The Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew spoke with local media members during the league meetings in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday and Tuesday. Here's a look at some of the topics they tackled during their press conferences.
-- Last year, the Commanders were among the heavy spenders in free agency. Not only did they bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they also signed William Jackson III and Curtis Samuel. This year, they have not been as active aside from trading for Carson Wentz and signing Andrew Norwell. For the most part, they have been more concerned with re-signing their own players.
That doesn't mean the Commanders are being quiet. In fact, they're still looking for the right players, and there are still plenty out there for Washington to bring in.
"We are looking for the right kind of deal for the right kind of players," Rivera said.
-- Rivera has already spoken on why he believes the Commanders chose to trade for Wentz, but Mayhew added his thoughts to the discussion as well. He echoed Rivera's sentiment about Wentz having a strong skill set and added that traits like his strong arm and ability to make plays downfield made them comfortable in making the move.
"We feel like he's going to be an outstanding player for us," Mayhew said. "He's got a good history as a starter in this league. From our standpoint, we really needed a guy who's had some experience in this league. So we talked about it and he's the best option for us."
-- Finding a middle linebacker has been viewed by many outside of the organization as a priority. Rivera and Mayhew agree, but there may be someone on the roster who can fill that role. Both spoke highly of Cole Holcomb, saying that he was a topic of discussion in their evaluations of the roster. Rivera feels "really good" about Holcomb's development so far and is "very excited" about his future. Mayhew also said that the Commanders feel Holcomb "can go in there and make a play for us."
"He did a good job when he was in there," Mayhew said. "He kind of grew into that position last year when he got an opportunity to play some mike [linebacker]. We'll see how it plays out."
-- Overtime has been a heavily discussed topic in recent months. Rivera, who is on the competition committee, said he views himself as more of a traditionalist on the subject, but he's willing to listen to other opinions on how the rule should change.
"I'm open-minded going into these discussions, because we really haven't had one opinion," Rivera said. "It would be very unfair to go in there and not listen.
Note: It was reported after Rivera's press conference that the league had voted on and approved a new rule for overtime. For the postseason only, each team is guaranteed a possession.
-- Rivera has only been around Wentz for a few weeks now, and he can already tell that he's "really a heck of a young man." He appreciates how resilient Wentz has been throughout his career. There were several things about Wentz's press conference that Rivera approved of as well, among the most notable being how he used "we" when talking about the team.
Rivera also liked how he took responsibility for the positive and negative moments that occurred with the Colts.
"I appreciate that as a coach, listening to a guy that's more concerned about the team…but 'Hey, that's my fault, that's my responsibility, I gotta get that corrected.'"
-- Now that the Commanders have their answer at quarterback in Wentz, the next step is to keep surrounding him with talent. As Rivera pointed out, the Commanders already have a 1,000-yard receiver and rusher along with a young, talented defense, but they'll continue to bolster their weapons through the draft.
"We're gonna spend a lot more time finishing up with our evaluations," Rivera said. "We've got the 30 visits coming in pretty soon. That'll be a very important time because again, we won't be on Zoom. We'll be in person, and that's something that's going to be very important."
-- Rivera provided a couple updates on two of Washington's key players -- Logan Thomas and Chase Young -- and where they are with their recoveries. Thomas, he said, is coming along well, and while he didn't give a specific timetable on when he'll be back, he does feel good about the option Washington has at its disposal.
As for Young, Rivera said he appreciates how focused he is on getting healthy for the 2022 season.
"He really is attacking his offseason, his rehab program," Rivera said. "And I think that's been good."
-- Rivera also had some high praise for Sammis Reyes, who he said made strides in his development last year. Reyes was supposed to receive more playing time in the final game of the season, but a hamstring injury eliminated that opportunity. Reyes has been around the facility and is looking good, according to Rivera.
"We're excited for his potential," Rivera said.