Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after Washington's preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. Here is a full transcript of his press conference.
On how QB Sam Howell performed:
"I thought Sam did exactly what we were expecting him to do. He went out, executed, took control of the offense, took control of the huddle and did a good job at the line of scrimmage. There are a couple things I know that he does want to have back, but I thought he executed and handled the situation, circumstances the way he needed to."
On if the two-minute drill was a good test:
"Absolutely. That was one of the things that we were hoping to get and finish it off that way."
On Howell's poise:
"I thought he handled that extremely well. There's a lot of pressure obviously, and we know how important the quarterback position is in the league and how important it is in this area. We've been looking for one and I think we have an opportunity to have a guy that has a chance to be a really good football player for us."
On if there was a sequence for Howell that stood out:
"There were a lot of good things that he did, a couple third-and-longs. He threw the ball really well. He made good decisions on that, was able to move around, buy some time. I thought he was really good in the two-minute drill so there's a lot of positives."
On what it means for K Joey Slye to make the game-winner:
"Joey's had a really good camp. He really did have a tremendous camp and expedited the decision as far as letting [K] Mike [Badgley] go. He did a great job for us, but Joey was having such a good camp and building such a good confidence out there. This is a big deal for us."
On DB Jartavius Martin's performance after the first preseason game:
"I think he learned from last week. I think the biggest thing more than anything else was he put himself in position to make a play. There's a lot of things that we can be better at as a team, and I know he knows he can be better too. As we go through this, we're going to grow and learn from this.
On how much the turnover and runback helped the offense:
"It's a really good thing. It's a huge plus because you get in the position where you don't have to go 80 yards. They've already been on the 20, so to be able to get it out and get it out past midfield that was big."
On how the offense has blended:
"I thought they were solid. They were stout. It was interesting, I was talking to Sam and we were talking about how things went and first he told me, "Those two sack are on me coach." He said, "I got to make a quicker decision, I got to get rid of it." He understands what needs to be done. I thought the offensive line held it pretty well. I think they're still growing. They're still working together, and I think they're going to get better."
On Howell's ability to make a play after taking his first sack:
"I think pretty much any quarterback could do that. In that situation, I thought he handled it very well. He kept himself alive. He gave his receiver an opportunity to get open and he found him."
On if Howell's performance holds more weight with it being a primetime game:
"Oh, I believe so. You know, and just don't forget he did last year. I thought how he handled the stage last year against Dallas was one of the reasons we feel confident in who he is. And then we saw him perform today. We saw him perform last week. There's a lot of reason to be optimistic, but again, we still have a long way to go with a lot of things to learn, grow, and develop. I think [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator] Eric [Bienemy] and what the offensive staff is doing on that side of the ball has been really terrific. It's exciting. It really is. I think it's infectious because I do think it impacts our defensive players as well."
On if being on a national stage gives everyone an opportunity to get to know Howell:
"Well, I don't think it's gonna matter. I really don't, whether they know who he is or don't. Sam's gonna be the same guy. That's one of the pluses about who he is."
On what he saw from the young receivers on the last drive of the game:
"I saw some real grit. I mean, a lot of guys are competing and they know it. I mean, it's a good group. It is one of those positions that you feel really good about the back half. You just know that these are a bunch of young guys that are competing and they want to go out and they're trying to make this team, and they're scrappers. They're fighters. They're a good group of young guys."
On why he decided to rest most of the defensive starters:
"Well, a couple things, but you know, we decided, we feel really good about where we are. We got some guys that we wanted to be careful with and that was the biggest decision on the defensive side, just because of the familiarity they have with what they're doing. We just thought we'd do that."
On deciding to play LBs Jamin Davis and Cody Barton:
"Because both of them are new to what we're doing. They're new to each other. They gotta get a little bit more work together. And [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] felt this would be a really good opportunity for them to work together and talk and communicate. I think that was probably one of the biggest things and having those two out there working together was really the intention there more than anything else."
On if he'd like to see a more coordinated pass rush out of the backup defensive ends:
"I'd like to see a little bit more coordinated because we had some guys that really got up to the edge, but with [DT] Benning [Potoa'e] we didn't retreat or retrace and because we didn't, the quarterback was able to escape a couple times. They gotta have a better feel for when they get to the level, is countering or retracing and coming back downhill."
On if he's concerned about the defense not starting fast:
"No, I don't need to be concerned. You know, I really don't. I do know that we're working on it. We'll continue to work on it and once we get into the regular season, we'll see how it goes."
On CB Emmanual Forbes Jr.'s performance and tackling ability through two games:
"Believe me, it's the same stuff we saw on college tape. I mean, that's one of the things that, you know, he's fearless. He'll throw his body around and he does a nice job."
On if it means anything to him to break Baltimore's streak:
"I mean, it is good to win. That's probably the biggest thing. I know it's the preseason, and a lot's gonna be made of it and I'm just happy for our guys that we won."