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Interview: Washington Football Coach Ron Rivera

Every week All-Pro Reels will bring you day by day coverage of the Washington Football Team through the eyes, ears and lenses of our content creators.

ASHBURN, VA -- October 14, 2020

On G Brandon Scherff:

“Brandon had a good day, he did. He had limited participation. He had a number of reps that we had set for him. He took those reps and he looked good. We’ll see how he is tomorrow morning. One thing I want you guys to understand—when a guy is on the injury report and he practices, no matter how he practices, the next thing that is important is how he is the next morning. So, again, you’re going to ask me that question and what I’m going to tell you is that he looked good in practice, he did the reps we set for him and then we’ll see how he is tomorrow morning.”

On QB Alex Smith’s comeback story:

“It’s impressive, it really is. To think that he’s in position to play at such a high level, that’s pretty exciting. I can’t really think of one. It’s a heck of a story. I’m happy for him, I really am. Probably the neatest thing I saw was—somebody had shown it on TV—and that was the way his family reacted when he got out there.”

On the importance of the upcoming divisional games:

“They are important. Again, I had my old coach, Mike Ditka, and he used to say: ‘You want to be champions in the division, you’ve got to control the division, you’ve got to win inside the division.’ That’s what it is. That’s what the objective is, obviously, is to win all 16 games. But, the truth of the matter is if you start going through them, you’ve got to win the one you’re about to play. That’s why this game is very important because the one we’re about to play, what makes it even more important is that it’s a divisional game.”

On if they will recalibrate the divisional strategy in the future:

“Absolutely. Again, we’ll see where we are. It’s important to play well and win in your division. That’s what I’m shooting for.”

On QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.’s illness:

“All I know is he came in, he talked to the doctors, they checked him out, they gave him some medicine, he took his COVID test and then he went home.”

On if he is hopeful Haskins Jr. will practice tomorrow:

“Absolutely. Absolutely. This is an opportunity for him to continue to learn and grow and develop. Again as I said, I have not quit on the kid as far as his development. The thing that we’ve done is we’ve looked at where we are and said: ‘Hey, these guys give us a better chance to win right now because they know what we do, they understand the system and they’ve been in the system.’ Dwayne’s a young man that’s learning and growing. He hasn’t been in the system. He hasn’t had the benefit of a full offseason. He hasn’t had the benefit of a true training camp. Based on what I saw, I made the decision to make the switch because I thought these guys with their knowledge of what we do gives us a better chance. This is a pretty interesting set of circumstances these next five games.”

On if QB Kyle Allen will start Sunday:

”Yes. He had a good day of practice, took all the reps he was supposed to take and looked pretty good doing it.”

On his biggest frustration with the team’s performance so far:

“Our lack of consistency as a football team. You hear me talk about it—we have not sustained success. When you watch the things that we do, you see it’ll be first-and-10, second-and-3 and then we’ll do something and end up at third-and-8. That’s the frustration is that we don’t sustain a positive thing. On the defensive side, same thing. We get a team into third-and-long and we’ll allow a first down. That’s the frustration is that the consistency is not where it needs to be. We haven’t learned to sustain the success. That’s important. You’ve got to do it over 60 minutes. It’s not these moments that you have where you sit there and say: ‘Oh, well we played well in the second and third quarter. Oh, we played well in the second half.’ No, that’s a moment. You’ve got to do it over a period of time and that period of time is 60 minutes. That’s the frustration that I have that we don’t play consistently well for 60 minutes.”

On the inconsistency on the offensive line:

”Well, probably the biggest thing is, again, we lacked consistency. We didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked to at the guard position. So, that’s one of the things that we want to see. We’ve got guys that are physical football players. They’ve got to play physical, but they’ve got to play consistently physical. You can sit there and say: ‘Wow, we had when Kyle was in there we had a really good drive.’ That was great, that was a consistent moment. Then all of a sudden we have a two-minute drive and we kick a field goal. We had two really good consistent moments, but like I said we’ve got to sustain that over a period of time.”

On discussions about trading Haskins Jr.:

”Well, we’re not going to get into transactions and things like that that we could potentially do. I don’t want to talk about hypotheticals. Again, whatever happens, happens as far as this football team goes. It’s really about trying to get us into position to win games and develop this football team. We’ll cross the bridges as we get to them.”

On protocol if personnel were to have COVID-19 symptoms:

”If somebody has symptoms, we’ve got to report them. Again, as I said, nobody in our organization has symptoms or we’ve reported lately or anything like that.”

On the offensive line:

“We’ve been consistent at times. We’ve had some sustained success on the offensive line and you see some promising things. But, again as I said, last week’s a great example. We came out and did some really good things and moved the ball well. But, we got into a position where we were playing from behind and the defense knew it. We would’ve liked to see us play a little bit better and be a little more consistent. That’s the biggest thing. There have been some positive things, there really has. We’ve got some guys that have the ability, we’ve just got to continue to develop as a football team and develop the young players that are playing. We are using a lot of young guys. We’re not as experienced as you’d like to be. But at the same time, we have guys that are growing and developing so there is a positive to it because we’re playing a lot of young guys. We’re going to take our lumps, but there’s going to be a time where we’re going to have to stop taking lumps and give them out ourselves.”

On T Saahdiq Charles’s progress:

“Well, he’s done a lot. He did a lot today, he practiced well, he’s still developing and there’s an opportunity for him this week and we’ll see what happens. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes for him.”

On Haskins Jr. staying home with an illness:

“We’re not keeping him out of the building just so everybody knows. What we’ve done is, again, he’s come in, he’s seen the doctors, he’s taking his test and he’s gone home. So, again, I don’t really know what the ailment is other than it has something to do with the G.I. (Gastrointestinal) system. So, for the most part, this has got nothing to do with COVID. He’s not testing positive or anything like that. So, that’s where he is.”

On Haskins Jr. not being in the building:

“If he was feeling better, he could come in. Again, guys, I’m not the doctor. I’m just telling you what I’m told. He came in, he saw the doctors, the doctors gave him the medicine and he went home.”

On what he’s seen from the Giants on tape:

“Absolutely they play hard, they really do. Last week was a great indication. They came up on the short end, unfortunately. They do some good things. They’ve got some good skill players. They’re big and physical up front, and that’s kind of a hallmark of Dave Gettleman, the general manager, who I know very well. He believes that big guys allow you to compete, and they most certainly do. They’ve lost some close games. This is not a cakewalk for anybody. Just because we have one win and they have none does not mean a thing. This is a divisional game. We’re going to their place. I expect and anticipate for them to come out and play hard just like they’ve done. They’ve got a lot of good quality skill players. If you look at the tape and watch them play as we’ve done, you’d know that you’ve got to account for a tight end, three wide receivers that are good football players, a running back that they’ve picked up in free agency recently that has had a number of successful years in Atlanta, and they’ve got a young quarterback that’s got a live arm and is athletic. Defensively, they’re an aggressive defense. They play a 3-4 that’s typical of what it was when (Giants Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham) was around in New England. They’ve got some guys that are playmakers. To think that this is a cakewalk, we’d walk into an ambush. We’re taking this game very seriously because it’s a divisional opponent.”

On what allows Allen to be successful:

”I think the guys know that he’s competitive. I think that’s probably the biggest thing is that they feel his competitiveness. Kyle really is all about ball. He studies the game, he knows the game, he works at the game. He’s hard on himself and the players see it. His teammates feel it. He’s a guy that really enjoys the competition and I think that’s kind of the thing that spills over. He has some leadership qualities. He’s not a ‘rah-rah’ guy. But, he’s confident in his abilities. Maybe at times he gets overconfident and he may try and force something in, which I’ve seen in the past. But, I do think he is a quality young guy that’s got some good football skills.”

On the team’s timeline for development:

“When you start seeing simple things being missed, that becomes frustrating. When things that have been done repetitively, that’s when you struggle to accept: ‘OK, that’s going to happen.’ No, that should not happen. That’s sometimes how I feel. We’ve got enough good players that some things shouldn’t happen. But, we have young players that are going to make mistakes. We’ve got young guys in the secondary, young guys in the linebacker position, young guys on the D-line, young guys on the offensive line, young guys at wide receiver, young guys at running back, young guys at tight end. We’ve got young players. That’s the thing. But, they’re playing and that’s the thing that helps. If you take a bunch of young guys and don’t play them, you’d never know what you have. That’s kind of like for [T] Geron Christian. He played a little bit, didn’t know what he had and he’s out there battling. [G] Wes Martin, another guy that didn’t get a chance, he played some and played some, but now he’s playing a lot. He’s a young guy. You want to see growth, continued growth, and you don’t want to see where you get to a point where certain mistakes—when they happen—it’s frustrating.”

On considering CB Kendall Fuller at free safety:

“The thing that we’ve got to look at really is who is the best fit for the situation and circumstances. We’ve got four guys that came in and our four safeties. We’ve got to find a combination of who’s the best fit out there at free right now, who’s the guy that can work with [S] Landon [Collins]. That’s probably the thing that we’re looking at and trying to develop. So, as we go through this, we’ll find out which of those guys is the best guy.”

On improving leverages at the safety position:

“The biggest thing more so than anything else with the safety position is that you have to have young guys that understand angles and leverage. That’s the tough part. When you haven’t played a lot, you’ve got to learn to understand those things and you’ve got to understand them quickly. Whether those angles are in coverage or those angles are in tackling, whether the leverages are in coverage or the leverages are in tackling, it’s important that they understand that and it’s important that they play with that. Whether you make the play yourself or you lead the group into making the play based on your leverage, based on your angles—that’s the thing that young guys have to learn and develop and have that as an experience that they can rely on and fall back to. That’s the tough part, that really is.”

On if Haskins Jr. requested a trade: “Like I said earlier, I’m not going to talk about football business.”

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