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Wake Up Washington | Rivera praises strides made on defense


The Washington Commanders' defense deserves a lot of kudos for Thursday night's grind-it-out win as it held the Chicago Bears to just seven points, stopped them on all three of their trips to the red zone and provided constant pressure on Justin Fields. Head coach Ron Rivera had a lot of praise for the performance.  

"I think Jack \[Del Rio\] and his staff have done a terrific job," Rivera said. "I really do. We struggled last year in third downs. We struggled getting pressure on the quarterback. We now are one of the better groups in getting pressure on the quarterback. We're one of the better groups at third down. And we're also one of the better groups in the red zone."  

The defense has turned a corner recently after a relatively start, a fact that can be credited to guys settling in and figuring out their jobs as well as some personnel tweaks. One of those, Rivera noted, is the addition of John Ridgeway, who Washington claimed off waivers in later September.   

"[He] is a big stout heavy young man who comes in and fills up a lot of the space. I think that allows Daron [Payne] and Jonathan [Allen] to be a little bit more explosive in their get offs. They're not catching and reading as much. They're getting vertical into their creases and they're making plays at or behind the line scrimmage. I think that's helped."  

In talking about the pride he has in the improvements made on defense, Rivera pulled out a stat he wanted to read verbatim to the media. In drawing attention to the stuff players have been doing well that might not always find the spotlight, he hopes this team can see how its hard work is paying off and how good it can be.  

"[The stat] talks about how we have three guys that are in the top 10 of pressure, and I think that's the stuff you want our guys to be celebrated for is the stuff that they're doing, they're accomplishing, as opposed to all the other stuff you know what I'm saying?," Rivera said. "I just wish we could be able to focus on those things for our players, because for them it should just all be about what's going on in the field and in the locker room."

Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.

The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.

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