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Ron Rivera | 'We need guys like that to get vertical and get into the quarterback'

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Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media after practice on Aug. 15. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.

On how he felt the two teams worked together to make sure they got the most out of these practices:
"Well, the biggest thing is we communicated early on in the spring. We put together a practice plan. We sent the copies back and forth to each other. Then we had the coordinators reach out to one another and talk about what they were looking for, what they needed to do, and we were able to put together a pretty good practice plan, I believe."

*On what he saw from QB Sam Howell: *"I thought Sam did some really good things. There are a couple things -- I'd like to see him speed his internal clock up a little bit. I thought he could have gotten rid of the ball a couple of times when he didn't. But for the most part, he made some really good decisions, good throws. I really liked the way that the offensive tempo was. I thought it was an upbeat practice, which is what we need to do, especially against a good team like Baltimore."

On what he thought about the level of intensity:

"It was really good. It got a little hot a couple times. It gets a little chippy and we can't take it personal. This really is not about me against you. This is about us trying to develop and work together as teams."

On if he feels like Howell has been developing more rapport with WR Terry McLaurin as camp has progressed:
"Well, I would say yes. And there's a couple other guys I think that he's developed pretty good rapport with. But you know, Terry's just one of those guys that for a young quarterback, you're gonna go back to who you think is a good completion. And that's what Terry is. And I think that's why you saw some of those things today."

*On what it says about McLaurin having played with so many different quarterbacks and maintaining such a high level of play: *"Well, Terry is special and he understands and he gets it. He understands what his role is. And I think trying to create those things, those relationships, he understands how important that is."

On if saying Howell needs to be quicker with the balls stems from competing against other teams:
"Yes. Because again, I think the security of the whistle is now off. And I think he's gotta understand that. And he started to later in practice. Early on, he held the ball a little bit more than I think he should have. And I'd like to see him get rid of it quicker."

On if he is hoping that DE Chase Young can participate in some team drills tomorrow:
"We'll see. But for the most part right now we're just being smart with it. Again, we've gotta continue to go through it. He will come out and he will do all of the individual and then we'll see what the doctors say or how they're feeling about it."

On what he has seen from DE Efe Obada:
"He's been solid. I mean, he's a guy that gives you a little versatility as well. Not just an outside guy, but he's also a three technique on passing situations. Does a good job with his rushes."

On what he wants to see more from DEs Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams:
"Well, they gotta continue to be explosive off the edge. I mean, we need guys like that to get vertical and get into the quarterback more than anything else. And again, it's a good opportunity for them to work against somebody different."

On how he decides where to go with work happening on multiple fields:
"Oh, I stick to the offense. This is the fourth time we've practiced against another team that I've been as a head coach and all four I spend with the offensive side."

On his early impressions of OL Ricky Stromberg getting work in at guard:
"Good. I mean, I really like what we've seen, especially on tape. I thought there's some really good positives. I think the thing about it again is the position flex is gonna help us and it's gonna pay dividends down the road."

On the offensive line play overall:

"I thought the line play was better. There were a couple moments I think we could be a little bit more stout. They do some things, some pretty good stuff with their pressure packages and their stunts. And so we just gotta be better with it because again, this is an established team and that's when you practice against teams like that, there's a tone, there's a tempo that these guys always do things and there's a reason why [Baltimore Ravens Head] Coach [John] Harbaugh has been here 15 years."

On what his message to the team was after multiple fights at practice:
"It can't be chippy. It can't be about yourself. It's not personal. You get beat, you get beat, let's just move on to the next thing and let's focus in on what's happening, what's important. You know, we're trying to practice. Everybody's trying to get better, but that chippiness you just can't have because it doesn't make sense."
* On if both coaches addressed their teams:*
"Yes. Coach Harbaugh asked for me to come over to their side of the field. So I went over, [Coach Harbaugh] addressed his guys, I addressed our guys and they got back to it. Over here, I complimented Coach [Harbaugh] because we had a situation where one of their guys was a little out of bounds and made a play and their guys came over and took care of it themselves. And I thought that was really big. I told Coach [Harbaugh] I really appreciated his guys doing that."

On if he had conversations with the Ravens beforehand about how to handle the fights"
"Yes, we talked about it. And what we're trying not to have is a big melee that we can't get stopped. That would not make sense, and that would be inexcusable. We're trying to temper it and we're just trying to make sure we constantly remind our guys that, 'Hey, this is about practicing. This is nothing personal.'"

On if practice was cut short:
"No, that's what the tempo, I mean this, we practice fast. I think we're like 15 minutes ahead of schedule, but that's what happens when you're, first of all, when you split it, so you're not necessarily having to flip as much as you are with trying to do different things. And so we just stayed to one field and that was, it was very quick."

On a group of guys that benefits the most:
"Oh, I think your quarterback first and foremost. I mean, they get a chance to learn a lot and see a lot. It's a real big challenge on your defensive backs 'cause these are a bunch of receivers that they don't know and vice versa for their guys as well. I think for the receivers, the challenge is you're going against other guys you don't know as well. I mean, overall I just think it's good for the team period."

On learning from other coaching staffs:
"A little bit of that. I mean, you get a chance to watch and see some of the things that they do philosophically and see how they handle those things. Those are always good to see and I think that's important."

On the dedicated special teams periods:

"Oh no, we continue, we do that. We have in the middle of our practices, we will go right into special teams and they'll have either, depending on the date, either eight, 10, or 12 minutes. And we'll do two of those during practice. And what we try to do is put 'em in between the action periods, the team period so that there is a break for certain groups of guys."

On TE Logan Thomas:
"Oh no, this is a step for him. This is a real good step for him. And you know, he's been running, you guys haven't seen him, but he's been running in the ultra G and underwater treadmill. Just taking some of that weight off of it right now. So he's trying to get his conditioning back before we get him out there."

On how Howell has grown in commanding the huddle:
"Well, you see it because when you get in the huddle, it's about the confidence in which you put the play out there. Uh, it's about your body language and how you handle and react to things that happen out on the field. He's gotten really good with that. I really appreciate the way he's handled himself. I think stepping up and getting in the huddle and calling the huddle plays, making eye contact with each group when he talks to it, that's important. And then getting to the line and then how he's handled the sequences that he'll go through, gathering the information, making the calls, and then going on with the play."

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