Head coach Ron Rivera and multiple players spoke to the media after the Washington Football Team's 22-7 win over the New York Giants. Here a look at what was said during their press conferences.
Terry (McLaurin) got 1,000 yards and Antonio (Gibson) has 1,000 yards rushing, what does that mean to have guys set that milestone?
"Well, I think it's really a good testament in terms of the physicality of your offensive line more so than anything else. I think that sets a really good tone and template for who we want to be as a football team going forward. You need to be able to run the ball and run it successfully throughout the season, but Antonio's really good. He missed a game, so he was able to do it in 16 games and that was good. It was really good for him. It was kind of neat because you saw him in the locker room when we talked about it, how confident and comfortable he was with himself and just really how much that unit has stuck together and done that kind of a job as far as the blocking to get a guy to rush for 1,000 yards."
You're able to win your last game of the year for the second year in a row, but how different does this feel compared to a year ago?
"Well, this was a little disappointing just because we had a tough stretch, and we couldn't make hay during that tough stretch because if we had, we could be waiting to see what happens later on today and that's unfortunate. The best thing about it though is the way the guys rallied around each other, came out and played for one another and really helped us set the tempo and the tone going into the offseason and going into next season."
Going back to Antonio too, because you want to build off of what he does, right? Was there a difference in his patience and decisiveness on some of his cuts today?
"Yes, I thought he made a couple of really nice decisions. Unfortunately, it was that last time he carried when he went to try to make that cut, if he doesn't slip, he might get into the end zone. I think he's really grown a lot. I think what (Washington Running Backs) Coach (Randy) Jordan and (Washington Assistant Running Backs) Coach (Jennifer) King have done with him this year in terms of his growth has been really good to see. It really has."
When you talk about today, it's a long season, guys played a pretty big schedule. Can you talk about the mentality to go from the beginning of the season and now?
"Well, you know the biggest thing learned more so than anything else is really just the resilience of these young men. Again, as I said, this is a very difficult time, not just for football players but for society itself. You're going to have problems. You're going to have issues and it's just a matter of being able to rely and lean on one another and hopefully be able to come out on top."
You were able to get Terry McLaurin to 1,000 yards today. How important was that to get him there just for all he's done this year?
"Yeah, we wanted to get him that. It's a big accomplishment. It's his third year and he's got two of them already. It's huge and it just shows. He's gone through, what, seven, eight or nine quarterbacks, so it's a testament to him, how hard he works and how good of a player he is. It was kind of a big emphasis this week."
You can't pay attention to exactly how (Washington Running Back) Antonio Gibson is running, but do you feel a difference in him as a runner today compared to just the way he finished off today?
"He's been running that way all year. He runs hard and again, it's just a testament to our offensive linemen today. They were just getting those guys going and the holes were open. So it was really fun today handing the ball off and looking back and seeing those holes opening and seeing them hit it hard, so they did a great job."
I realize the game is still fresh, but this season as a whole for where you were last year, what does it mean to even be at this point?
"Yeah, I think I hit on it this week with you guys—it's been a dream come true. I've wanted to start in the NFL since I was, you know, five, six years old, since I started watching the game, so for this to happen it's been a dream come true and hopefully I'll get another opportunity whether it's next year, the year after that, somewhere, I don't care, I just want to keep playing ball. I can be starter, backup. I just want to be a part of a team and help that team in whatever way I can."
Can you take us through the hit you had on the 4th-down play?
"I was just simply doing my job. On that particular play, I was supposed to come off of the edge and I just so happened to notice that he [Giants WR Alex Bachman] was trying to come right off of there with a quick jet-sweep and they tried to get a first down, so I might as well just shoot off of the edge and make a play."
Was it a nice note to end the season on?
"Definitely; it was definitely a good note to end the season on. Of course, it didn't go the way we wanted it to, it didn't go the way I wanted it to, but going forward, you always have to just use your mistakes as fertilizer and continue it to grow. That's all you can do."
What are some of those things that you feel like you've taken a step forward with?
"Off-the-bat, play recognition; just knowing where I'm supposed to be whether it's in the run game or in coverage, and just knowing where I'm supposed to be in general and just being out there to just play fast and not have any second thoughts about where I am supposed to be."
What does it mean to get 1,000 yards?
"Everything. It's not easy. It took me to the last game to get there. It's a blessing. I have some good people up front. I have good teammates. They didn't come out here and be like 'This is the last game.' We kept fighting. We wanted to end it with a bang, and we played physical out there."
How much was the 1,000-yard milestone on your mind before the game?
"I knew I had to get it. I'm not going to sit here and lie. It was one of those games where I said 'I'm going to come out here and rush hard, but at the same time, I'm not going to force it. If it happens, it happens. But I did have it in the back of my mind. I had my mind set to run hard today."
Did you know when you got it?
"Yes. I actually didn't want to, so I could keep running. Going into halftime, I saw the 71 on the board right as I was going in. I said, 'Alright I'm almost there.' Then the last drive, I broke two 10-yard runs, and then after that third one, I knew I got it."
1,000 yards -- what does it mean to you?
"It's a blessing to be able to do that just once in the NFL, let alone twice. I don't think I could really do that without the guys that are in the locker room, from the quarterbacks, to the O-line, to the other receivers. To be trusted to be the main guy is not as easy as it may sound, and you have to earn it every single day. That's been my mentality since I got drafted here, and I don't think that's going to change. I'm blessed to be healthy. I thank God for the opportunity to be in this situation to do this. (Wide Receivers Coach) Drew (Terrell) always says that the next hardest thing to do is to do it again and keep that consistency. I just want to be consistent, get better coming into next season, and see what happens."
Did you know when you hit 1,000 yards?
"Yeah, I did. The guys were telling me all week, 'We got to get you to 1,000, you got to get to 1,000.' I'm not superstitious, but I didn't necessarily want to jinx it either. After the first drive, you got it, and it was cool. I mean, that means a lot to me that so many guys wanted me to get that milestone and the accolade. I feel like it says a lot about the trust they have in me and just the way they support me, so I really appreciated that."
How nice was it to have that 17th game because you were pretty close last week?
"Yeah, I mean, shout out to the 17th game, right (laughs). You've just got be able to be prepared to play all of them, and that's probably one of the most proud things that I have going into this offseason. Not only have I played in all the games, I'm playing north of 80 snaps. I remember when Coach Rivera and the staff got here, they said, 'If you want to be the main guy in this offense, you have to be able to do that and carry the load.' Hats off to our training staff and our strength staff too, they kind of keep me right during the season, and the people outside the building who also helped me keep my body right throughout the season."
Two interceptions today; what did it mean to end the season like that?
"That's big, man. Going into the last game, you know that you're not playing for a playoff spot and just coming out playing with pride and playing just together as a team. We know that this is the last time that this team will be together, and it's big to end on a high note and end it especially on a win."
I don't know what you thought your role would be necessarily when you arrived, based on how you were then and how does it feel to be kind of in that starting role throughout the year?
"Just playing football, man. Honestly, I've been doing this my whole life [playing football], so this isn't all that new. It's just playing football, coming into a new team, and this is my first time being on a new team, so the art of not knowing was there. We finally came into our own and just earning a spot and playing with the guys, playing with #31 [Washington S Kamren Curl] and #26 [Washington S Landon Collins], those two guys are incredible. Us three together, like we said earlier, that trio is tough to beat. We didn't have our best day sometimes, but we stuck together and we just rocked out."
Charles Leno just signed an extension the other day and your name was kind of brought up as someone who might be next, do you want to sign an extension here? Is that a possibility?
Yes, of course, I'd love to stay with Washington, but we'll see how it goes, and like I said, I'd love to be here in Washington, I really like the coaches here, the players here, and all of the guys, but business is business. Everybody understands that and teams don't stay the same, so I'm just putting it all up to God now. I want to be here.