The Washington Commanders wrapped up Day 14 of training camp with Ron Rivera, Tress Way and Joey Slye addressing the media. Here are some of the highlights from their press conferences.
On what he wants to see from the offensive group on Saturday:
- "Well, you want to see some consistency out there. You want to see some consistency in the huddle, breaking the huddle, getting to the line of scrimmage and then being successful with the plays that are called. Operating things, doing things well. Hope we get all kinds of situational football going. We would love to see a couple of third downs, some redzone stuff obviously and then some short yardage and goal line. You hope for that in your first game. You target somewhere from 15-20 plays, have a nice drive somewhere about eight or nine plays, stuff like that."
On Alex Erickson and Dax Milne in the return game:
- "You want a guy first of all that can secure the catch. We know both of those guys can do that, they both have done that in NFL games. Don't discount the opportunity for us to use Jahan [Dotson] as well. That is something that we talked about and something that we are going to continue to discuss as we get closer and closer to the regular season."
On DE's Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams:
- "Well, they're two opposites. The thing about Casey that you like is that he is a guy that has the flexibility that you can drop him into coverage on occasion. That is to the benefit especially when you get into that five-man front because we are not always rushing five. With James, you get more of a big, physical guy that plays downhill and into the line more. With him, you don't have as much flexibility."
On if he will learn more from certain positions out of the game than at practice:
- "I wouldn't say any specific position, I think you're going to learn about our entire football team out there. It will start right upfront and what is going on with the offense and defensive fronts. Then the skill players come into play, running backs, linebackers, then your defensive backs and your receivers. The biggest question is always going to be quarterback. Everything comes back to that position. I'm just excited with the fact that we will have game situations. We will play against some different folks so I am really just looking forward to it as a whole."
On what he wants to see from QB Sam Howell:
- "All three quarterbacks will play. Taylor [Heinicke] will come in after Carson [Wentz] and then Sam will finish up. With Taylor, we will probably get him into the third quarter a little bit and we will let Sam finish up. What will be really good and what we worked on, the last thing we worked on today, I would love to see Sam get a two-minute at the end of the game, that would be really cool. It would be real good experience for him as well. He still has a lot to learn. Just consistency is what you're hoping. You're hoping he has some success, hoping he controls things and is consistent with his ball placement when he throws it."
On how being at camp from start has been:
- "Good. I mean, this has been a relatively comfortable camp. We're back at the house and stuff like that. I'm relatively close to my family. Like what's been talked about from being from Stafford. So being able to go home and sleep at my own house and stuff like that's been pretty comfortable not being at like a camp and stuff like that. But getting comfortable with [LS Camaron] Cheeseman and [P] Tress [Way] has been really important for me, just making sure we're continually building our chemistry both on and off the field. So yeah, I would say a comfortable camp, but obviously I know like my implications, I know what I have to get done, but I just feel like I said, I feel pretty confident going in."
On how much last season helped his confidence:
- "To be honest with you last year, going into camp in Carolina, I felt really good about where I was at. I was, you know, hitting a really good ball, was pretty consistent and just kind of had a little bit of a hiccup going into pre-season. I was trying to ride that ship and I feel like the entirety of the season was stuff that I'd been prepping for. Obviously not doing it on three different teams, but to kind of have the statistic, you know, position that I was in last year. I had been prepping with that and it kind of put into, the atmosphere last year with talking with my sports psychologist and some of my coaches. So going into this year, I, I have that same mentality, the same process that I put forth last year. I'm in that same mindset. And obviously it's good to end on a good note last year, but this is a brand new year. This is a brand new start of my process again and helping to just make sure that everything goes as planned."
On what it was he learned to get more comfortable:
- "To break down kicking, I could talk to you for this for like eight, nine hours about every single little situation that happens on a kick. And so, I know exactly what happens if I miss left, I know exactly what happens if miss right. I know exactly what happens when I put down in the middle. Where my rookie year, if I miss left the next time, I'm like, okay, I'm going to try to do something to make it almost go right. And then I'd miss left again. And it was like, wait a minute. That was supposed to go right. And so kind of all those trial and errors, those little, like kind of experiments that you put in trying to figure out where your swings at. I'm definitely more dialed in than I was back then."
On if P Tress Way is as boisterous every day as he is on the microphone:
- "Tress has like one of the coolest personalities to be around. People talk about all the time. He's gonna probably have a career outside of football. I think he should be a great game show host. Like if Steve Harvey wants to give up Family Feud and Tress wants to go on. I think that'd be awesome. I think Tress would've to grow a pretty nice mustache to compete with him. He's just got such a good personality to be around. He makes everything light, makes it, not seem as serious, like he can lock in when he needs to and he obviously does. He has and does continually on a daily basis. I mean, he makes everything just lighter, you know, he just takes a lot of the stress off things. It's important for me and Cheese [Cameron Cheesman] to kind of have that, because obviously our positions have a lot of stress put on him and you know, we're told to perform at the top level all the time and there's 32 positions, you know, if you don't do well, you're gonna get cut and to have a guy like Tress coming in and just be like, dude, like let's just have fun. Let's just go out there and enjoy what we do and do well at it. He's been one of the top three punters in the league for what, four or five years now, at least. You can kind of take some of his energy and realize like I can have fun doing this job all the time."
On when the dog days of camp set in for him and how he gets through it:
- "To be honest with you, dog days, haven't really set in, I mean, we have been on the pretty similar schedule as what we were in OTAs. Obviously, we're a longer schedule. We're like 11 hours through whatever the PA has us doing. I mean we're out practice early, get done. I get to go in and lift, which is my enjoyment of the day. And then we got meetings here and there, but it just gives us time. It's it is nice to being in the facility with the three of us, me, Cheese and Tress, just to be able to, you know, play cards, talk, whatever, watch, you know, watch TV, whatever it needs to be. So, they haven't really set in yet and I don't really see 'em doing it, but I will tell you this heat. I lived here for 13 years through this heat has been insane. I don't remember the heat being this bad. Growing up with a car with bad air conditioning, I knew how hot it'd get, go on a date with a girl and just be sweating the entire time in my car. It's been bad. That's probably the only thing that I'm a little over right now, but obviously we had rain on a day. We had a shorter day, so it's probably gonna be hot tomorrow and then Saturday will probably be pretty hot too.
On LS Camaron Cheeseman:
- "The dude is fricking hilarious. I don't know if he's just kind of coming out of his shell. He has made me laugh to the point of tears a couple of times, including yesterday. And then also we had, granted, whenever I say a taxing day for the punt team, it is nothing like what the dudes normally do under the hot sun. But, you know, whenever we have a full 10-minute punt day, that's pretty taxing on the body. We don't do that in games. We don't do that regularly. And Cheese kind of looked at me with this open mouth kind of, I had like a little moment of panic that I thought maybe he had been injured in some way. It turns out he was just really tired in that moment. But I think the ultimate compliment is just how valuable he is. There was a little bit of fear that went through my head that, oh man is Cheese OK? I think Joey and I are pretty spoiled to have him. So he is doing a good job."
On if the trivia game in the locker room is returning:
- "So when we see you guys come in during the week, I promise to have some great trivia questions for you guys to chew on while you wait for certain players to come in and outta treatment and things like that. But yes, it's fully back on and it is a really good time on the bus rides to and from the state or to and from the hotel. A lot of guys get a big kick out of it. We like to break a mental sweat too. Not only do we get out there and get after it on the field, but we like to press the mind."
On what a winning punt is:
- "Yes, there is multiple types of winning punts, but when [Special Teams Coordinator] Nate Kaczor showed up, he really helped me hone in my ability to maybe not tip off the returner, which way I'm punting and then just try and be effective with those punts, hang time distances, trying to eliminate some touch backs, which is what I've typically been good at in the past, but kind of didn't do so hot in that one last year. So just trying to take more and more steps every time."
On what it is like working with new guys on punt team:
- "That is one thing I think until I am done playing, or done playing for coach Kaczor, his ability to have that punt team, the whole special team's unit, but that punt team and our kickoff return team, our punt return team, our special team's having this identity and just full gas. He always says, we are not the special teams that, oh, they come out to punt, punt return, kickoff return, I'm gonna use the restroom or go grab a popcorn. It's like, no, you wanna watch these fricking dudes go. And so his ability to bring all of these incredibly talented guys in veterans, rookies and get us into that one message. Dude's unbelievable at that."
On if any of the younger players are standing out to him:
- "Whenever we drafted Percy Butler, I think I actually got something on social media from his punter in college, he was like, 'hey man, you're a lucky dude.' So I'm looking forward to taking that dude off the leash and just watching him hunt a little bit, supposedly. And it's so funny, because he's such a nice dude, real quiet, always smiling. I call him Percy Butler because I feel like he's got one of those names. Like you have to say his full name. So every morning I'm just like '[S] Percy Butler, good morning man. How you doing?' I took 20 bucks off of him in corn hole the other day. That was a good one."