Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media ahead of training camp. Here are some quick hits from his Tuesday press conference.
-- It was the first time that Rivera addressed the media since Josh Harris was named the Managing Partner, and he didn't hide that he was excited about the new chapter in Washington's history. Most of it has to do with how the fans have reacted, and the players have felt that new energy. Adding to that excitement is the new look of training camp, which includes stands on the sideline and near the end zone. "I'm fired up about the opportunity as we go forward."
-- Rivera has had conversations with Harris since the transition was made official, and most of their talks have been around philosophies and how the ownership group will support the coaching staff and supply them with the tools they need to win games. Rivera said the new ownership group wants to bring back a sense of pride to the community, and he has appreciated how clearly Harris and his partners have laid out their expectations.
-- It's great that there is a wave of enthusiasm surrounding the team, but the next challenge for Rivera and his players is to find ways to maintain that energy. "Every day's going to be a different kind of day," Rivera said, but he's counting on the fan base show up to practice during training camp to provide "a little bit of a spark."
-- Moving on to football news, Rivera is "very comfortable" with the way Washington's roster is constructed heading into camp. He did say, however, that there are some positions where players need to grow and mature in. He specifically highlighted both guard spots on the offensive line and the secondary, but the biggest question is at the quarterback position. "I think we feel very comfortable with those guys," Rivera said. "We like who they are. We like the development and growth. We'll be watching that, obviously, very closely."
-- The offense has gone through major change with Eric Bieniemy bringing in a new system from Kansas City. Rivera believes the unit's progress is on track and expects that to continue. "We're very optimistic and we expect them to work, and we'll take those hurdles as they come."
The Washington Commanders' veterans began reporting to OrthoVirginia Training Center at Commanders Park for the start of training camp. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)
-- Rivera "most certainly" feels like he and the team has something to prove. He believes the team has put itself in a good position because of the way they have built the roster with veterans in key positions, and they have to take advantage of their opportunities.
-- Later in the press conference, Rivera said he feels the team has been "too close" over the last couple of seasons. They went on some runs in 2021 and 2022 that got them into contention but could not sustain that success for various reasons. He feels that it's time to change that.
-- Rivera reiterated that everything starts with the quarterback position and how those players have developed this summer. Sam Howell is "QB1" heading into camp, but Rivera wants to know if he has learned and developed enough to take the next step. With Jacoby Brissett, he wants to see if the veteran is ready to compete and help the team make progress if he gets the opportunity. "It is a big, broad question," Rivera said, "but it does start with that position."
-- Howell will be treated as the starting quarterback for now, but he will need to earn it and win the job over Brissett to hold the position for the regular season. To do that, Rivera wants to see Howell put together consistent play. Howell has shown some of that in his limited opportunities, such as the Cowboys victory, when he was able to self-correct his mistakes and change situations at the line of scrimmage. He will see those challenges in camp, and Rivera, as well as the rest of the offensive staff, are looking forward to seeing how he overcomes them.