The Washington Commanders have wrapped up another practice, and head coach Ron Rivera, offensive coordinator Scott Turner and running back J.D. McKissic spoke to the media. Here are some of the highlights from their press conferences.
On Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner moving to the sideline became before or after QB Carson Wentz got here:
- "I think it was an adjustment made after Carson. I think part of it too is just in talking with Scott talking about communications in the field. We just feel that this is something that gives us an opportunity to be right there and get instant feedback as opposed to having to have it cycle through a quarterback coach."
On if preseason verse camp goes into the thinking and making of roster cuts:
- "And that's a big part of it. I mean, you know, going through the pre-season you look at guys for their value on special teams, You look at their value for developmental, their ability to get better as a player and then you look at their value for depth when you're looking at the young guys. Some of the other battles are a little bit different because you're looking at the potential for starter. That's a pretty intense one. You're looking for one where, okay, there's a rotation. We're gonna use a group of guys like wide receiver. We have six guys that you know, we say we gotta have. Okay, who are those six guys? And how are the rotation gonna be? What are they gonna do? What are their skill sets? How do they fit us? Look at the backs and we sit there and say, okay, whether that number's three or four, you know, what's the combination. Again, a lot of this goes back to, to what I had in Carolina, and I was very fortunate. You know, when you have a Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams and a Fozzy Whitaker, it's a pretty good trifecta backs. You'd like to have something very similar, that type of situation where, you know, you're gonna hand the ball off and if the guy gets hot, you're gonna keep handing him the ball and then you gotta spell 'em and you gotta have the same type of guy or guy with that kind of skill to go in and do the same thing. So, you try to find that out. You try to look at the quarterback room. I like the three guys we have. I think right now it's a good room. Why? Because each guy understands and knows what's expected of them. And so, you're trying to create those type of things as you go through this and trying to evaluate how your roster's gonna work."
On if they have a set number in mind for how many guys they want to keep at each position:
- "We have numbers and, and you know, tight, end's gonna be a tremendous discussion. Running back will be an unbelievable discussion. Is it gonna be nine, 10 or 11 DBs? You know, that will be another discussion but if you do that, what happens to your linebackers numbers? Is it seven, six or five? You know, what's your D-line number. So, we write the number down and then we put the placard underneath them and you sit there and go, okay, wow, okay. But then you gotta reach over to the other position and take one. So, we go through that exercise pretty often right now."
On how they will use the starters on Saturday versus Kansas City:
- "Not necessarily. We have talked about it. We are gonna most certainly play 'em. How far they go, it's still up to debate. There are some guys that will be on pitch counts that once they hit that number, they'll be done. A good example would be Chase Roullier. We have a pitch count for Chase once he hits that number, we're taking him out and then we'll go from there."
On if he thinks this is one of WR Curtis Samuel's better stretches in terms of participation:
- "Yeah, very much so. Again, like I said, there is a plan, a very fluid plan. It's almost adaptable as he starts to get, you know, the callousness he needs to practicing every day. We increase a little bit more, a little bit more each day. These last two days have been a delight. It really has because we've been able to put some things in for him specifically. We'll see how he is when he comes in tomorrow morning. I know Al [Bellamy] and I talked a little bit about it. We were encouraged that Curtis wanted to do more today. It's been kind of cool to watch him, you know, come back and really be more and more confident about where he is. So, we'll continue with that."
On his impressions of Carson Wentz and camp as a whole:
- "I think camp's been going really well. In training camp, there's gonna be ups and downs. You gotta work through things. Obviously, guys get dinged up. So, you gotta adjust to who's out there in every given day. I feel like our guys are getting better and better each day and that's what you work towards is just that steady growth and steady improvement so you can be as good as possible when that first game hits and then continue to improve. Carson has been outstanding. He's an outstanding communicator. We've had great back and forth. It's important to him, obviously football's important to him. Just going back, starting even in the offseason, he dove right in to learn our offense and learn what we do. Got to know his teammates. Every day you can see that comfort level of his increasing. I've been really pleased with that. And the work he's done with his teammates, getting to know them, just getting a feel for how they play the guys he's throwing the ball to. I just feel like he's getting comfortable and in turn, we're getting better."
On how the scheme has changed:
- "It doesn't really change. Like the scheme itself pretty much stays the same. It's just inside of the scheme. There are some different things that we're gonna do based off of what our quarterback does well or what the different receivers that we have do well. The basis, the fundamentals of what we believe in, all that stuff really stays the same. Just maybe some route combination, stuff like that, that you saw. Maybe you'll see more of stuff that we did last year. Maybe you won't see quite as much of it."
On moving from the booth to the field:
- "I do expect that to continue. Obviously, you can always change your mind, but I don't anticipate that at this point. The communication, I think the communication, obviously with Carson, but also just with the other guys on the offense. Just being able to speak directly to them, if there's something that I need to say is huge. Being down in there, you feel like you're a little bit more part of the game. That part is important, but the number one thing is just having that communication mainly with the quarterback."
On how he decided that:
- "It's something that I've been thinking about really over the course of the entire offseason even as soon as the season ended. Do I want to make that change? At practice, there's things that me and Carson will talk about that I think are really valuable for myself and for him. Just how he's seeing things and hearing it directly from him, not through another person or not having to get him on the phone or have somebody give him a headset. Then, stuff that I can say to him. That really confirmed it where it's like, 'Hey, I think this is important to have that direct line of communication.' I talked to Coach Rivera about it and he was all for it. So just decided to go with it."
On RB Brian Robinson:
- "Brian's been great. He's a real serious guy. Football is extremely important to him. He takes a lot of pride in being a physical runner, but he can run too. I was happy and impressed with him the way that he ran some things. He wasn't perfect on his tracks and stuff like that, but he runs so hard. He was still able to gain positive yardage. That's great to see from a back. I think he'll continue to get better too as the reps increase, That's his first time ever playing in a game where you're getting tackled in the league."
On his longest reception during the game against the Carolina Panthers:
- "You hit it on the head, man. It felt great to be back out there and make a play, just to do what I do, and try to move the ball on third down. I got it done, the old line blocked it up great, and [QB] Carson [Wentz] made a great pass. It was easy. But just to stand up and feel good about it, I'm blessed. God took care of me through the whole thing and finally get a chance to get on the field again. It was a lot of excitement."
On if he has taken RB Brian Robinson Jr. under his wing:
- "I have not taken him under my wing, but he is already a player. There isn't too much I could do for him. He went to Alabama, he's prepared well. He can run the football, that's what he does. He got out and showed that. We're excited about it. He did a fantastic job."
On what he makes of the offense:
- "I think we moved the ball around. I think you really can't key in on one guy. We showed that a lot of guys touched the ball. I think we only played one to two series. But I think we moved the ball, we got in, and we scored. I think [QB] Carson [Wentz] looked fantastic to me. That's it, we're getting better. We're excited about it."
On his impressions of QB Carson Wentz:
- "He's a great QB. We just talked about it. I'm trying to remind guys that he was an MVP candidate, you know, that year when they went to the super bowl. So, we're excited about him. He looks great and he's doing great."
On his role in the running back room:
- "I'm a team player. I'm a team player. You get you baby. And I'm a be there when my number is called, that's how my job been my whole life. And my number is called, I'm ready to make the play. And that's how we all got to do. You got to be happy for the next man and go eat, you know? Its third down. If, my number is called, hey, let's go."