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Ron Rivera | 'I think there's a lot of things that we can learn as a group from these guys'

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Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media on Aug. 13. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On any injury updates:

"They [DT Chase Young and DT Phidarian Mathis] didn't practice fully. With Chase, he self-reported a stinger during the game, and so through an abundance of caution, we have slowed him down just to be smart more so than anything else. He's got to get one more final exam so we can get him back out there. Everything has been fine. Again, we're just being careful because this was a self-reported stinger. I don't want to say protocol, but we have to follow the rules." 

On DT Phidarian Mathis status:

"He had tweaked his calf and he did come back in, re-entered the game and take his reps. Today he's a little sore. He was sore yesterday, sore today, and so the training staff wanted to slow him down a little bit. He did a few things and then we shut him down." 

On preventing injuries:

Probably the biggest thing more than anything else has been the weather. The weather being the way it was early in camp allowed for us to get a lot of conditioning in during camp and because of it, I think our guys have just been able to ride right through it. I think that's something that's been really helpful. We ramped it up gradually and as we got into the thick of things, the weather really cooperated as far as being cooler. These next few days are going to test us because the weather's going to be there and the intensity will ramp up." 

On WR Mitchell Tinsley and other wide receivers competing for spots:

"I think it's a very competitive young group of guys. We feel that we've got a good young core of guys that are competing for a position. Mitch has done a really nice job. There's a number of them that have really come out and done some good things. I think when you look at them as a whole and for what they've had to learn this year compared to some of the other things, that group of guys have really done a nice job." 

On importance of joint practices:

"That's exactly what it is, one of the things that the league has shared with us has been the analytics that they've gotten on the joint practices. They've found that teams that in the last few years have had joint practices, the injury rate weeks one through five in the regular season go down. They've had a lot fewer. That's one of the things that stood out when we talked about it. I did do it in the past and did feel that coming out of the gate we had a lot more intensity in terms of the way we approach things. I just wanted to keep it that way. Knowing that, especially with the injury rate thing, I thought that's real important." 

On the joint practices helping with slow starts to the season:

"I think so. I think it does give us a little bit more insight. I like the fact that we're doing it somewhere close, going against a team that's an established team. They've done a great job under [Baltimore Ravens Head] Coach [John] Harbaugh and I think there's a lot of things that we can learn as a group from these guys. That's why I'm excited about it. I do like the idea of having the intensity ramped up, be competitive for a couple of days. To your point also, that also means we can be smart with them as we get into the rest of the pre-season."

On if there is a group he is excited going against in Baltimore:

"I think that's important more than anything else is going against a group of guys you don't know. I think it's going to be one of those things that will kind of push our guys to have to be good about every little detail. They should be all the time, but now you're going against a group that you really don't know so there's a lot of things that you have to focus in on as you prepare." 

On coordinating with the Baltimore Ravens staff to run situations:

"Yeah, we've already done that. You know, myself and Coach Harbaugh had a conversation about mapping out how practice should look, the different periods that we would have. Then, we had the coordinators reach out and go through those and discuss what they wanted to see in each one of those periods that we've mapped out for the offense and defenses and special teams for that matter as well. So again, like I said, we just kind of mapped out what the practices will look like and then we had the coordinators kind of get into the details of what we needed to see." 

On Offensive Line notes from the Cleveland Browns preseason game:
"First and foremost, you know, as they got more comfortable, you started to see them settle down, see the communication really pick up, especially in that last drive. I think early on there probably were a couple of things that needed to be corrected. Especially some of the techniques, some of the individual techniques, about making sure we're getting a good vertical set. We're not opening our hips, we're lowering our targets, stuff like that. Those are detailed things that I think as these guys continue to work and work their techniques and work their communication together, I think they're going to improve. As I said, when you look at the third drive they were out there for, you saw some positive things, especially the way they finished it." 

On the Offensive Line as a whole:
"I like where they are. I think they've done some really good things. I think we've got some good quality, young quality depth. I think that bodes well for us and again, it's just the first preseason game. We've got a couple of practices coming up with Baltimore that are going to be very good for us to participate in and then as coaches get a chance to watch." 

On S Quan Martin's performance and adjustment in the Cleveland Browns preseason game:
"I think the biggest thing for Quan more than anything else was how hyped up he was. He played really fast, probably a little too fast at times. He settled in, I thought he did some good things. I saw he was very competitive, maybe overly aggressive a little bit, but he's a guy I think that's going to continue to grow and get better for us and the more he learns and more comfortable he gets within the scheme, you'll see more opportunities for him rise up." 

On DE Andre Jones Jr. and DE K.J. Henry performances in Friday's preseason game and on their future role:

"They'll be a work in progress. We'll see how it all goes. I mean, as I said, we've got two practices coming up, two games left to play and they're going to play a lot. We got to get a lot of answers from those two. In particular, I like who they both are. I thought they both played well for their first chance, first opportunities. I think it took a little bit for them to get used to the speed and then you started to see some really good things on tape. I mean, some real technical things as we break 'em down and watch 'em, you feel really confident that if they continue to grow within the scheme of things, they have a chance to help." 

On the interior offensive line:
"We've got three really good centers. I like him. I think [C/G] Ricky's [Stromberg] done a nice job so far. I don't know if you noticed today, but we started taking Ricky and [C] Tyler [Larsen] and started working them at guard for some position flex as well. Because you know, if you have a guy up as the primary backup, he's going to have to be flexible and be able to play more than one spot. So, we started doing that with both those guys, get them both back in the groove of playing guard in an emergency situation." 

On the cautious approach taken with DE Chase Young and TE Logan Thomas in the upcoming joint practices in Baltimore:
"It does, you know, just because the intensity level does ramp up and so as we do it, we want to make sure our guys get in, get their reps, and then get out and be real smart about how much we expose them to things." 

On WR Kazmier Allen in Friday's preseason game:

"Interesting. I think that's a good word I really do. He's a young dynamic guy that's got some explosion to him. He's got a lot to learn, he really does, because he kind of bounced around positions at UCLA, but the one thing that did stand out, obviously, is he is explosive. But as I said, he's got a long way to go. He really does. He's a guy that's going to take some time, but we do like him and we do find him interesting and intriguing."

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