Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Aug. 1. Here is a full transcript of his press conference.
On what he saw in pads:
"Well, I think the biggest thing, first and foremost, when you throw the pads on, you want these guys to prove to me that you have some coordination and as they work together and they practice together, we're looking for that continuity in the groups, whether it be the offensive line or the defensive line, picking up where they left off last year, just proving to me that you have some coordination and you're working well. And that's one of the things that we looked at, we saw today. Really pleased with that. I thought there was a lot of positives from it as well. The tempo did get ramped up a little bit. Yeah. And there was some energy out there, and that's what we're looking for. I mean, you know, we're getting into the dog days. It'd be nice if it was a little bit warmer, but it was a good practice. I liked the tempo more than anything else."
On what he saw from OL Saahdiq Charles and OL Sam Cosmi in their stints at tackle:
"I mean, we had an opportunity to grab a guy in [OL] [Andrew] Wylie that we felt really comfortable with. Here's a guy that knows the system, is gonna come in and help everybody else. And that was the idea behind that. And what that did was prompted us to just go ahead and make a decision on Sam and say, 'Hey, we're gonna throw you at right guard, leave you at right guard. Use your athletic ability, use your power and strength and do the best.' And that's what he's doing right now. And we're all excited to watch him as he continues to grow and develop. As far as Saahdiq, we know he can do a lot of things. And with Charles, again, we keep him at that high level play. At that level, it gives us a chance to protect the quarterback, which I think is one of the most important things you gotta be able to do."
On the former name:
"Well, I think it's a big part. I mean, again, remember 1932 is when this all started. So it's one of those things where, you know, I think it gets ingrained and there's a lot of people that still hold onto it. And, again, just understand it is with all due respect that we do. That's the one thing, if anybody ever brings it up or talks about the previous name, it's with a tremendous amount of respect and admiration."
On the excitement of the pads coming on and the intensity:
"Well, I think that's one of the things you look for is that there are some guys that do enjoy the contact. They think that's a big part of the game and they play that way. And those are the guys that you're looking for. Those are the guys that you like to set the tone and tempo. I mean, today was, I told the players, there's gonna be a tone setter. You know, we're gonna put a lot on you. We're gonna do a lot of things and we're gonna be physical and we're gonna expect it out of you. I thought the way they stepped up. I thought the way they reacted to it and the way they practiced smart and we tried to get them to play with their eyes and not the top of their heads. And I think the guys are doing a real nice job with that."
On the second offense working against the top defense and vice versa:
"Well, because some of those guys may have to play, you know what I'm saying? It's good for the two's to get an opportunity to play against those guys. Not just when somebody gets nicked but as part of a group. And as a unit. We wanted to see the guys that were working together go against another group. And so it was something you should do when you get out there every now and then. It's just every now and then too."
On if anything flashed out at him:
"Well, I was trying to look between the individual drills and watching the one-on-one pass while I'm watching the Inside run and then trying to watch the one-on-one pass protection when I'm watching the 7 on 7 and it's, it's interesting you see some guys that are having success and then as we start into the team stuff, we had the special category right after we did the inside run drill, we had the special category and you watch some guys, because now we're down in the red zone, we're playing red zone football and you see certain guys get amped up, get ramped up and not want to allow certain things to happen or trying to make certain things happen."
On players who have jumped out thus far:
"Well, there's a number of guys that jumped out. I mean, I don't want to get specific right now because it's only been day one, but there were a couple guys that showed some stuff, you know, in the secondary. I like some of the things that we are doing. It's funny, Jack and I had a conversation about the different nuances to what we do and how these guys are adapting, and you see those guys that we were talking about do the things that we want. I love what we're seeing on the defensive line. I think, you know, you see how [DE] Chase [Young] and [DT] Jonathan [Allen] and [DE] Montez [Sweat] and [DT] Daron [Payne] have just picked up where they left off. I mean, that's a huge plus for us. Then look at the offensive line, it's a work in progress because it's five different guys working together and we got to build that coordination, you know, they got to show me that and that's what we're looking for."
On notes from one-on-one drills:
"Well, if I'm watching the defensive guy, it's really about get off and how quickly he gets across the line and gets into his pass rush. As far as the offensive guys, how disciplined is he? How much will he stick to his technique? At what point does he become a street fighter and will he fight? And then, what happens if they get beat? What do they do the next time, whether they're on offensive line or defensive line, how are they going to react to that stuff? I mean, there's a lot of technical aspects to it, but those are the little things that you look for as well."
On CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr. reacting to more aggressive receivers in pads today:
"That'll be something I got, I'll be taking a much deeper look at as we get into film study. I really didn't get to focus in on him every chance I got. So when I get a chance to review the tape, that's one of the things I will be looking at."
On Forbes Jr. size in regard to physical receivers:
"Well, I mean, you saw when you put the tape on from his college days, and again, he was in the SEC and there's some pretty good stuff. So, you know, I expect to see pretty much the same thing that he did when he was playing at Mississippi State."
On an experienced cohesive defensive line paired with a newer offensive line:
"Absolutely. That's exactly it, because again, with our offensive line practice against who they practice against, you know, and the truth of matters is what we want is that we want practice to be the more tougher experience for them. You know what I'm saying? Going against those guys, they are practicing at a high level all the time so that when they get to the game, they know how to play at that level with that kind of intensity. You see it, I mean, you see it from our O-line. You see it from [C] Nick [Gates] and [G/T] Sam [Cosmi] and [G/T] Andrew [Wylie] and [T] Charles [Leno Jr.] and [G/T] Saahdiq [Charles]. I mean, you see those guys. So, there is growth and development."
On performance from the receivers today with physical Defensive Backs:
"See, I think the young guys, you know, it's getting used to the contact and the physicality of our DBs. But watching our veteran guys and seeing how [WR] Terry [McLaurin] just, you know, it's natural for Terry and [WR] Jahan [Dotson] learning how to do it. Watching those two specifically that's been big. [WR] Curtis [Samuel] it's no stranger to Curtis. So he's pretty good with it. But as you watch the younger guys, you see that they've got, they can't let themselves get knocked off line. They got to get back into their routes or back into their path as quickly as possible so that they can give the quarterback a true read as he is dropping back."
On the importance of the 2021 season:
"I think it was very important for us in terms of our development growth because I think if it told our guys one thing, you just can't show up. You just can't pick up where you left off just because you were, you know, top 3, 4, 5, doesn't mean you're going to be top 3, 4, 5. You got to start from the bottom, be good with your base fundamentals, be good with your techniques, and then take that and transfer it onto the field every day. There is no such thing as all of a sudden, hey, I'm back, I'm ready to go. No, you got to prepare yourself for what's going on as far as the season's concerned."