Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Aug. 19. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
On injury status of limited players:
"They're just guys that got a couple of nicks and we're just trying to be careful. Again, the key to it more so than anything else is getting to Week 1 one of the regular season with our guys. And so, one of the things we've talked about myself and [Head Trainer] Al [Bellamy] and a couple of the others, is making sure that that's what we have these guys available for. These are not long-term things that we think these guys are going to miss anything. We just want to make sure that they're sharp and ready to roll. We've had a few good, really good weeks of camp and we're just trying to be really smart about some things. [DT] Jon Allen, he's just messing with plantar fasciitis, nothing serious right there. [T] Andrew [Wylie] was kicked in the calf the other day in practice, and so we want to be careful with that. We'll go from there with these guys."
On if knows the playtime for players playing Monday:
"No, we're going to discuss that tonight as a coaching staff. We'll go through all that stuff as to who's going to be available. We'll know that from Al and then we will talk about each players amount of playing time."
On the biggest areas of growth he is looking for over training camp:
"Just as a team overall. I wouldn't say just one area in particular. I just want to see everybody continue to grow. We may have had a couple units play really well, they've got to continue to do that with consistency. With somebody that didn't play as well, they've got to play better and we just want to see the continued growth."
On his conversations with Washington Commanders Managing Partner Josh Harris:
"They've gone well and they stand in a good situation."
On if he expects to start having discussions on new contracts with ownership:
"Those are all things that are all part of our discussion. And again, these are things that we talk about, we're working into. There's a lot to do and to assume anything's going to happen immediately is unfair because they are still learning and understanding us, and we're still talking with them and trying to get things lined up and in order."
On what the short-term priorities are from their conversations:
"Just continue to go forward with this football team."
On if he will follow an intense training camp with a ramp down period:
"Traditionally, and you guys have seen it every year, the last preseason game, that's kind of what it is for us. We spend more time just preparing our starters, primary guys for the start of the regular season. We get our young guys, the guys that we've got to see more from, they'll start focusing on that last preseason game, getting them ready for Cincinnati. And then we just go from there with the team once we play that game. We obviously establish the team and then they've got the week off which we will continue to do our work in terms of preparing for Arizona."
On how much time TE Logan Thomas needs to be ready to be back on the field:
"The biggest thing with Logan's going to be more about conditioning than anything else. He's been doing what he can as far as trying to keep himself conditioned. He's been working in the weight room with the strength conditioning guys as well. He's sharp. He's already up to speed on what we're doing offensively. And then once we get him back on the field it'll be about getting his timing with the rest of the guys on the offense, especially with the quarterback too."
On players or position groups he's keeping an eye on going into the last preseason games:
"There's quite a number of them. As you look at all the guys that are out there, especially the backups who are going to be the primary backups. There's a lot of these guys that have really caught our eye. I mean, on the offensive line there's a few guys that we really want to pay a little bit more attention to as well. They'll get a few more opportunities in the next two games. That'll be really cool to really just watch them and see where their development and growth has come from as far as once we got started in OTAs and mini camps to where we are now."
On the University of California potentially joining the ACC and the state of the Pac-12:
"I'm really disappointed what happened to the Pac-12, just because that's one of the oldest conferences in the nation and one of the first ones too. For that matter, there's a tremendous legacy that's been built by a lot of guys. My concern is that West Coast football has lost its prominence in the NCAA and all the primary West coast teams that really helped to bring a lot of that prominence have left and have left a lot of people high and dry and stranded. And I'm disappointed in that because of the legacy that's going to really disappear. That to me is a tragedy. Imagine the outrage would be if something like that were ever to happen to an SEC or an ACC or something like that. I mean, these are longstanding traditional conferences that serve a purpose. And when you start taking the primary focus of West coast football out, I mean that to me that's terrible. It really is."
On if money is driving the change to the conferences:
"Well, there's a lot of things driving it, but obviously money is one of the primary reasons. I mean, let's, let's be honest because the Big 10 knew what they were doing. They wanted to get the two marquees out of the west coast or at least one of the marquees out of the West coast. And now they have a West coast audience to a degree. But it's not the same as when you have your Pac-12 and you've got all up and down the West coast watching. You're going to get the LA market for the most part is all you're going to get and then they'll go from there."
On if he has had goals in mind for certain points of training camp:
"To me, the joint practices was really one of my measuring sticks. Not just for the quarterback position, but for us as a whole. And to see where we have gotten to based off of that, I'm pleased with it. I really am. I'm very happy about it in fact. It's just now we've got to be able to maintain it. All these little nagging injuries that you see these guys have, now it's time to get past those and start gearing these guys up. I wish the list we have of guys right now, I hope they all are able to play on Monday night because it'd be good for everybody to get a shot, get one last bit of work and then start preparing the primary players, our starters, start getting them ready for the opening of the regular season. So, it's going to be real interesting to see how things unfold the next one or two days as to who is going to be available for us on Monday night."
On the what it was like naming QB Sam Howell as the starter:
"It is cool when you're able to tell the player something like that. But at the end of the day, it's really just as far as what we've been working towards. I mean, that's kind of the cool part about it because we kind of had some parameters, we had some benchmarks that had to be reached. And as we went through OTAs, minicamps, and right into training camp and the preseason game, and the joint practices, you know, he accomplished what we were looking for. And that was important because as I said, it was for him to lose. He did nothing that told us he wasn't ready. And again, it's not a knock on what [QB] Jacoby [Brissett] didn't do, it's just Sam did the things that we needed to see that would have him be our starter. So, I'm excited about it. Sam has really grown a lot and there's still room to grow and that's the best part. There's not a ceiling right now, we'll see how good he could become, but we're going to have to take it one day at a time, one game at a time. And you know, right now it's about getting him ready to play and face Baltimore. And then we'll go from there. But it is exciting. It's exciting for us as a football team and I think it's exciting for our fan base."