Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media on Monday following the team's 34-31 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Here are some notes & quotes from his press conference.
-- It was clear that rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. had a rough day against AJ Brown, who had nine catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns while primarily working against Forbes. Rivera said he spoke with Forbes right after the game to see if he was OK and his head was in a good space. The Commanders still have confidence in Forbes, but the reality is that he's a rookie. Mistakes are going to happen, and it's his job to learn from them.
"They're gonna make mistakes, but they're gonna grow," Rivera said of young players. "A week ago, Sam [Howell] had some issues, and I thought he did a nice job coming out this week. I expect Emmanuel to learn from what just happened."
-- While the defense has talent, it's also had lapses that led to the unit allowing an average of 400 yards and 34.7 points over the last three games. Rivera said that comes down to two things: explosive plays and turnovers. The team is working to fix both.
"We've gotta get takeaways. It's a big part of what can help us win football games," Rivera said.
-- As Rivera alluded at the start of his press conference, Howell performed much better compared to Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He accounted for 330 total yards and completed 71% of his passes, which even in defeat is an encouraging sign. Among the things that stood out to Rivera was how quickly he got rid of the ball. He had a strong grasp of what the Eagles' defense was trying to do to him, and his consistency showed up often.
-- It was also not a surprise to Rivera that Howell played well.
"I was expecting Sam to play well. He's a very resilient, very tough-minded young man. He bounces back very well at a lot of things. With him, you're going to have some really good positive...moments, there's going to be some tough moments, there really are, but there's going to be some really good moments as well. So yesterday was a sampling of a pretty good moment."
-- As has been said countless times by now, the Commanders played well but did not feel as if there was a moral victory on Sunday. Rivera said that people have told him impressed they were with the Commanders hanging with the Eagles, but his response is, "Hell, we didn't win."
"They [the players] played hard. They played their hearts out," Rivera said. "They wanted to win, and I think in every case, I believe they expected to win. They really did. Not getting the W is a hard pill to swallow, and I think... that's really what the sense is and what the meaning is that there was no moral victory."
The Washington Commanders have begun warming up at Lincoln Financial Field for their Week 4 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
-- Turning the page to Washington's next game against the Chicago Bears, Rivera said the 0-4 squad is "hungry to win."
"They have a very talented young quarterback [Justin Fields] who's dynamic and explosive. Last year he gave us hell, we can't allow that to happen. We've got to be disciplined. We've got to play our game. This is, again, a young team that's growing and developing. They were a couple years back. I like who their quarterback is. I really do. I think Justin's a heck of a young man."
-- Rivera also added that Fields can be a "dynamic" player, particularly with his legs.
"He had a couple of big explosives in terms of throwing it downfield after scrambling around. Then he had a couple explosives last time we played him when he ran the ball. We have to be disciplined up front. We've got to be able to keep him contained, keep him in the pocket, and not allow him to get outside of it where he is very, very dangerous."