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Ron Rivera | Benjamin St-Juste has 'a lot of confidence'


Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Aug. 7. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On working out punters today after practice:

"Well, it's just out of abundance of concern. Just wanna make sure. [P] Tress [Way] has got a little tightness in his lower back, so we just wanna bring a couple guys in, get a chance to watch them." 

On if they expect P Tress Way to play in the first preseason game:

"Yeah, he'll play in the first preseason game. 

On if they were working out long snappers too:

"Well, when you bring punters in and you wanna make sure." 

On QB Jacoby Brissett working with the first team today for the first time:
"At some point he's going to have to work with them, just so he gets to know them and they get to know him. We started talking about that the last couple days, trying to figure out when would be a good opportunity to do it. One of the things that [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator] Eric [Bieniemy] and [Quarterbacks Coach] Tavita [Pritchard] thought this would be a good one with the 10, 10, 10 practice today and so we went ahead and gave 'em the last couple in each period." 

On QB Sam Howell getting most of the first team reps:
"Well, I think the biggest thing is with the OTAs and mini camps that we've had, everybody's got an opportunity to get a lot of reps more so than anything else." 

On Brissett's experience and if you can trust him to get acclimated sooner:
"It is a little bit different. It is. You know, Jacoby is a veteran guy and him getting acclimated happens a lot quicker than younger guys, obviously. And that's one of the things that I think bodes well for a guy like Jacoby being part of your quarterback room. He doesn't need the total number that we've been trying to get Sam at." 

On alumni being around more since the sale of the team and the benefit of that:

"I think that's important. I really do. You know, when I was in Carolina, that was something that one of the major concerns that [Former Carolina Panthers Owner] Mr. [Jerry] Richardson wanted to always have and I know [Carolina Panthers Owner] Mr. [David] Tepper picked that up as soon as he got there as well. So, having these guys realize and recognize that we appreciate the legacy that they've sent and the more opportunities for our guys to interact with those guys, I think that that's a lot better just because they understand what it means. I think also with the fan base reacting the way they have the last couple of weeks, I think having those guys tell a man when we were doing our things, when we were rolling, boy, they were here behind us and we hope you guys do that too, so that I think is pretty cool. I also think it's something our guys need to hear because I think that helps them." 

On what he is looking for to round out the wide receiver room:

"Well, basically out of the guys that'll fill the back end of that room, you're looking at guys that have first of all position flex that can play just more than whether it's the Z, the X or the zebra. They've gotta be able to play all three of those spots or two of those three spots. Then secondly, you are looking for specific skill sets depending on which we feel is gonna be the one that we'll probably need a little bit more help at. Is it a guy that can go vertical or is it a guy that's very quick and shifty underneath? Or is it a guy that's physical can come down and block? I mean, those are the three attributes that I know we'll be talking about, we'll be looking at when it comes down to who those guys are gonna be for us." 

On height in the wide receiver group or if they will look at the tight end group for that:
"Yeah, we could. I mean to answer your questions directly, yes. But one thing that we've really liked, and I think you guys have seen it, but [WR] Dyami [Brown] has really stepped up his game and I think now being in a situation where he's very familiar with Sam, I think that's helped Dyami. He can fill that role as far as the big receiver. Again, remember one of the things that stood out when he was coming out was that he led the NCAA in contested catches."

*On TE Logan Thomas and his level of concern: *"You know, he's a guy that we wanted to be careful with first and foremost. So the thing that we've gotta be aware of is just he is an older guy. He is coming off an injury. Yes, it was two seasons ago, but you can't be too careful, especially in this situation and in this offense knowing just how vital the tight end is to this offense. You know, we've gotta be very smart about that."

On the growth he has seen from CB Benjamin St-Juste:
"Oh, wow. A lot of confidence. He's now into the system three seasons and you see him play with confidence. You see how sure he is of his technique. How much stronger he is. He's a good physical corner for us with good length and so that's, that's kind of cool. I think it'll be very helpful."

On what you see on the field when a player starts to get confidence:
"I think as a coordinator as a play caller it gives [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] confidence knowing that we can design something that will highlight and feature his ability. We can design or highlight something that obviously will play to his strengths and allow us to do some things differently and that's one of the things that's been really good. The other thing he's done a nice job too is he's gone from corner to nickel seamlessly. That's something that we're really pleased with because again, you know, this game is a game of matchups and we get in certain situations, you know, would we be able to match him up in the slot? Well, depending on who it is. Absolutely."

On what he's thought of LB Khaleke Hudson's camp so far:
"Oh, I thought Khaleke has done some really good things. He's flying around. Very positive attitude. Very good approach to everything and he's learning more than just the one position now. You know, and in light of some of the things he did last year, especially in the last game of the season. We've noticed. We've noticed an improvement and we've noticed a guy also just playing with confidence as well." 

On if the confidence they are seeing in St-Juste makes them more comfortable to move him back to the slot:
"I think it does. It does. You know, you sometimes guys going into the slot, they're not as willing. They play a little more tight, a little more hesitant, a little more safe. And with Benjamin, man, you see the confidence in which he plays. And it's not where he is just taking a shot or anything, it's just that he's really in line, in tune with the techniques and the guys that he's working with around him."

On the rule change of keeping a third quarterback on the roster for gamedays:
"Well, we've kept a third guy in the past, so that's always a possibility for us very much so and I do think it is a good rule. It's a positive rule, and I get it. I mean, nobody wants to see what happened last year in the playoffs. That was very unfortunate because I would've loved to have seen a really, really close game. I really would've. It was an outstanding playoff season last year and it was, to me, the two best teams last year played in the Super Bowl and that's what you really wanna see. But I would've much rather seen a closer NFC championship game."

On the difference in confidence in St-Juste:
"I think experience, age, health. Last year, he was struggling obviously. I think this year he cam in and worked with our strength and conditioning staff. Has worked with our training staff. He's been working on formulating plans in terms of workout plans, warmup plans, recovery plans, just to keep himself in the best position health wise to stay on the field and that's important. Again, I think it's also part of, it's just becoming a veteran and understanding that the guys that play a long time in this league have those kinds of plans. You know, they come out seven, eight minutes earlier before everybody else. They stay a little later. They do the little lecture things. Spend a little bit more time in the training room. Get here earlier in the morning. They leave a little bit late doing those things to help extend their careers and I think that's where he is."

On G/T Saahdiq Charles:
"No update in terms of when he'll be back. I just know that he's progressing and doing the things that he needs to do to get himself healthy again."

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