Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Aug. 6. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
On WR Curtis Samuel sitting out a portion of practice:
"Yeah, just a little concerned. He was complaining a little bit about getting tight, so we're just gonna be smart. We're going to slow some guys down. If we gotta take a guy and put him down for the rest of the day, we will. He got some work early on. Everything seemed fine. Again, you start tightening up, especially the highly tuned athletes. We gotta be smart about that."
On what he saw after a long practice after the off day:
"This was much better than the other day. Really pleased with the work that we got in today. I thought their approach and the way they handled it was really good. Again, kudos to the offensive line because they really ground through it a lot and did a heck of a job. So, there's a lot of positives that we're gonna get from this. There's some really good tape on all the periods and we got an opportunity to really go through some situational football as well."
On TE Logan Thomas not practicing:
"Again, like I was saying earlier, some of these guys we just gotta be really smart about. We don't want little things to become big things. And again, going back off of last year's past history with it, we wanna be really smart and sensitive to it."
On how the players are handling Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy's intensity:
"I think they seem to be taking it well and I think they seem to understand that the more stress you can put on and the more they can handle it, the better off they can be. If you think about his initial press conference, it's about getting guys outta their comfort zone and getting them to understand you've gotta learn to be comfortable when you're not. I think that's the biggest thing right now, so he's really after him. He really believes in that, and you see it out there because the other day we didn't have a very good day and he really got into them. And today they came back and they responded pretty well."
On the conversation with Bieniemy and Football Analytics Coordinator Doug Drewry at the end of the two-minute drill:
"Well, the biggest thing was we were talking about the two options we had. One is take the timeout and then take the shot into the end zone to win it. And if he doesn't have it, throw it away like he did. It still gives us a chance to kick it, or do you go ahead and spike it at four seconds left? And then there's a couple of things that are concerning because if you go to spike it and you got an illegal procedure, now what happens is there's a ten second runoff or you gotta give them back your timeout. So, we went through those scenarios just to kind of discuss what our best options could be."
On what they decided and if the process is different from last year:
"That process will continue to be the same. The big difference was usually Doug is in my ear and EB's at the same time, and we're constantly talking about what our options are as we go through the two-minute drill. In this case, Doug was over there with EB and so what happened was I called the timeout and then when we came and we talked about it, Doug said, 'Yeah, but the other option too, coach, and that's one of the things that we were gonna do is we were gonna take it down to four seconds and spike it.' And I said, okay. But the other alternative, which EB seems to love, is to take that shot. That was one of the things that we talked about."
On what position group he is most excited to see in the preseason games:
"Well, other than the quarterback obviously is the excitement you'll see for the defensive line with the pass rush because one of the things we've gotta be aware of during practice is just cutting it loose and taking your shots and stuff like that. And then secondly, I think more so than anything else, just where we are overall as a team, that's probably the biggest deal. I love the way the guys are competing and practicing, but until you take off the restrictions, you really don't get a good, fair chance."
On how practice will determine how much the starters will play in the preseason:
"No, I don't think it'll determine it. You know, we've had a couple preliminary conversations about where we are and what we think we need to do. But again, it's still about being smart and understanding that we wanna see a lot of things, but at the same time, we also gotta start preparing for the season and who we anticipate using during the season. We'll base all that off of that and then don't forget next week, and I know it's a little bit ahead, but next week, we'll have a couple of really good working days against Baltimore, so that'll also play into our decision making."
On how the tight end group is progressing:
"Well, they're progressing very well in this offense. And again, they're one of the featured positions obviously, but it'd be good to have everybody healthy and get [TE] Logan [Thomas] back out there as soon as we can obviously. And we want to be smart about it, but we also have to be careful, because the young guys, a lot of them are getting a lot of work right now. The biggest thing is with [TE/FB] Alex Armah and the use of the fullback, that's important too. But Alex, again, having played tight end for us or what we call the U position, he's got a pretty good handle. So we were able to spell some of the tight end stuff using Alex as a U."
*On how practice impacts his strategy for playing time in the preseason: *"Well, I think what's going to really impact it more than anything else will be just the thought of knowing we've got Baltimore and we've got two days of practice with them. I think that's something that's really going to play into our thought process as we get ready to make decisions on how much everybody's going to play."
On how he balances quarterback playing time in the preseason:
"I mean, those are all considerations right there to be honest with you. Knowing that whenever we take [QB] Sam [Howell] out or whenever we take that first group out, that's when he's coming out. But at the same time, we also want to be mindful of [QB] Jacoby [Brissett] and know how valuable he is to us as one of our quarterbacks. So, a lot of that, again, as I said, will hinge on what we see going forward, especially the two dates we'll practice with Baltimore."
On the kicking competition:
"It's been very good. It really has. It's kind of done what we've wanted to do and when we go through, we've got to take everything into consideration. Everything from the operation to the kick. And that's probably the biggest thing that we've done. But I think the competition been good for both of them [K's Joey Slye and Michael Badgley]."
On LS Camaron Cheeseman's snap being a little different this year:
"The biggest thing with Cheese is again, is his consistency, how well it's been the last two seasons. And for the most part we want to see it continue. And again, whether he's working on something a little bit different or to me the thing that I seem to see is the velocity's increased. He's been trying to work to keep it down on the extra points and field goals. And I think the biggest thing, more so than anything else is just making sure we hit the spot."