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Ron Rivera | 'I think they're focused, getting themselves ready, preparing'

Screenshot 2023-10-11 at 4.50.02 PM

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Oct. 11. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On the vibe around the team:
"Well, I think more so than anything else, I think they're pretty resilient about things. You know, they know that there are circumstances, situations that we can do better. I think the biggest thing more so for these guys is really just the way they're approaching this week so far. [They] came out and had a good practice today. I think they're focused, getting themselves ready, preparing, so I'm not concerned about that."

On the atmosphere around the team being about the one game at a time approach:
"We get it as a one game approach. I mean, we've got 12 games left but you can only play them one at a time. So that's our focus. You know, this week we've done nothing but talk about Atlanta. We haven't looked ahead. We've stayed right where we are and that's preparing for these guys."

On if he counsels QB Sam Howell on taking better care of his body in-game:

"Well, I think the biggest thing more than anything else with him is just understanding you can't take those kind of hits all the time. You've got to understand when you can dump the ball and when you got to get down to protect yourself more so than anything else."

On how to get the defense to start faster:
"Be better on third down. When you come out into a series and you have two third downs, the third-and-double digits, you've got to be able to stop them and that's something we didn't do a very good job of."

On what about this team gives him confidence about the rest of the season:
"Well, I think first of all, the people, the players we have, I think the personnel. I think we're in a good spot there. It's just now a matter of putting it all together. I mean, we feel we've got some pretty good pieces to the puzzle. But now you've got to put the puzzle together. You've got to make sure everything fits and then go out and do your job. That's probably the biggest thing we've got to do."

On if he worries about getting into too big of a hole in terms of the teams record:
"No, because we're only going to play them one at a time. So, the only hole you can get in is if things don't go well this week. So, we're staying focused on just the fact that we're getting ready for Atlanta."

On DL Efe Obada's progression:
"He's progressing very nicely. He's been around, he's been in the meetings, he's been out watching the walkthroughs, so his mental take of it is very good. Once they cleared him to start conditioning, he's been doing a great job at that. He really has. So, he was out at practice today, moved around very, very well. We're really pleased."

On the fine line between playing the best defensive lineman and having an excessive snap count with certain players:
"I think that's a big part of it is not just being fresh to begin with, but you want to be fresh when you get down to the stretch when it comes to crunch time and that's part of the idea behind this."

On the message behind adding a "Do Your Job" sign in the locker room:

"Do your job, that simple."

On why he thought the sign was important:

"I think looking at the tapes, watching the games, our previous five games, looking at some of the stuff that I read, the numbers, there's obviously to me, there's a sense and a feel that we're not doing the things we need to do. We're not doing enough. We got to do everything that's involved with your job and that's kind of the emphasis."

On how coaches can help players do their job better:
"Well, I think a lot of it is just about the way we practice, about the way we prepare, and then going out and playing."

On evaluating Howell's progression:
"I think first, obviously there's the analytics. Everybody's got numbers and everybody wants you to see their numbers. We've taken numbers that we get from different sources and we take the numbers we get from our people and we break them down and look at them, compare them. Based on what we're looking at, we feel pretty good about Sam's development and growth. Obviously, he's played some really, really good games and he's had a couple of downers. It's unfortunate because there's a lot of categories where he is in the top 10 and two of them that are very unfortunate have been the turnovers and the sacks. That's something we have to as a unit collectively reduce and I think everybody is culpable in that situation, whether it be on the opposite side or coaching. I mean, we all have to take a share in that. But for his growth and development, a lot of things point in the right direction for us. I think the big thing for us now, and I said it a little earlier, is we feel really good about the pieces now. We just got to make sure we put the puzzle together and make sure everything fits. That's what we have to do, we've got to play better in some areas, areas that we've looked at and talked about."

On balancing development versus trying to win games with Howell:
"So far for us, we have felt that in a couple of games that got away from us. We felt keeping him out there is a good opportunity for him to learn and grow. That was done in conversation with [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator] Eric [Bieniemy] and how he felt about it. Just thinking that every opportunity for him to get a snap is growth for us. That's kind of how we've looked at it. To your point there may be a time when it gets like that, but right now it's about his growth and development. We want to win everything we do, every game we play. That is obviously the goal."

On what he has seen from the 2022 draft class:

"I think the truth of the matter is looking at any group after a year is way too early to draw a conclusion. I really do mean that. It's funny how, and again, I said this at a previous press conference, back in my day, there was no rush and hurry to force guys out on the field. There was this growth and development period where guys took a little bit of time. Some people still do that. Some people still think that way before they throw guys to the wolves. Sometimes you feel that's what happens when you've got to put young guys on the field. To me it's kind of rash if you look at it that way and start judging it based off of limited opportunities or time."

On if a sign in the building has a tangible effect:

"For a certain type of person? Yeah. But to me you look at it and it's the obvious. I'm stating the obvious. That's the truth of the matter. That's what we're paid for, is to do our job, to do it to the best of our ability. We talked about that on Tuesday morning and I was very blunt about it. I just think that we have to buck up. We got to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask and I think that's important."

On if CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr.'s workload will change at all this week:

"We'll see. How he handles this situation and circumstances is important for him. It's important for us to see and see how he handles a lot of things. We'll continue to work, he'll work, as will the rest of the DB's and we'll see how things go."

On how Forbes Jr. looked in practice today:

"He looked good. There were some things obviously that you could see. He was really focusing on. You could see the work during the individual drills. A couple things that he did off to the side with one of the coaches. Then on the actual practice field, when he got his opportunities there were some things that you could see he was focusing on."

On how the offense gets the ball to WR's Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel more:

"I think a big part of it is how the offense is schemed. How each play has a progression. Where he starts the progression is based on what he initially reads. To get the ball to guys, specific guys, you can scheme up most certainly. I know that's some of the things that Eric [Bieniemy] does. I think that it's just a matter of, again, decisions that Sam [Howell] makes during those progressions."

On if that is a conversation he has had with Howell and Bieniemy or if he lets them work it out:

"No, it's a conversation that you do have. Because again, when you're looking at the numbers and you're talking about the impact that each guy has and their ability to have a big impact that, 'Hey, what can we do? How can we do it? What can we do better?' Those are conversations that were had."

On how to get back to playing complementary football:

"Having the side that's not playing well play better and focus on the things that they haven't done well. I can remember last year some of the things that we went through. We asked, 'Hey we got to do a little bit more of this with focus on taking care of that.' This year we looked at a bunch of things and thought these are some of the things that we got to be better at. We're working on those things."

On if the lack of run/pass balance is due to not playing complementary football:

"Part of it has a lot to do [with that]. Again, in talking with Eric [Bieniemy] it's really about how the games have gone, the flow of the game. We've had a couple games where the flow's been really good, you see a little bit more balance. Again, it comes down to exactly what you said. If you're playing complementary football in all phases, the game is in a better scoring situation as opposed to being down by a couple and trying to catch up."

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