury that required surgery before the season started. Rivera talked about Curl’s impact on the secondary, and the defense in general. Darrick Forrest replaced him in the starting lineup the last two weeks, and will continue to have a role going forward. Curl gives the team a bigger body for the Buffalo Nickel package they like to run. He mentioned rookie Percy Butler who is more of a free safety-type safety when compared to guys like Curl and Forrest who can come down into the box and help vs the run.

Rivera also talked about pass rush discipline, and everything that comes with that. On Wednesday he said you need discipline to stop a QB like Jalen Hurts down, and talked about it again today. This has been a problem that was highlighted last year as Washington’s defense looked lost and selfish last year. Much like the communication issues that constantly get cited for the secondary’s penchant for giving up big plays, this is a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away with these players and coaches.

Ron Rivera

Injury Report:

Casey Toohill:

“It is a big deal because of Casey’s athleticism. I mean, if a big, long rangey guy. You like those types on the end because they have, he’s got some lateral quickness that would really help against a quarterback like this.”

Kam Curl:

“I think what it does too, is it gets us back to the original Buffalo we had going into the season. Obviously, with he and [S Darrick Forrest] both out on the field at the same time, what it gives is a bigger presence in the body. A bigger body and a bigger presence as far as safety is concerned in the box. So, you feel good about that. And then with those two guys, you could basically mirror left or right if you get to.”

Buffalo package:

“Well, I think the biggest thing is the type of person you bring down into it. You know, whether it’s [S Darrick Forrest] now, or it’s going to be Kam you have a guy that’s a dynamic physical player. I mean they’re different body type than Percy. Percy’s more of a long rangey free safety type as opposed to DeFoe who’s a stout powerful guy. And Kam was just a naturally physical guy. You have guys that pack it in, can help with the run, but you’d have the athleticism versatility to help guard against the throws, the passes, the matchups that people try to create, you know, when they have these athletic tight ends.”

Curl’s impact on the defense:

“Yeah, it will. I mean, to be blunt about it. Yes. Because again it’s really the body type and Percy, you know, although he’s a good young player with some athleticism, that’s not what he does. With DeFoe, the ability to come down and match in the box. He has that ability. And when you have an opportunity to bring Kam back in, put him in, you know, where he’s comfortable it’ll impact us.”

Shaka Toney:

“I think probably his overall game. There’s been some really good stuff that you’ve seen, which you do like that because of his explosiveness and his ability to get off the line of scrimmage. He can be impactful using his quickness and athleticism. His ability to run a quarterback down is also there. So, can he have an impact? I think so if we get him in the right packages at the right situation.”

Cole Turner:

Armani Rogers:

“There’s a couple of blocks he made in the preseason that really stood out and you see that, and you see that, you know, your second and third tight ends have to be contributors. And right now, because Cole really been focusing on getting back out on the field, more so as a tight end, we haven’t really had a chance to integrate him. So, you know, we’ve been working with him now, but it’s one of those things that you don’t get the chance to work the techniques and develop all through training camp’s going to slow your ability to integrate and be part of what we want to do as special teams.”

Eagles WR A.J. Brown:

“Well, you know, I always lean on to think that there’s only one ball and, you know, there’s potentially six guys that can handle it. So, you know, it’s really how much of the focal point do you want him to be? And, you know, made comment earlier, he’s been targeted 21 times and the next closest is 11. So you know that he has an influence and an impact on their game plan the way they do it. From what you’ve seen is when you see certain things that are happening you know why he targeted AJ. A great example is he gets pressed if he’s the widest receiver out there and he sees single high and he sees a press, you should know where the ball’s going. So, those are things that you have to be really good against in terms of disguising, knowing when to walk up and press when to press bail, when to show the single high right away. I mean, it’s part of what they do because first it is a common sense, if you’re an offensive coordinator, you’re putting someone in your plan, the first thing you tell everybody is they’re gonna single press our widest receiver who’s our best player, our best receiver then we gotta take a shot so, Jalen [Hurts] gets that. If he’s the single receiver and that guy’s 10 yards off, we’re throwing a hitch or a slant. I mean, so that’s how it impacts him because he is, you know, their best receiver.”

Cole Holcomb:

“Same thing. I think knowing that Cam’s there, knowing how he and Cam communicate well, that’s a whole different ballgame. I mean now you’re talking about a guy that he has a comfort level of relationship with in terms of, this is their third year together. There’s some things that they’ll be able to do and really work together on. I think this will help settle Cole down. In all honesty, I thought Cole was playing a little anxious, you know, a little bit of a hurry, trying to make a lot of plays. I actually talked to him this week and just, Hey, gotta relax and stop feeling like you have to do everything. I kind of use one of my favorite quotes on not just him, but the team it’s basically, you know, we need 11 guys doing one thing, not one guy trying to do all 11. I just told him, I said, you guys gotta understand this is a team game and let the guys around you do their job. The play doesn’t care who makes it, you do your job and you are where supposed to, the play will come to you eventually.”

Disciplined pass rush:

“I mean, part of it is also understanding where you fit in terms of that rush. You know, if you’re the A gap rusher, you’re the guy that’s going to get doubled. You’re the guy that’s gotta be in control. Because again, you’re the one guy that really is in best position to be able to try and work off it and get to get him if he tries to make the move. But if you’re a B gap rusher and you get to a certain point and you’re winning, and then you go to counter, well, when you counter, you have to counter at the right time. You can’t counter when you’re a little wide and out of position because if you do, you start to counter, you go from your B gap to your A gap, you just expose that B gap as a running line. That’s an example of being disciplined. It’s like if I have my defensive end is gonna run the hoop. In other words, he’s going up and around. I know I can’t do the same thing, go up and around cause if I do guess where he steps, he steps up and if he’s gonna go up and around, I know this, I know that I come back down inside, he’s gonna step up. So that’s understanding and feeling discipline.”

Roster building with large QB salaries:

“Yep and that’s one of the things that you have to really take into account. Then once you make that decision which they’ll come into, they’re gonna come into that decision and what they’re gonna have to do is they’re gonna have to decide, okay, which positions can they live without? And just say that’s gonna be young guys. That’s gonna be young guys. That’s gonna be a young guy. So, we’re in a pretty good position. I mean, I like our guys, I like the play makers we have and the key there is they’re all young, except for Terry in terms of contracts. That’s how you gotta look at it. You gotta say okay, where can we be really young. Running backs is another one that you have to really take a step back and look at and say, wow, we got some good young players, we just have to be able to manage that as well. So, there’s a lot of like you said, there’s a lot of salary cap questions that have to be answered when you have, or don’t have that quarterback salary to deal with.”

Brian Robinson:

Jeff Zgonina

DL injuries/depth:

“Next man up, that’s what it is. That’s why we practice through camp and everything. And we just prepare like we do all the time and we just keep plugging along.”

Jalen Hurts:

Disciplined play vs Hurts/the Eagles:

“What we’re not supposed to be disciplined? I don’t understand what you’re saying. We have a game plan installed and we’re gonna follow our gameplan.”

Daniel Wise:

“Well he’s here cause he’s a good football player. I mean, that’s why we have him. We saw something in him. He does good things for us and that’s why he is here.”

Daron Payne:

“Daron is an exceptional athlete and a football player. I mean, he’s been building ever since I’ve been here. He’s been building and building and building and now it’s starting to show more. He’s a really good football player.”

“I thought he was doing good things last year. It’s not like he just, all of a sudden appeared. I mean, if you watch tape over the years, he’s been getting better and better. Getting older, getting a better understanding of the game. All his hard work is coming to fruition.”

Ryan Kerrigan:

“Ryan brings a whole different set of eyes for me. I was a defensive tackle, he’s a defensive end. I think it’s a good combination we have in the room right now. He sees things differently than I did. I’m learning from him as he’s learning from me for the inside. So, everything’s been real smooth and it’s been a good relationship.”

Montez Sweat:

“His play has been outstanding. He doesn’t have the numbers yet, but once he breaks through, I see a landslide. I think he works very hard. He’s a student of the game. He’s able to ask questions that’s how I know he’s studying. I know he’s into it. I mean, he has always been that way. And again, once it clicks, you know, he’ll start rolling.”

“He has not shown any frustration or pressing. He understands he’s doing some good things. He understands that it’s gonna come. He’s not at all and nor are we pressing him.”

John Ridgeway:

“I knew quite a bit because he is a rookie. So, we just had the Combine a few months ago and I spent some time with him there in the train station. Got to know him. He’s a big kid. He’s learning behind the rest of the guys. We got a bunch of new guys, but behind the guys that have been here of course. He is picking it up fast. He’s a smart kid, big body. I see him being good for us down the road. The more he learns the faster he’ll play. I’ve known him since the Combine. We have a mutual college coach, this guy was on the staff when I played, now he was a head coach at Illinois State so we had a little connection there. So we’re both from Illinois. So, there you go.”

Practice Updates

Chase Young:

Brian Robinson:

Kam Curl

Side field