Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Aug. 3. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
On having a lighter practice today:
"The biggest thing more than anything else, try and change it up for these guys a little bit. Come out. We had a real good week last week, then coming in this week, three hard days in a row, and we thought we'd back it off a little bit today in terms of the tempo, taking the pads off. We'll have the pads back on tomorrow and we expect them to come back with a little bit more energy and a higher tempo practice for sure."
On the offense progressing through camp:
"Yes, and quite honestly, all the plays have been beyond basic. And the reason being is [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator] Eric's [Bieniemy] throwing a lot at them. He's not piecemealing it and he's not starting from the bottom. We're learning and we're learning quickly. A big part of it's what we accomplished during OTAs at minicamp. You know, we had a lot of stuff thrown at him during OTA's and minicamp. I thought the guys handled it very well now coming into this thing, the biggest thing was pick up where we left off. What's the retention? They did a nice job coming back and practicing and playing at full speed."
On if he is excited to watch the Hall of Fame Game tonight:
"Oh yeah, most certainly. It is kind of fun to have the season starting up in terms of, even though it is the preseason. It is one of those things that right now, this is the time where you come out, you develop, you grow. It's not where during the season where you got to go out and you got to slay the trick or you get eliminated. I mean this is different. So, this is really just still the growth period that you have during training camp."
On how important it is for players to recover on a lighter day:
"The biggest thing more than anything else is really about the recovery. We get the data, we get the analytics of what it takes during practice and how hard they're going. And when you start seeing the guys getting up in the orange and red areas, there's concern. So the timing of this practice worked out very nicely for us. We'll bring 'em down a notch. We'll take the intensity level off 'em a bit. The retention part there, what they've learned, that's probably the biggest thing that we're trying to get out of this. And so to see the things that we did, minimal mistakes today. There were a couple things that EB corrected on the fly that [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] corrected on the fly. But for the most part, I'm really pleased with the way they practiced with minimal."
On this camp being different due to the lack of distractions:
"The biggest thing more than anything else is, you know, during the last couple years, we've always tried to focus in on what's important. We try to stay in the moment of practice, in the moment of the game, and we really try to avoid that. So I think getting to where we are, the guys had a great reaction to everything. I think, but also there's still a task at hand just because things have changed, we still have to do our job, you know what I'm saying? It, doesn't mean you know that it's going to be any easier. It's still hard, very, very difficult. So we got to continue to keep our focus on preparation and getting ready for the season."
On if certain practices have been more intense than in the past:
"I think the guys see we've gotten better. You know what I'm saying? This is a different team, a different opportunity going forward. I think a lot of it has to do with just how the guys look at the outlook. I mean, defensively, we're four years into it and based on the way they played last year, based on some of the things that they've done in the off season, the guys feel really confident about that. Offensively, they see some of the things that we're doing. It's a little bit different. It's an opportunity to try and be a little bit more explosive in terms of getting the balls in their hands quickly try and see if these guys can be these guys. The run after the catch seems to be a big deal for what we can do with the explosive players we have."
On little things players have shown that highlights where they think the team is headed:"You know, I think a lot of it too is you see a lot of the communication, and you see it coming from the veteran guys. You see guys like [OT] Charles Leno putting his arm around the young guys and explaining some stuff and [C] Nick Gates and [OT] Andrew Wylie. I mean, these guys like that. And you see guys stepping up with leadership tones when they're talking to each other. [T/G] Sam Cosmi. Then you look at the defensive side and you see those four guys, the way they've worked together already, and it works right into the communications. You watch how they've accepted [LB] Cody [Barton] and how Cody stepped into the forefront of that group. And then the communications aspect of it that you see in the secondary. That's also been a real big thing and again, a lot of it having [S] Kam [Curl], healthy again and he and [S Darrick Forrest] working together I think it's a real good group. It's a real dynamic bunch."
On the result of players communication:
"I think limited mistakes. I mean, can you say, you know, based on what you've seen over the years that we've given up a lot of big throws over the top? No, we haven't, because they're communicating. Guys are making a lot of plays because they're communicating and I think again, I spoke to this a couple days ago, I think there's a maturity level now that you kind of hope for and look for to tell you that, hey, we're getting it, we're understanding what it takes."
On the left guard position and G Chris Paul's performance thus far:
"Well, I think it's going very well. I mean, just so you guys know, [G/T] Saadhiq [Charles] tweaked his calf and so Chris has gotten a couple more opportunities last two and a half days. He's been running with the one since it happened."
On OL Mason Brooks:
"I think Mason is one of those solid, solid guys that's, you know, gets overlooked because he only really had one year in the SEC at Ole Miss and I think he's a guy that the more he works, the better he's going to get. I mean, he's still a ways away, he's got a lot of work to do, but there is a good toughness, there is a good grit to who he is as a young player."
On what it takes for an undrafted player to make a team:
"Well, it is to be consistent. I mean, if he gets your attention, he's got to do it from that point on, he's gotten a lot of people's attention, you just got to do it from that point on. It's the same thing at any position, you know, is he consistent and then when he gets his opportunities to play, how does he play and is he ready to play?"
On DB Quan Martin's role at camp:
"Well, first I'll say, his role really isn't defined. Yes, we've had him working at a couple of spots, primarily not just the one spot, you know, but he's been doing some stuff with the nickel / buffalo position. He does some stuff at the safety spot. So he's continuing to work, continuing to get those opportunities. Um, yeah, but I wouldn't say we've defined it and said, this is who you are and stay there, because he does work with the different groups and you see him with the ones and the twos, and you've seen him also with some of the three work as well. We're just trying to get him as much work as we can. At the same time, we have a core of guys that we're trying to get him assimilated to so that he's now part of that group of guys."
On fan energy translating to the team:
"I think there is most certainly a difference, a different vibe, a different feel and obviously the sale, the franchise, has a lot to do with it. The exciting thing is that they're here, you know, and the players feel it, the players talked about it. I can remember when you we all started getting together, when we had rookie camp and some of the veterans came in and they saw this, this setup and thought, wow, it'd be something if we can put people in that stands for sure and then next thing you know, we're getting the people out here and then we see the energy, excitement they bring. I mean, I'm excited for tomorrow being a Friday, a few more people coming out and then as we get later into camp, seeing more people, and it's been really good for our guys. They really feel that they're behind us and that's one of the things that we got to do now. We got to go and do our part, we got to play good football, we got to win football games"
On status of T/G Saahdiq Charles:
"I think it's a day-to-day thing. I mean, it's something you hope and you want, but it is day to day."
On DT David Bada's injury:
"David tore his tricep. He's getting examined. We'll have an update for you guys. He did it yesterday, so you know, he's been examined and/or he is being examined and we'll see where that leads him."