Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Oct. 19. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
On the key to the receivers producing more:
"I think a big part of it, obviously, first and foremost, is continue to game plan to utilize these guys. Understanding that a lot of it's going to be based on personnel matchups, based on what [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy] EB and the offensive staff thinks is best for us in terms of creating those types of matchups. I don't disagree that getting the ball to them in space is very important because of their ability for yards after catch. I think part of it too is, again, getting the ball out of [QB] Sam's [Howell] hands quickly. Continue to work and try and be balanced as far as run and pass."
On what signs he has seen that show development in the offense for the receivers:
"When you have moments like that, it may not be all the guys at once doing it in the same game. One week it may all be [WR] Curtis [Samuel], another week it may be [WR] Terry [McLaurin], it might be [WR] Jahan [Dotson], it might be [WR] Dyami [Brown]. Or the tight end position for that matter. It just depends on the flow of the game and based on the calls and then the reads and the progressions."
On the challenge for LB Cody Barton relaying plays to the defense:
"You get the huddle call and you make the call. Then they pass it along if it's a hurry up offense. Some of it will be just word of mouth, others they may have to make some hand signals. It just depends on what the offense is doing and how much time we have in the huddle. Some of the things that we do are matchup based. [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] wants to get the appropriate people in and have the right call for it."
On how the linebackers performed against Atlanta:
"I think really what you saw when you break the tape down you saw the linebackers really running, playing fast. I think one of the really good things about this past week was it was a very physical, upfront game. The d-line was playing vertical into their creases. They captured their gaps. [It] Makes it a lot easier on the linebackers in terms of their responsibilities of playing downhill, taking the doubles off of the defensive lineman. They played fast. They were very active. Both guys [LB's Barton and Jamin Davis] had tremendous production in the game. For the most part, I thought they handled their assignments very well."
On what makes games against the New York Giants so competitive:
"For the most part it's divisional. I think that's probably the biggest one more than anything else. It's a divisional game and you're going to play against your divisional rivals a little better. At least I believe you typically should because you know them a little bit more. Because of that, I think that's what really brings the game to being pretty evenly matched."
On how much the win can help bring momentum:
"I mean that's basically it, is to play with confidence, to understand and know what you're capable of. In the fashion we did it, there were some things that we really wanted to build off of most certainly. There's some things that we most certainly want to correct. Defensively, we did some really good things. We capitalized on the takeaways when we had those opportunities. We missed a couple opportunities early on third down, so we want to be better there. Offensively we capitalized on field position. We capitalized early on in our jobs early in the game. Then what amounted to a four-minute offense, starting to right around the eight minute mark, we weren't very good. Those are things we want to get corrected. We do talk constantly about lowering the sack total. Again, that's twofold. That's some things that we can do up front better and some things we can do better as the quarterback."
On if they prepare differently whether QB Tyrod Taylor or QB Daniel Jones plays:
"You do pay attention and respect who's playing, first and foremost. They're both very qualified quarterbacks, but you also prepare for what they do and how they do it. In our minds, we always expect to see their best. We're going to prepare for what they do the best. For each one of the quarterbacks, I don't know if it's that much more different, you know what I'm saying? Because Tyrod's such a veteran guy. I think he could adapt to anything that their coach wants to do. Whereas with Daniel, they're going to do the best they can and prepare him the best they can. We'll be ready for both of them, either one."
On if they look at the fact that the Giants have struggled to score through the air:
"It could be anything. Things happen and don't happen based on certain things and the thing that we have to do more than anything else is just go out and play our game. We can't worry about what they've done and haven't done. We got to really focus in on what we can do and how well we can do it."
On how to balance individual and team offensive development:
"That's a great question, just because the fact that you want certain guys to grow and grow quickly for us. The running back position has been one that, with the style of offense is a little bit different, asking the running backs to be a little bit more patient to help set up their blockers a little bit better and we have flashes of it. You really see it. I mean, there were some really good runs in the Philadelphia game, some really good running in the second half of the Bears game, and then some really good running from the different combination of the guys in Atlanta early on, the first three and a half quarters. Part of that is them growing and developing and understanding it, but then you turn around and like I said, you get to that last six, seven minutes of the game and we didn't run the ball the way we needed to. We weren't patient, we were hurrying, and so it's important that the development of the player is equal to the development of the offense as a whole. I mean, because again, it's those guys working together in tandem. The understanding what the protections are as a blocker and what it's going to do in terms of the depth of the quarterback. Is it a five or seven step? What's the timing? All those things are all invaluable, and it's the same thing with the route running. You know, you're supposed to run that route at 12 yards, and you run it at 10, you're making your break before the quarterback set, now you're going to be further along in your route and he's throwing it in. It could be potentially throwing it into a hazard. So those are things that it is important that individually you grow. I think you almost have to grow quicker individually to fit into what the growth of the offense is."
On the drive difference when a sack is taken or not:
"Oh, no. I mean, you look at a lot of those drives and going back, looking at them, there is no sack and it's pretty good."
On the balance between growing CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr. and playing to win:
"Well, it's that, I mean, we look at certain things and we know what he can bring to the table. We've seen it. So, it's about trying to find that balance of you get to a certain situation and say, 'You know what, let's sit him for a while. Let's let him grow.' I mean, we went through the same thing with Jamin, and look at him now, I mean, the young man's really come a long way. He's done some really good things for us, and we're pretty excited about who he's become. I would say the same thing about Emmanuel. It's going to take a little bit of time sometimes and as he grows and your point as well is that there is a certain spot where it is about winning. We went through that my very first season. We tried something my first four weeks and I just felt I owe it to doing something different and I did."
On Forbes Jr. being able to handle his situation well:
"He's a natural corner. I mean, he understands and gets that you have to be ready to move on to the next thing, and in the meantime, you just do the best you can and get yourself ready to go."
On DE Chase Young's performance:
"He's done exactly what we've asked. He really has. He's done some good things. He's very dynamic. He's got some explosion to his game. I mean, he's doing a great job."
On how to prevent third-and-longs:
"Well, I mean, again, if you want to try and stay out of third-and-long, just got to be better on first and second down, whether it's running it or throwing it."
On Howell's toughness:
"Oh, believe me, I'm very impressed with that. He's a tough young man, he does a great job. He's a very resilient guy. It's one of those things when you watch him and I think that's part of when he runs the ball, he kind of feels like he can handle it, and that's great, but we'd much rather see him slide a little bit more. It was good to see him slide when he got the first down and protect himself. I mean, he's very tough, smart, sharp, resilient, just the kind of guy that gets his teammates behind him. It's really kind of a neat thing."
On getting the team to understand that the high sack numbers are not on any one person:
"I think they all understand that. I don't think it's something that we need to point out. I mean, we talk about it all the time and they're sharp enough, they understand what's going on out there. I think the one thing that a lot of the people do appreciate is the growth and development it's going to take for Sam. I mean, this is a first-year quarterback, first-year starting, there's a lot of bumps in the road, and we got some young guys that are out there playing with him as well. So, there's some growth that needs to happen. But at the end of the day, they're doing the best they can, they're playing hard, they're learning, they're growing, they're developing, I mean, we get it, just knowing that it's going to take a little bit of time."
On WR Jamison Crowder:
"I think what's been really cool about Jamison is he came in and has had to learn a lot, not just our special teams, but he had to learn our offense. What's really neat to watch him is the professionalism at which he approaches everything, how he's working with a lot of our young guys. He's been working with [WR] Kaz Allen, helping him in terms of trying to learn and grow and develop as a slot receiver, but also as a punt returner. So, it's been kind of cool watching the veteran guy help the young kid out. He's got a little sage wisdom to him. I think the guys respect that from him as well. He's been great to have around, he's a dynamic returner and I think what he's done is he's given our guys a little bit of a jolt, little bit of a shot in the arm knowing that you have an explosive guy back there. When I know they're on the huddle on the sidelines and [Special Teams] Coordinator [Nate] Kaczor talking to him, he's telling him, 'Hey, just give this guy a chance. Just give this guy a shot.' They did on Sunday, and we saw the result."
On fan presence in Atlanta:
"That was cool. Our players talked about that in the locker room. Just listening to the guys after the game talk about how cool it was to see as many fans that were there. It was really neat that they came out in force too, it really was. We were leaving the game after the victory, just having them cheer for us was really a neat thing. That's what the guys really talked about, they could hear the fans, but the applause they were getting when they were coming in after the game, that really kind of excited those guys."