Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on July 27. Here is a full transcript of his press conference.
On DT Daron Payne:
"A very minor thing. And again, it's just something that, you know, have to let the medicine take care of it."
On how DE Chase Young has looked:
"Oh, it's good to see Chase moving around the way he did. I mean, he's light years ahead of where he was last training camp. I think that's a big deal for us. I think the thing that you can really point to really is just remember last year we talked about how the defense was working on something different and how they were trying to get that zone match down? It's different now. You see them, they're comfortable, they're confident in it. I know [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] and them [the defensive staff] looked at it, made a couple adjustments to it and those players have just adapted it so quickly. I mean, they are so far ahead of where they were last season."
On how they are further ahead this year:
"Well, I think the communication aspect and understanding how to use the different tools that come with the defenses that Jack and the defensive coaches have worked on and put together. You know, 'cause these little tools that give them opportunities to read and check certain things and they seem to really have a good feel for that."
On the little things that are encouraging about Chase:
"Well, you see the get off first and foremost. Last year he was a little hesitant, a little tentative but last year it took him a while before he got out there completely. So, you see him moving around with a lot more confidence. You see him finishing as well. And that's the other thing."
On QB Sam Howell and how he is vibing with the offense:
"And I think that's a big part of it, is just developing the rapport that you need with your teammates around you more so anything else. I think as he gets more and more comfortable and they get more and more comfortable with him, that vibe really comes together and that's probably the important thing. I think there's a certain aspect to it where you've got to get past draft status. Okay. Because if that were the case guys that were taken in what the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth round people shouldn't be talking about apparently. I think it's all about what the player does and the proof will be in the pudding."
On the offensive line:
"Doing pretty well. The one thing is they got to get used to working with one another. You know, there's a couple of guys that are really working together and starting to develop that. Some of our young guys, some of our backup guys are gonna get opportunities as well. They have to develop that communication and that rapport with one another to be confident in the things that they need to do."
On the first day with fans:
"It was cool. It really was cool. It really was. I think one of the things that the players talked about was when somebody made a play, you could hear the fans get excited about it and guys come back to the huddle. They got grins on their faces and stuff like that. Their energy is part of what helps us."
On RB Brian Robinson Jr. catching more passes:
"Well, I think for all of our backs, you want to see these guys get opportunities to get the ball in space. Last year, Brian showed everybody, in space, he's a load. You watch what [RB] Antonio Gibson does when he's in space and he's elusive. He's a little bit of a slasher in space because he's got speed that people don't realize. I mean, this is a guy that ran a 4.3 coming out, so you know, these guys with the ball in their hands, they're good athletes. Give 'em a little bit of space, give 'em a little bit of room to build up some momentum and they become a load to tackle. So it's all part of what we're trying to accomplish offensively in talking with [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator] Eric [Bieniemy] is get the ball out quickly, get them in positions to make plays quickly and we'll go from there."
On the tight end room:
"I'm very impressed with that room. I mean, last year, you know, it's pretty much the same room. The guys were just younger and needed some experience. These guys got an opportunity to practice. Some of 'em got an opportunity to play a little bit more. Now, seeing them on the field has been really exciting as far as those things are concerned. So just continuing to get guys opportunities is probably the biggest thing we need to do."
On what he is looking for now compared to when practices get longer:
"Well, now it's all about the conditioning. You know, that aspect of it will come because as practices get extended, guys get a little more fatigued. The thing about when guys get fatigued, now you see mistakes start to increase unless they're in shape. Unless they're in condition and you really can't ever simulate playtime through practice but, that'll be the first step in terms of getting guys in game shape."
On the team meeting with new ownership:
From my understanding it went very well. They met with a group of guys at lunch and then they met the entire football organization as far as that was concerned. I thought it was good. I thought both [Managing Partner] Mr. [Josh] Harris and [Limited Partner] Mr. [Mitch] Rales got up and expressed for the most part what their standard is, what their expectations are and their beliefs and philosophy. So, I think that was really good for our guys to understand how the ownership feels, how that group expects certain things and that. I believe they're setting a very high standard for us."
On what Bieniemy has implemented at practice:
"Well, I think one of the things that, when you watch Eric, he moves from one position group to another. He's not just primarily focused on wherever the quarterback is. So I think that's one of the things that he's done very well. Secondly is, he's very expressive and very loud. He's got one of those piercing voices that you just know. Because of that, because he's very boisterous and demonstrative, he gets a lot of people's attention. I think that's something that is getting our guys' attention as far as that's concerned."
On WR Dyami Brown:
"Well, in this offense, and really anytime Dyami gets on the field, you do expect certain things. One of the things that he's, you know, was noted for coming out of North Carolina was he was known for the ability to catch the ball in traffic. He led the NCAA in contested catches. He was also one of the top guys in the deep balls thrown as well. So, we're expecting and anticipating to get that from Dyami. We got a little bit of it last year. Wish we had gotten more because he is an explosive guy with good speed."
On OL Sam Cosmi and his position flex:
"I think it's gonna work very well for him. I mean, here's a guy that has the ability to play both inside and outside as far as guard or tackle. I think 'cause he is astounded in his athletic ability, will help us. And I think that'll be a plus and for him also. We've got him just focusing on the one position. And I think so far it's gone very, very well."