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Training Camp Daily 8/28: Ron Rivera Sees His Players Taking On More Responsibility 

Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team
Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team

Training camp is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team prepares for the 2020 campaign.

Stay up to date with "Training Camp Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.

Also be sure to check out "Washington Football Live 2020" every weekday from 9 - 9:45 a.m. and "Virtual Happy Hour" from 2:30 - 3 p.m. Both shows will be streamed on all of the team's social media platforms.

Here's what you need to know:


Head coach Ron Rivera admits he was concerned about his team's mindset as it prepared for the 2020 season. Difficult times typically beget egotism, Rivera said, and a mindset of, "If we're not doing well, I'm going to get mine." And early on in his Washington tenure, Rivera saw some of that selfishness.

But as the rebuilding process has progressed, Rivera has seen his players come together. The veterans are "putting their arms around" their younger teammates, who are listening, absorbing information and asking questions. Other times, younger players are speaking up and forcing veterans to take accountability. Rivera has noticed the basic actions, too, like picking up garbage in the locker room.

In Rivera's mind, these actions will help create the "sustainable, winning culture" he's determined to enact in Washington.

"You see the way guys are handling themselves, pushing each other, taking responsibility," Rivera said. "One of the things that [Chicago Bears] Coach [Mike] Ditka told me was that he always felt good about us when he saw us take ownership. That's part of the culture; you have to take ownership and be responsible. Those are the things that you look for. I think those are the important things."

Rivera specifically highlighted the offensive line and the secondary for their implementation of these principles. Veteran offensive linemen Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff are not content with improving their own level of performance, so they're working with the younger players to ensure everyone meets a certain standard.

The defensive backs have also come together to turn what was perceived as one the team's weaknesses into a potential strength. The unit will have three new starters, and the fourth, strong safety Landon Collins, is entering his second season in Washington. Yet throughout training camp, these players have blanketed receivers, broken up passes and hauled in interceptions while rarely allowing big plays.

Despite these bright spots, there are challenges that lie ahead. But by working together and doing things the right way, Rivera believes this team is on the path to becoming a contender.

"There's a lot of work to do. We've got to change the way things have been done in the past," Rivera said. "One of the things that I always tell the guys: 'If what we did last year you think is good enough, it's not. You're wrong. It's not good enough because it was only good enough for 3-13.' So, we've got to get past that and get to where we want to go."


-- Logan Thomas has seen continual improvement for Dwayne Haskins Jr.: Thomas, who signed with Washington this offseason, has emerged as one of Haskins' favorite targets during training camp. Haskins especially likes to look towards Thomas in the red zone, as the two have connected for four touchdowns over the past five practices. The biggest thing Thomas has seen from Haskins is continuous improvement, and he'll do whatever it takes to make the second-year signal caller's job easier.

"I just want to be somebody [Dwayne's] confident in to make a play. I think that's the reason we have such a connection because if he throws it to me, nothing bad is going to happen. It's either going to be a catch or an incompletion. I think that's the way you've got to look at it. In the red zone, hopefully my size will help make a play down there. If not, then somebody else makes one. That's just who we are on this team. If not me, then it's somebody else."

-- Rivera likes what Washington has at running back: Rivera said Friday that he believes all five running backs can contribute in 2020. Adrian Peterson is the tone-setter, Rivera said, while Peyton Barber is a physical runner and J.D. McKissic is a versatile option out of the backfield. There's also third-round rookie Antonio Gibson, who Rivera called an "exciting, young, dynamic player."

"And don't fall asleep on Bryce [Love]," Rivera continued. "Bryce had a couple nice things today happen. He had a nice run to the corner and just had an angle on everybody and beat them to the end zone. It's a good group, it really is. I'm really pleased with these five guys. We'll see how it unfolds, though."

-- "Last year wasn't good enough": According to linebacker Jon Bostic, that's the only motivation Washington's defense needs.

"The defensive line's got to get better. The linebackers have to understand how the defensive line is playing, how we're going to fit in the run game, how we're going to be effective in the pass game and get your eyes on the quarterback, being able to play fast and know how the secondary plays a role in all of this. That's really where the focus has been."

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