Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, quarterback Carson Wentz and several players spoke with the media following the team's 28-22 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are some of the highlights from their press conferences.
On what he learned about his team:
"I learned they got some moxy. I really do appreciate the way they stuck to it. When things were going bad, they stuck to it. I really appreciate the way the coordinators took a look at it too. [Offensive coordinator] Scott [Turner] stuck to his gameplan, he didn't back off his gameplan. Exhibited by us throwing the ball when we were in field goal range. That is a gutsy call but that's the call we had to make. Appreciate the way [defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] handled the defense. There are a couple things that we're going to get corrected. But that is a big plus and special teams was solid. So, there was some really good things in all three phases for us. Biggest thing we can't do is we can't turn the ball over. We had too many little mistakes. It's going to hurt you and it is going to cost you, we may not be able to pull it out this way."
On his thoughts on QB Carson Wentz's performance:
"Well again, when we get a chance to take a look at it on tape, I do know he was late on one of the picks. He took a little extra hitch and you can see it on the video when I looked up at it. But he knows, and he took full responsibility and that's huge. The guy played his butt off and did a lot of good things. Really happy for him and really excited for him."
On if Wentz's deep ball to WR Terry McLaurin was the type of play he imaged when making the trade for Wentz:
"Yes. Again, that was a heck of a call by Scott. I love the way he communicated what he wanted from Carson and Carson went out and did it. That was big. That gave us a chance right there to win the football game."
On WR Jahan Dotson's performance:
"That's what we saw. That is the young man that we really felt good about. That's why we did what we did in. In being able to bring him here, we are very fortunate to have a young man with that kind of a skillset."
On if he sees the chemistry between Wentz and his wide receivers:
"We did, we saw some of it coming together. We saw some really good glimpses of it when he went with [TE] Logan [Thomas], found Logan a couple of times over the middle and Logan made a couple of clutch catches. That was really big to see, it really was. Then you see the chemistry he's got with Terry, and right on down the line. I thought [WR] Curtis [Samuel], that's what we've been hoping for. That's the guy that we know and what he is capable of and he came out and played to his ability and played to his skillset."
On recovering from his two interceptions:
"It was an ugly stretch obviously. Any time you get back-to-back, turnovers. That's never fun. First one I threw the guy made a good play, but that was bad decision. The second one made a play came outta nowhere. Tough break, ideally just dirt that one, but yeah, it's a tough stretch there to bounce back from but guys did a good job. Everybody was rallying around each other and obviously we got it done."
On getting the crowd behind him on his last drive:
"Felt great. Felt great. Obviously, like I said, coming off of a rough stretch, started fast, rough stretch there in the middle, but to kind of rally together and get it done, uh, when it mattered at the end, that was cool. Cool way to start. I mean, it is hard to win in this league and so it doesn't matter how it looks. It doesn't matter any of those things in the last couple minutes of the game, you find a way to get it done. That's what good teams do and we did that."
On how he gathers himself on the sideline when things are not going well:
"I just look to the guys around me and I know I got nothing but confidence in them and I know they look at me and they have nothing but confidence in me. And so when you feel that, obviously it's a tough feeling, but at the same time, it's who else is gonna be if it's time for us to step up and, and get it done. Like I said, we rallied together and they picked me up. I picked them up. It was huge for us to come out and do that the way we did that."
On his game winning touchdown pass to WR Jahan Dotson:
"Heck of a play. I mean, that was, I don't think it was very good throw. I just said, give this kid a shot. And I've seen him do that in OTAs. You know, once at the end, when he got there, I saw him do it all training camp. I'm just glad that the world gets to see what he can do now, too. And so for me, just giving him the chance, the way he made that play, I think often goes overlooked how he did that, slowed up kind of laid hands, all of that. Incredible play by the rookie, its awesome."
On what allowed the team to get back into the game:
"Yeah, I mean it's, again, I think it's [Offensive Coordinator Scott] Turner just at the end there just trying to stay aggressive. That long one to [WR] Terry [McLaurin], he had pulse on the defense for kind of what they were feeling and he dialed that one up. Terry was rolling, he made a heck of a play there. But yeah, I think it was just coach Turner, just feeling the game. Obviously we had some big plays and then we kinda stagnant for a while and you know, little things here and there and then bigger plays down the stretch."
On his first touchdown:
"It was definitely pretty cool getting that first one under my belt. First game, [QB] Carson [Wentz] just giving me a chance, we've been talking about it ever since I got here, and he got here. I can make plays for this team and that's what I was able to do."
On his second touchdown:
"It was a counter play that we had ran before that we threw a pick on our sideline, we knew the guy was squatting low and we knew if I put a double move on him, I would be able to beat him over the top, Carson's just giving me a chance. He's trusting in his receivers we knew that we would have to come in make plays for us to win and that's what we did."
On his reaction to the play call:
"I was excited, I was ready to put the game to an end come out 1-0 and do something exciting for my team to help us get over that hump."
On the probability of a play working in a game compared to practice:
"Honestly never when that play is going to come up, you just have to make sure that rep in practice you completed the pass and were going one hundred percent because if you didn't get it in practice, you're probably not going to get it in a game. Coach probably doesn't feel comfortable doing it in a game because he didn't see it work in practice. We knew we got that play a couple times this week in practice and we knew we had to execute, and I got the chance to end the game."
On the playmaking ability in WR room:
"I told you guys earlier during camp we had a lot of talent in that room, especially between us three [WR's Terry McLaurin and WR Curtis Smauel]. you guys' kind of saw a glimpse of that today, there's just so much we can do. [Wide receivers] Coach Drew [Terrell] was preaching all week the wide receivers were the piece that gets this team going, gets the offense going that was the case today, guys coming up big, Curtis starting the game off hot making almost every defender on the Jaguars defense miss, Terry coming back after two interceptions with a bomb down the sideline getting us back started. Then me ending the game a touchdown to save the game. We have a lot of things planned for the future, a lot of guys that can make plays and we're just excited to get this one under our belt."
On the team winning today:
"Definitely. Anytime you can start the season off with a win is culmination of all the work you put in the offseason. I know we have a lot of additions this off season and a lot of ups and downs, but we came out here and got the win. It wasn't always pretty, but I think just to have a game like that to come out resilient like we did. A lot of guys made a lot of plays, and we got stops when we needed to, so I think that's what's most important."
On fighting back after being down in the 2nd half:
"I think in this league nothing is going to be easy and I think we all knew that coming into this game. We got off to a really hot start which was really encouraging and then made some plays too, but when we needed to make the big plays to win the game, I think we did that. So that was a great feeling."
On the touchdown Carson threw to him:
"Carson [Wentz] is not afraid to throw the ball down the field and I actually got excited seeing him throw that same route in practice over and over again against that coverage. I knew I was gonna be alive on that so they've kind of been playing that soft zone all game and I knew the next drive, we got that opportunity, he was going to throw it. It was just great to run through a ball that was right and stride like he did and it changed the flow of the game. It was great to get our first connection out there and I think it was the only one to throw for."
On if the back-and-forth of the game felt like a rollercoaster:
"I mean for most of us, we've been playing all our lives. We kind of understand the wave of it too. When you're there, you just stay in the now. You don't get outside of your frame, and you stay level-headed. I know for myself that is the way it is, and for most everybody."
On his expectations heading into the game:
"Honestly, I expected us to score, you know, the way we did. We did a very good job scoring early. Hit a lull, then scored late. If we can just stay consistent and stop hitting the lulls, we'll be fine."
On the wide receiving core:
"Yeah, we have a lot of talent on the offense and it's not just the receiving core. It's the o-line, the quarterback, running backs, whatever you are. We are very talented, and we know we're talented, and let's just put it on the table every single week and try to find mismatches."
William Jackson III
On S Kamren Curl being out and his thoughts on S Darrick Forrest's effort in relief of him:
"I'm just super proud of him because I can remember a year ago, he didn't know where to go or how to start. But now, just to see him go out there and do that man, I was just super happy for him and I can't wait to celebrate with him."
On how he contained his emotions in such a back-and-forth game:
"I mean, it's the National Football League. I mean everybody's good, everybody's screaming. We just got to quiet them down and go play."
On how he feels S Darrick Forrest has made this progression as a player:
"I mean, he's just put a lot of work in in the film room. We all get together and go through plays. Just to see him go out there with that confidence. I mean, before the game he was kind of nervous, but just to see him go out there with that confidence and put on a show like that. That was amazing."
On the energy in the stadium:
"It was amazing. I thank the fans and everybody that came out and cheered us on today. We can't wait to be back."
On if he impressed himself playing today:
"It's been so long since I have been able to make dudes drop like that. It's been a while, but I wouldn't say I impressed myself, but I did what I knew I could do and I was just like I said I was on call when they made plays and when I touched the ball."
On being an active part of the offense:
"It was great. Like I said, my main thing going into the season was my health. I feel like I changed and everything I got is going for me. My diet and everything, I just have to keep it on."
On him saying I'm Back:
"Oh yeah, I definitely said that. I'm him. It was just one of those things where I was excited to be back out there. To get the first touchdown of the season and get my first touchdown in a long time, I think that was a great way to start the season off."
Charles Leno Jr.
On the importance of the first win of the season:
"You work so hard for week. We have been working on Jacksonville for a long time. Everybody has been working on their first week opponent for a long time. So to get that first win, it means a lot. It's a good feeling and good morale, but enjoy today, but you know how this league goes. We've got Detroit next week."
On what he learned about QB Carson [Wentz] when they were down in 4th quarter:
"The resilience. He came to us and said that it was my bad and my fault on those plays. He said, but what we have is this moment right now and we all responded and marched on that field and scored when we needed to."
On QB Carson Wentz's throw to WR Terry McLaurin down the field:
"Yeah, it was confidence. I am pretty sure those two have a lot of confidence when working together and they executed."