Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera is scheduled to speak at the NFL Scouting Combine at noon today(started at 12:15pm). The team has gone through several changes already this offseason including firing OC Scott Turner and replacing him with Eric Bieniemy, cutting QB Carson Wentz, and franchise tagging DT Daron Payne. Rivera is entering his fourth year as Washington’s head coach, and is still looking for his first winning season here. This is considered a make or break year for Rivera, who is also the head decision maker under current team owner Dan Snyder’s coach-centric model.
LIVE: HC Ron Rivera speaks to the media at the 2023 NFL Combine https://t.co/NX1j56Wdxu— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) February 28, 2023
Releasing Carson Wentz:
“Well, you know, there’s a lot of things that we have to look at as far as our team is concerned. Everything from the cap to the position itself, and the situational circumstances we went through last year. He’s a heck of young man. He’s a solid man and I want to wish him the best. I really do appreciate everything he did for us, and the opportunity that he had coming here. He did the best he could, and we really appreciate that as well.”
“Well, more so anything else just showing the commitment to trying to get him signed and and keep him here. I mean, he’s a guy’s that’s been very integral into the development of this football team and this defense as well as the other guys that he plays alongside. And we just wanted to make sure everybody understood that we are serious.”
QB Coach Tavita Pritchard:
Ron Rivera at the podium for his combine presser. Praised new QB coach Tavita Pritchard and can see why he and Eric Bieniemy are similar. Really liked his view on the position and philosophies— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) February 28, 2023
“With Eric coming in and some guys that he wanted to have, and we talked about the entire staff going forward and he talked about the direction he wanted to take it. Bringing in a guy like Tavita in is a guy that has played the position. He’s been in one place for a long time, but it’s been a pro style type of offense. He and Eric have had a relationship, I think, for the last ten years. So, they’re very familiar with each other and you see it when we brought Tavita in and sat down. I visited with him and interviewed him and then listened to his philosophies on football and his ideas and stuff. I could see why he and Eric are very similar.”
Quarterback for Eric Bieniemy’s offense:
Ron Rivera asked if there’s a quarterback that fits what Washington wants and want Eric Bieniemy plans to do on offense: “There’s a guy in Kansas City. He wears No. 15.” (joking obvi)— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) February 28, 2023
“A guy in Kansas City has number 15. No. One of the first things we talked about obviously was all of our personnel and listening to him talk about our guys. He had an understanding of who we had. He understood we talked a little bit about Eric and I told him I’d made the comment that he’s going to start out as QB one, he’s going to have to earn it and Eric feels the same way. He likes him, he likes who he is. He likes his skillset. He told me he’s a guy that they looked at at one point when he was there. So he’s familiar with Sam. Then he talked about the other positions and all the things that he felt we could do in getting the ball in those guys’ hands. He liked our five skill position guys. So that was a really nice conversation we had in terms of all of our different offensive weapons we have.”
Rivera says he and Eric Bieniemy are on same page when it comes to Sam Howell. 2nd year qb has big opportunity to win the QB1 job pic.twitter.com/dqDVA6LT4O— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) February 28, 2023
Rivera said that Bieniemy was familiar with Sam Howell during their interviews and likes his tools for the position.— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) February 28, 2023
Rivera and Bieniemy have both said they would like to bring in competition for Howell as he tries to earn a starting role
Rivera points back to how Howell has grown since being drafted and praised him for how he performed against Dallas. "He'll get a great opportunity to be the starter," but they want to find a veteran option, whether that's Heinicke or someone else— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) February 28, 2023
Ron Rivera on Sam Howell: “He’s not our starter. He’s coming in as QB1 and he’ll get a chance to be the starter.”— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) February 28, 2023
He added they’re looking to add a veteran and indicated Taylor Heinicke could be in the mix.
“Well, if you go back to his junior year coming out, this is a guy that had some very good grades on him as far as being draftable. I believe you go back and you ask some scouts what their grades are, you’re going to see some pretty high grades. That’s what I did. I looked at our people’s grades and we had some very good grades on him, so we feel very confident in his ability.
Secondly, things that he showed us over a period of time. He played a lot in the pre-season, that was something we did on purpose. We wanted to see him because we liked him that much. During the season when you watch the practice tape and he just had some moments that just showed you done a really good job and then getting the opportunity against Dallas. I thought he came out and played the type of game that you’re looking for as far as the quarterback’s concerned. He’s got a tremendous skillset. Got a good arm, the kind of arm that you do look for. That’s one of the things and again, he’s not our starter. He’s coming in as a QB one.
He’ll get a great opportunity to be our starter, but we do want to find a veteran quarterback. You know, we have Taylor Heinicke that’s a free agent that we’ve got to work through that as well and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
Rivera said the team is taking a long look at free agency and how they can improve their roster. Also mentioned looking at signing some of their own free agents— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) February 28, 2023
“I think the biggest thing more than anything else is we’re taking a long look at free agency and what we could potentially do in free agency to help ourselves. I know we talked about our own guys that we want to get done specifically now and see if we can, get those things done. The sooner you can get those things done, the more positions you can feel in free agency. It takes a lot of pressure off of the draft in terms of what you need to do, what you have to do, what you must do, as much as to the point where you get to what you want to do. That’s probably the most important thing, so if we can fill some of those spots coming up once we get into March and get into free agency, we’ll see what happens.”
ESPN report about Dan Snyder’s criminal investigation:
Rivera asked about todays report on Dan Snyder and makes it clear the team is in Indy to find football players pic.twitter.com/vpdSIbTdeN— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) February 28, 2023
Ron Rivera on ESPN’s report about Dan Snyder and the Commanders: “I’ve been in meetings all morning so I’m really not sure what it’s about. But it’s really nice to be here. We’re looking for football players.”— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) February 28, 2023
I asked Ron Rivera if Commanders ownership questions will impact the teams approach to free agency.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) February 28, 2023
“It doesn’t.” pic.twitter.com/cAlcLaHijO