Ron Rivera got another chance to explain what happened on Thursday Night Football. The Washington Commanders were 6-point favorites and lost 40-20. Rivera was asked if there would be any coaching changes after their third straight loss. He said there are still 12 games to go, and he’s not making any changes right now. Rivera’s own job security has been in question with new ownership evaluating everyone, and yesterday’s comments and performance put him firmly on the hot seat.
LIVE: Coach Rivera speaks to the media https://t.co/M6NVCU52i7— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) October 6, 2023
No coaching staff changes:
Ron Rivera said he doesn't expect to make any changes to the coaching staff.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) October 6, 2023
No. No. What? Game five. We’ve got 12 left to play. There’s plenty of football left and we haven’t had an opportunity to finish working on things that I talked about last night. We still got several things to go through.
Ron Rivera addressing the media. On Emmanuel Forbes, said they've got to continue stressing for him to work his technique. Will continue to work with him on that— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) October 6, 2023
Ron Rivera, on the balance in letting young players develop vs. not putting rest of team at risk: "I think doing what we did with Emmanuel was kind of the indicator that we can't go through this anymore. Now's the time."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) October 6, 2023
(They benched Forbes for Danny Johnson late in the game.)
Well, I think one of the things that we’ve got to continue to do with him and continue to stress is that work your technique, work your technique, work your technique. The young man has a tremendous skillset, little all over the place with his technique, work his technique. We’ll continue to work with him just like we will with all of our young guys. You know, we really believe that a lot of these young guys have opportunities and ability. We just got to continue to work with them.
You know, that’s one of the things that as we were going through training camp, we saw certain things that that told us he’s getting it. He’s doing the things that you would like him to do. We saw it in some of the practices. We saw it in some of the preseason games, those little detailed things that he was getting better at and he’s got to continue to clean those things up, and he’s got to be more disciplined and use the techniques that we’re teaching them.
l think doing what we did with Emmanuel was kind of the indicator that we can’t go through this anymore. Now it’s time. We have to continue to put the guys out there that we believe are going to get it done the right way.
Changes on defense:
Ron Rivera said some of the defensive adjustments on the table are looking at the choices in play-calls, giving some players liberties with their technique or making them play certain techniques.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) October 6, 2023
Rivera said multiple times that the staff needs to look at how they are putting their players in position to make plays. Also mentioned that it's disappointing the way the defense has played with trying to do more than they should— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) October 6, 2023
Well, I’m a little disappointed, more so than I am surprised. I just think that some of the things that we have to do is we have to play with a little bit more discipline. We’re going to stop trying to do more than we need to and do our jobs. Probably the basic thing that goes to it, and as I said, we’re taking a look at some of the things that we’re doing with them. Are we truly putting them in the best position to make plays? That’s the thing that we have to look at and go through the next day.
Focusing on creating turnovers leading to explosive plays?:
It could be. I mean, that’s a guess right there as to as what Jack emphasizes causes. But as you said though, when you’re trying to jump routes, when you’re trying to make plays, you’re trying to do more than you need to, those unfortunate things are going to happen. You know, you try to jump around and the guy makes a catch and next thing you know, it’s explosive play. You go to secure a tackle, you miss a tackle that turns into an explosive play. Again, there’s some individual things that need to be cleaned up, guys trying to do more than they need to and sometimes you got to give credit to the other guy as well.
Ball awareness is a key for creating more turnovers, Rivera said. They've had the ball on the ground several times but haven't been able to get on them— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) October 6, 2023
l think part of it’s just ball awareness, first and foremost. We’ve gotten some real good pass rush for the most part. Part of it is when you’re coming in as a pass rusher, you’ve got to be able to get that ball out. We’ve had the ball on the ground, I think it was three in the last two games that we didn’t get close to. We have to be aware of that. When the ball’s down, you’ve got to be ready to jump on it, scoop it and score it. Those are the types of things that you got to continue to work on. We have an emphasis on it every week as far as the takeaways are concerned. We go through a circuit. I think it’s something that we got to continue to focus on because when they do come, they’re going to be very helpful.
Putting defensive players in a better position to succeed:
Well, some of it has to do with looking at some of the choices that we make calls on and that’s one thing that does it. Giving them some liberties with some of the techniques or demanding certain things with certain techniques that just have to be done, there’s no ands or buts about it.
I think part of it is guys really working to get themselves in the best position, not trying to butt tackle. By that I mean, you just try to knock the guy off his feet without wrapping. That’s one of the things that really has to be worked and developed. You have to be able to grab cloth, lock onto a guy and bring him down. Part of it too is with the emphasis of trying to get the head out of tackling, which is important, guys have got to learn to use their shoulders even more so now, and with limited opportunities now during the regular season to practice that, you’re tackling techniques, as the season goes guys should improve their tackling.
Ron Rivera said the offensive line is "a little bit" of a concern but that it's also on Sam Howell to get rid of the ball more quickly.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) October 6, 2023
It is a little bit of concern as far as that’s concerned, but I also do think part of it is on Sam just getting rid of the ball sometimes instead of trying to prolong the play and make a play downfield, which is one of his strengths, but at the same time it could be a detriment. I do think the key also is trying to put ourselves in that position. You get down the way you get down it makes it easy for the opponent to just put those ears back and go.
Rivera said the offense settled in after three and outs to start. There were some bright spots in the third quarter, but things got away from them in the fourth. The unit did do some things to give them a chance— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) October 6, 2023
After the first two series of going three and out, really just kind of saw them settle in and do some things, give ourselves a chance. I thought the play in the third quarter was really good. Unfortunately, we had the fumble that hurt us. But, there were some really bright spots, some things that really showed what we’re capable of. Then unfortunately it got away from us a little bit in the middle of the fourth quarter. But they did the things that gave us a chance, scored some points. We got some good defensive play at that stretch as well that gave us a chance. And then, like I said, it got a little bit away from us.
Message to the fans:
First of all, we let them down. I’m disappointed that we let them down and like I said last night, a lot of it begins with me. I’m the head coach and I got to make sure that when we get out there we’re doing the things the way we need to get them done. And obviously we didn’t. That’s on me to begin with. We’ll get those things corrected. We’re a young team. We have some young players that we’re trying to develop and get them out there and doing the things we need them to do. Every time we play though, we’re going to play to win. We’re going to give them our best. Sometimes our best isn’t as good as it needs to be. We got to get those things corrected and that’s the truth of the matter.