News | Washington Commanders -

Notes & Quotes | Rivera praises Howell's decision making, views performance as reason for optimism

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera speaks to members of the media at the end of an NFL football game, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 38-31. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera answered questions about Sunday's 38-31 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and the trade deadline during his Monday press conference. Here are some notes and quotes from his time with media members.

-- Let's get the biggest topic out of the way. Rivera was asked several times about possible moves the Commanders could make at the trade deadline. There have been several reports circulating about what could happen, but Rivera shot down any attempts to learn more about the team's intentions.

"Once we get past tomorrow, we'll probably have something to talk about."

-- Sam Howell had a career day against the Eagles, throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns on 39 completions. Rivera thought he got the ball out quickly and made good decisions. While he was smart with the ball for most of the day, Rivera also liked that he took some shots downfield.

"His command out there was really good. He checked a couple times, made some good decisions on those as well and did a really good job of getting the ball out of his hands on those decisions as well."

-- The Commanders are 3-5 through eight games this season after starting the year 2-0. Despite losing five of the last six games, the Commanders still have a shot to turn their season around with nine games left on the schedule. There are several things that give Rivera optimism for the team's future, starting with the quarterback position.

"I think when you start seeing the production that he's having, it's now time for us to go out and do the things that we're capable of, and I think we're more than capable of," Rivera said. "But again, we haven't shown it. That's something that we as coaches have got to make sure we're giving these guys every opportunity to be successful."

-- Emmanuel Forbes Jr. only played five snaps against the Eagles, one of which resulted in a touchdown by A.J. Brown. The touchdown was a glaring issue, but Rivera said the staff did see some improvements from the rookie.

Check out the top photos from the Washington Commanders' Week 8 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

-- The Commanders have had an up-and-down season so far, particularly on offense. Good performances from the unit are immediately followed up with head scratching plays the following week. On Sunday, the Commanders played one of their best games with 472 yards and seven third downs. The difference, Rivera said, was the team was able execute early and emphasized the offensive line.

"I think of the things that really stood out was the protection. I thought **Tyler \[Larsen\]** did a really nice job of setting the protections. I thought one the things that really went well was **Chris Paul** got his opportunity, and he was very stout at the point [of attack]. He really was. I thought he and Tyler really held the point really nicely. What that allowed was for Sam to hitch up and step into the throws."

-- Rivera also said he "absolutely" believes that the success Washington had on offense can be a template for success going forward.

"We saw it in the first time we played Philadelphia. We saw it in moments of other games, but we've got to get consistent there."

-- Rivera had a small update on Curtis Samuel, who left the Eagles game with a toe injury. The main concern has to do with Samuel's foot soreness, and the team will continue to examine and treat him further with the hope that it will subside.

-- Ricky Stromberg, who left the game with a knee injury, is awaiting results from an MRI.

-- Rivera said the defensive line has "had their moments" this season, but the group as a whole has not played up to expectations consistently enough.

"You see it, but you've got to see it all the time."

Related Content