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Ron Rivera | Emmanuel Forbes is 'a very smart, diligent young man'


Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on July 29. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On what he saw today from the fans at practice:
"Well, in light of the past three seasons, it was truly incredible. It's truly amazing and exciting. I mean, first of all, I really appreciate, we really appreciate the fans. First and foremost, I know it's always been there. They've always been there, and they've always been supportive, especially when we've been out in the community and stuff. But lately now with the way things are, with the opportunity for them to come out here and knowing that this is where we are at training camp, to see them come out in force today, that was excellent. That was outstanding. Our players really appreciate it. I know our ownership appreciates the renewed interest and stuff and I'm really appreciative of it."

On how he is looking at the season with the renewed spirit around the team:
"I think it's really cool just because now the focus, the primary focus, and answering questions really gonna be concerned about the football team, the X's and O's, what's going on on the field. I know there'll be questions eventually about the new stadium and about potentially who knows a new name. But I think the biggest thing is we can talk about the players and we can talk about what we're trying to do and how we're trying to get it done. I think that's probably the most important thing."

On where today falls in terms of excited for the team in his tenure:
"I think it's right near the top. I mean, because it's before the season, it's before we've gone through training camp and preseason games, so that's what's exciting. I know a lot of people go, oh, you know, well this teams been this and this teams that. Well, you know what this team was, now let's, let's talk about what we can become. That's what we've been talking to the players about all camp is about this is about trying to determine and establish who we are gonna be going forward. More so than anything else, you want to make sure that the culture's good, that the character on this team is good and then we're good as a football team, we're good as football players. That's what we're doing right now in training camps is trying to develop and grow these guys."

On what he is seeing from CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr. and what are the expectations heading into the season:
"I think realistic expectations are for him or at every opportunity he gets is to play and play well. He's a young man that works hard. He's a very smart, diligent young man when it comes to learning and trying to learn. He's got tremendous study habits. He does the things that he needs to do to put himself in position and then when you watch the way he plays, you see how he plays. He practices the way I believe he's gonna play and that's hard and smart."

On the expectations for Forbes Jr. making turnovers:
"Yeah, I mean, concrete numbers are unfair because a lot of it has to do with circumstances. I'm not comparing him to [New York Jets CB] Sauce Gardner, but you know, I know a lot of people expected a lot of things from Sauce. Well, sometimes people recognize it real quick and they don't throw the balls his way and then everybody's gonna know, well, how come he hadn't got those numbers? So, it's about how he can impact the game and impact the takeaways. You know, a big part of the reason why we have such an emphasis on takeaways is because analytically looking at us, looking at where we were, I think we were somewhere around 27th in turnovers and takeaway margin. The analytics show that a takeaway here or don't turn it over there and potentially, we could have won a game or two more and we know what happens if we had won a game or two more. So, the big thing that we wanna stress is the continued effort of protecting the football and taking the football away."

On the line for an offensive coordinator between taking what the defense gives you but dictating where the ball is going:
"Well, when you're taking what they're giving you, is it enough? Are you capable of moving the ball sustaining those drives by throwing the check down, by throwing the quick throws, by running the ball or every now and then, do you have to go ahead and try and make an explosive vertically? And that's where the fine line is. It is what you're taking, what they're giving you, is that enough to sustain it? And that's what's gotta be determined. You know, I go back to a couple games last year that we had where when we were running the ball very effectively on first and second down, and we kept putting ourselves in third and short situations, we became really good at converting a third and short. So that's what you've gotta be able to determine. And then if not, when do you take that vertical shot for the explosive? That's the other thing that as you look at it, you have to find that fine line because you can't come out and put yourself in the deficit right off the bat and go for a vertical. Next thing you know, you're second long because it's shown if you're in second and long, it's 39% chance that you're not gonna have success. It increases by 39 percent that you're not gonna have success. The turnover rate increases the non-con conversion rate increases. So again, you want to be good on first and second downs."

On how he felt about the distribution of targets between the wide receivers and running backs:
"Well, it is interesting because we are further along on the defensive side because we're basically in the fourth year with [defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio], probably the second full year in our match system in terms of coverage, our match zone, so we have a few more tools. A lot of these things our offensive guys are seeing for the first time because they don't see it commonly, they're not game planning for what we're doing on the defensive side as much as we're going out there and just playing what the calls are. But to that point, that's how you handle something new. You go out there, you play the call, you use the techniques that's been given to you and they should be able to handle pretty much what you're seeing. Now we have to learn how to do those things."

*On what he thought of QBs Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett today at practice: *"I thought it was pretty good. I know people say, 'Oh, Sam had two interceptions.' Well, on the first one he throws it and he gets hit and gets sideswiped and he doesn't complete the throw. The second one, the ball's tipped. We've gotta be better than that. I thought he made some decisions that were really good. I thought the direction he threw the ball is where he is supposed to. Now his accuracy -- he's got to bring that ball down a couple on some of the sideline throws that he had guys wide open. I thought Jacoby handled it pretty good as well. A couple times he tried to force a couple balls in. Thank goodness those balls were incomplete. But, overall I think they're both doing a good job. I think they're both showing that they're getting the grasp. We have a long ways to go. We're gonna continue with it one day at a time."

On if he thinks the increased fan attendance makes a difference for the players:
"Well, I think first and foremost is you see the energy levels up. Obviously, the guys are excited about it. You see that it brings a liveliness to practice. One of the really neat things -- I went up to [DE] Chase [Young] and I said, 'Hey, we're gonna have the kickers going. Can you see if we can get the crowd going?' And he went over and got the crowd into it. And that helps us. I mean, it simulates to a degree what [K] Joey's [Slye] gonna feel, what [K] Mike's [Badgley] gonna feel when they're out there kicking field goals and extra points. So to have them come in and have the fan base get involved in practice, it helps us. It brings a little bit of sense to what the live atmosphere can be like around here. And that's what's exciting for us."

On if LB Jamin Davis is still working his way back from the knee injury he dealt with during OTAs:
"Yes. I don't know if you noticed, but what [defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] has been doing is he's been using all different combinations of linebackers, and working those guys primarily in the first or second bunches. It's been the same thing with our nickel package, our Buffalo package, they've mixed all sorts of combinations of DBs back there too. We're gonna try and find the best set of guys and put them out there. But we're also going to have to be very cognizant of what potentially could be matchups. I mean, there may be times where you see [CB] Benjamin [St.-Juste] line up inside and other times it could be [CB] Kendall [Fuller] on the inside or it could be [CB] Danny [Johnson] or [CB Rachad] Wildgoose. It could be any number of guys that could be inside playing that nickel position. And then we turn around and we go and say, we're gonna play Buffalo. And you know, this week it could be [DB Jartavis Martin] Quan lined up as the Buffalo instead of [S] Kam [Curl]. It could be any number or combination of guys that could go down and play that position. So, Jack's got a great opportunity to see what tools we have and what combinations can work best for us."

On if he sensed some fatigue from guys after practicing in the heat for four days straight:
"You did. You saw a little bit of it. But the thing that I saw mostly was the focus and attention near the end of practice. We had a few too many mistakes. We had some illegal procedures. We had an offsides, we blew a couple coverages. We blew a couple routes, some assignments. And that's what our guys have to understand is you gotta build this callousness, this toughness to fatigue and the heat. And coming out here, that's where the fan base is important because now they get excited, they start cheering, the guys can get themselves refocused. I mean, like I said, I really appreciate it. I really do. And I hope the fans know how much they mean to us because we understand. I've said it before, I've played here back in the day and when this crowd gets going, it's about as good as any crowd in the NFL, if not the best."

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