Ron Rivera spoke to the media for Victory Monday, and talked about the Washington Commanders win over the Arizona Cardinals. He talked a lot about Sam Howell’s anticipation and Brian Robinson’s patience, things that coaches have been drilling into their players, and was on full display on Sunday. Howell had some great touchdown throws to Logan Thomas and Terry McLaurin that Rivera described in detail. He also talked about Robinson’s big game, and how important patience is for the team’s running backs. Chase Young made his return to the field, and Rivera was pleased with him finishing plays and “meeting at the QB” with Montez Sweat. Young still needs to work on communications with his teammates, echoing back to some of Rivera’s discipline comments from two years ago.
Coach Rivera speaks to the media on Victory Monday https://t.co/t1WKe5RekI— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) September 18, 2023
Rivera said Howell of course made a couple mistakes; could have thrown the ball sooner at times. However, the throws on the TDs to Thomas and McLaurin were "as good as it can be." Rivera liked how Howell threw with anticipation on those scores.— John Keim (@john_keim) September 18, 2023
I thought Sam handled some things very well. You know, there were some really good opportunities we had, he made some real good decisions early in the game, we moved the ball. Unfortunately we weren’t consistent as we needed to be, whether it was we dropped a ball, whether it was we missed a block or we got a penalty and then we missed a kick, that was disappointing. I mean, at worst at one point we should have been 14-6, something like that. Everything that happened, everything that we did wrong is easily corrected, and that’s one of the things we’ve got to do.
As far as Sam was concerned, as I said, he did some really good things early on, a couple mistakes, he could’ve gotten rid of the ball sooner. But in the second half, that’s the things that we saw that were really positive, was that you saw him make that decision to throw the ball away, you saw him make the decision to be very forward in terms of just tucking it, running and sliding, doing those things are starting to show us the growth that we’re looking for in his decision making. That’s always good to see.
He threw some really good balls. I mean, the touchdown he threw to Logan was as good as it could be, the touchdown throw he threw to Terry was as good as it could be. I mean, those are things that you see because now he’s anticipating, he’s throwing people to the ball in terms of the one he threw to Terry, you could almost say he helped throw Terry open into the area, that he needed to be. Of course it was a hell of a catch. I mean both his and Logan’s were terrific touchdown catches.
I think a guy’s mindset has to tell him he can go ahead, and he can make those plays. And then his ability to anticipate, to see where the defender is. He obviously saw that Terry was in position to run by these guys and if he laid it out, Terry would go get it, and that’s exactly what I thought happened with Terry. As far as Logan’s was concerned, the one that I saw, to me, he saw that there was a separation between the two defenders. So the ball was thrown in front to lead him just into position to catch it, and then unfortunately the guy took a shot. But again, it was a well-thrown ball, a well-timed ball, and I thought the anticipation on that was very good as well.
I think he, one of the things they’ve been working on with him is really been just being patient, being patient, being patient and sometimes being patient means to stutter your feet and you can get a little anxious, and instead of waiting for that crease, or anticipating that crease developing, he hits it where he probably didn’t need to. I think as he’s settled in, you saw it later on, he had a couple of really nice runs, and you could see him be patient, and then hit it and as he hit it you could see the separation between the blockers and the creases were there. Part of that was, not just his frustration with himself, but up front we’ve gotta be consistent as well to give our backs an opportunity to be successful.
Ron Rivera on Chase Young based on tape-watching:— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) September 18, 2023
"He did remind of a lot of things from his rookie year. ... I thought he did show his explosiveness."
Said there's work to do -- better communication with DT required, etc -- but certainly pleased with where Young is now.
Rivera was impressed by Young in his first game back. Said he helped himself by staying in good shape while recovering from the neck issue. A few things he'll keep working on -- how to rush in various situations etc.— John Keim (@john_keim) September 18, 2023
"Things bode very well for him," Rivera said.
He did remind me a lot of the things from his rookie year. First of all, he was so excited to get back out on the field, we had to really kind of try to tempo him the best we could. A couple times he popped out there when it wasn’t his time to rotate in. But we try to maintain that with him as good as we can. Secondly, I thought he did show his explosiveness. There were sometimes when you saw him flat out win on his own, and the quarterback just barely get the ball out on time. Then you saw his persistence in terms of countering, coming back underneath, and then getting his first sack, that was good to see. Then there were a couple times, especially in the red zone when we needed, him and Montez came through together where they met at the quarterback. That was a lot of fun.
So you’re starting to see him get back into it. I think he’s got to work, a little bit, on his communications with the tackle that he’s rushing with so, that you know again, hey I’m going to go up and under, or I’m coming inside cover me, and those types of things. So he’s got a little bit of work to do, but it’s great to see because, first of all he’s in great shape. He kept himself in great shape. He worked at his craft while he was waiting for his opportunity. So right now his return to play isn’t going to be one of those where you just keep waiting for it to come. I think he’s where he needs to be, and he’ll just keep getting better I believe in terms of his performance and his working with his teammates.
Rivera said he was "a little disappointed" with Cheeseman's first snap but the rest were good. But this weekly issue has led to Washington seeking info on other possible options. https://t.co/kPXVu25j7e— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) September 18, 2023
Ron Rivera said in addition to Tucker Addington they'll work out some other long snappers. Said Cheeseman was good after the 1st snap but "it can't happen every week because it could cost you a game. You don't want it to affect anyone else...We'll take a look and go from there."— John Keim (@john_keim) September 18, 2023
The biggest thing more than anything else was a little disappointed in the very first snap. It’s crazy because you go back and look at the rest of his snaps and they were pretty good, but this is something we have to do because it can’t happen every week because it could cost you a game. It really could have. Part of it is you don’t want it to affect anybody else. If we look at it that, hey, we need to have an insurance policy, if we need to do something, we’re going to do it because it’s what’s best for this football team. That’s what we’re looking at. We’ve talked about some options. One of the options is we’re going to have a little information gathering tomorrow. We’re going to bring in a few players, give them an opportunity to show us what they’re capable of, and we’ll take a look and go from there.
Why is Cheeseman not performing as well as last season?:
To be quite honest, it is just his inconsistency, which seems to just show up once in a while. The thing we can’t have is we can’t have it show up because the last thing you want is to have it cost you a point or two or three. That could be the difference in a football game. That’s something that we have to be prepared to protect ourselves against. As I said, because of that, we had conversations and we’re going to decide on some things going forward, but again, we’re going to do what we really velieve is best.