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Ron Rivera | Howell's touchdown to McLaurin 'as good as it could be'

Screenshot 2023-09-18 at 3.39.31 PM

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media on Sept. 18. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On his thoughts from watching the game film:
"I saw some good things and I saw some bad things, some things that we can most certainly correct, control and some things that we did very well."

On QB Sam Howell and the offenses' Week 2 performance:
"I thought Sam handled some things very well. You know, there were some really good opportunities we had, he made some real good decisions early in the game, we moved the ball. Unfortunately, we weren't [as] consistent as we needed to be, whether it was we dropped a ball, whether it was we missed a block or we got a penalty and then we missed a kick, that was disappointing. I mean, at worst at one point we should have been down eight, it should have been 14-6, something like that. Everything that happened, everything that we did wrong is easily corrected, and that's one of the things that we've got to do. As far as Sam was concerned, as I said, he did some really good things early on, a couple mistakes, he could've gotten rid of the ball sooner. But in the second half, that's the things that we saw that were really positive, was that you saw him make that decision to throw the ball away, you saw him make the decision to be very forward in terms of just tucking it, running and sliding, doing those things are starting to show us the growth that we're looking for in his decision making. That's always good to see. He threw some really good balls. I mean, the touchdown he threw to [TE] Logan [Thomas] was as good as it could be, the touchdown throw he threw to [WR] Terry [McLaurin] was as good as it could be. I mean, those are the things that you see because now he's anticipating, he's throwing people to the ball in terms of the one he threw to Terry, you could almost say he helped throw Terry open into the area, that he needed to be. Of course it was a hell of a catch. I mean, both [McLaurin's] his and Logan's were terrific touchdown catches."

On if Howell's two touchdown passes were due to growth or his mindset:
"I think it's both, a guy's mindset that he can go ahead and he can make those plays and then his ability to anticipate to see where the defender is. I mean, he obviously saw that Terry was in position to run by these guys, and if he laid it out, Terry would go get it and that's exactly what I thought happened with Terry's. As far as Logan's was concerned, the one that I saw was a separation between the two defenders and so the ball was thrown in front to lead him just in the position to catch it. Unfortunately, [S Kareem Jackson] the guy took a shot, but again, it was a well thrown ball, a well-timed ball, and I thought the anticipation on that was very good as well."

On RB Brian Robinson Jr.'s in-game adjustments:
"I think one of the things that they've been working on with him is really been just being patient, being patient, being patient and sometimes being patient means to stutter your feet and you can get a little anxious and instead of waiting for that crease or anticipating that crease developing, he hits it where he probably didn't need to. I think as he settled in and you saw it later on, he had a couple of really nice runs and you could see him be patient and then hit it and as he hit it, you could see the separation between the blockers and the creases were there. Part of that was not just his frustration with himself, but upfront, we've got to be consistent as well to give our backs an opportunity to be successful."

On if DE Chase Young's performance emulated his rookie year:
"To your point, he did remind me [of] a lot of the things from his rookie year. First of all, he was so excited to get back out on the field, we had to really kind of try to temp him the best we could. A couple times he popped out there when it wasn't his time to rotate in. But, we tried to maintain that with him as good as we can. Secondly, I thought he did show his explosiveness. There were some times where you saw him just flat out win on his own and the [Denver Broncos] quarterback [Russell Wilson] just barely get the ball out on time and then you saw his persistence in terms of countering coming back underneath and then getting his first sack. That was good to see. Then there were a couple times, especially in the Red Zone when we needed him and [DE] Montez [Sweat] came through together where they met at the quarterback, that was a lot of fun. So you start to see him get back into it, I think he's got to work a little bit on his communications with the tackle that he's rushing with, so that, again, hey, I'm going to go up and under, I'm coming inside, cover me and those types of things. So, he's got a little work to do but it's great to see because first of all, he's in great shape, he kept himself in great shape. He worked at his craft while he was waiting for his opportunity and so right now his return to play isn't going to be one of those where you just keep waiting for it to come. I think he's where he needs to be and he'll just keep getting better, I believe in terms of his performance and his working with his teammates."

On positivity from the fanbase impacting the locker room:

"First of all, at the end of the game, just hearing our fans that showed up, get behind us, that was a nice little shot in the arm, a little boost. The guys do feel it. I also kind of thought the resilience we showed, and scoring the touchdown, getting the two-point conversion, then kicking the field goal, coming off on the side, the fans that were there, the Washington Commander fans, I could hear them over the Broncos fans. As we were jogging in, you could hear them saying, hey, you're just a touchdown down, way to come back, keep it going. You could hear it, you could hear it in Denver's Stadium. That to me was really telling, that we had some great support there as well."

On how important it was for Young to already match his sack total from 2021:

"I think it was very important. I think it was kind of probably on his mind. Once he got it and got that sack out of the way, his first play, now there's no pressure, there's no expectation or anticipation. Now he just goes out and plays, and that's what I thought he did in the second half. It's one of those things that you want to be able to finish and he did. He did on his first opportunity out there, playing this past weekend to finish. [He] walked away with one and a half sacks. That was pretty good for him. I'm very happy because of the amount of work he has put into it, how hard he worked in this off season, how diligent he was doing the things that was being asked of him. Things bode very well for him, in my opinion."

On what he made of LS Cameron Cheeseman's botched snap and how many long snappers are coming in:

"The biggest thing more than anything else was a little disappointed in the very first snap. It's crazy because you go back and look at the rest of it snaps and they were pretty good, but this is something we have to do because it can't happen every week because it could cost you a game. It really could have. Part of it is you don't want it to affect anybody else. If we look at it that, hey, we need to have an insurance policy, if we need to do something, we're going to do it because it's what's best for this football team. That's what we're looking at. We've talked about some options. One of the options is we're going to have a little information gathering tomorrow. We're going to bring in a few players, give them an opportunity to show us what they're capable of, and we'll take a look and go from there."

On why Cheeseman is not performing as well compared to last year:

"To be quite honest, it is just his inconsistency, which seems to just show up once in a while. The thing we can't have is we can't have it show up because the last thing you want is to have it cost you a point or two or three. That could be the difference in a football game. That's something that we have to be prepared to protect ourselves against. As I said, because of that, we had conversations and we're going to decide on some things and go forward, but again, we're going to do what we really believe is best."

On if Young's communication with the tackles is developed through practice:

"It does. I think it is because you do get reps, you get to work with each other, you communicate. [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] does a great job. Him and the assistant coaches on defense do a great job in communicating how certain types of rushes are incorporated in some of the coverages. Understanding what the coverages are for being alert and understanding down and distance, recognizing formation and communicating, hey, this is an empty set, hey, this is a mobile quarterback you've got the a gap. You've got to be alert for that. That's all part of what they have to continue to work on and continue to communicate as the game progresses. The only way you do it is getting those types of reps. For the most part, Chase hadn't gotten any padded pack practice reps for a while. Last week was the first time he got it. He really showed us that there were some really good things that he was doing. Come Wednesday, we expect him to have some real good practice reps, communicate really well with one another and continue to build up his confidence and develop that rapport you need to be able to work with. [It] doesn't matter which tackles in the game or which ends in the game, or which linebacker you just know you're ready to work with everybody."

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