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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 16, 2020

On if he is worried about the turf at MetLife Stadium:

“No. We actually practiced indoors to give our guys a feel for what it feels like to be on turf again. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully that helped, and we’ll go from there.”

On activating G Brandon Scherff:

“I expect it to [help]. Again, we’re talking about an All-Pro type player, so it’ll be good to have him back out on the football field.”

On evaluating players at new positions:

“Because we feel at the time this might be the best thing for us. We don’t really know because we haven’t had the opportunity to play as many games as you would like by now. So, we’re going to continue to do this. At the same time, we’re still trying to win football games. No matter how you look at it, as the season unfolds, the intent is to win and win as many games as you can. So, we’ll see what happens.”

On what he is looking to see from the linebackers against the Giants: “Consistency. That’s what I’m looking to see. Again, I’ve talked about it—we have to sustain success. We have a couple of good plays, and we have a couple of bad plays. You’re not going to win games when you give up critical third downs. You can’t allow those things to happen, or you don’t take advantage of field position on offense. These are all things that you want to see, and that is for us to play consistently good to where you are sustaining your success.”

On QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. at practice today:

“He looked good. He went out and did the things that he’s supposed to. A bunch of his teammates came up and dabbed him up to let him know they’re glad to have him back. That’s what I was hoping for.”

On T Saahdiq Charles:

“I thought he did some good things. He really did. He’s coming along. He got an opportunity to play with the ones and the twos. We’ll see. It’s important that we have the guys out there that can help us.”

On DE Montez Sweat’s development:

“Absolutely, he does exactly that. He’s developing very nicely. He’s got a grasp and a feel of what we’re doing. He’s still learning and developing and learning what we do and how we do it. That’s a key thing for all of our guys that they’re still learning. He’s really showed some big strides. We’re excited for him, and we think he’s still got some more room to grow. That’s the best part about it.”

On what he saw from RB Antonio Gibson in college:

“We always felt that he needed to get the ball more. When you watch their tape and watch how explosive he was, you thought: ‘Wow, this team could’ve used this guy a little bit more.’ That’s what we want to do. We believe he can, and we’re going to see if he can handle it or not. He’s done some good things for us. 71 touches in five games is really not a lot if you really think about it. That’s only 15 a game. This is a guy who we think can handle a little bit more of a load. We’re going to continue to work him and have him grow and develop as a football player.”

On if there is a stomach bug going around the locker room:

“Apparently it seems to be that. We’ll see. Hopefully it’s not, but that’s this time of year. The flu is starting to come out. We’ll see if it is or not. I’ve got to stay away from those guys.”

On how the league is handling COVID-19:

“I think for the most part the league is handling it pretty well. Each team has a responsibility, really, I believe that. You try to be as diligent as you can and aware of the circumstances. I think the league and the NFLPA, for that matter, have done a nice job working together. When something happens, you see them say: ‘Hey, we should tighten this even more. We need to tighten that over here.’ Again, this is unchartered territory. No one’s done this before. We saw the NBA handle it the way they did their bubble. Baseball handled it the way they’re doing their thing. Women’s basketball, the WNBA, has done the same. Everyone’s had their own thing they’ve had to deal with. The situations, they’ve handled their situations. Circumstances have come up. That’s what we’ve had. We’re trying to deal with it the best we can for our bubble and the way things are.”

On Washington not having positive COVID-19 cases:

“Man, I hate talking about it because then you bring a bunch of bad luck. I’m glad we’re diligent. We’ve got to continue to be diligent. It speaks for what [Head Athletic Trainer] Ryan Vermillion is doing as our Infectious Control Officer in terms of trying to make sure everyone’s aware and everyone’s being careful and following the protocols. It’s hard because you’re talking about all the players you’ve got to handle, all the coaches you’ve got to handle, all the support staff you’ve got to handle. We’ve got three tiers of people we’ve got to handle, and then we’ve got [reporters] coming over that aren’t being tested daily, so we’ve got to stay away from you guys. There’s a lot we have to do, and we’ve got to give credit to guys like Ryan Vermillion that are working hard to make sure we’re aware of everything.”

On LB Cole Holcomb:

“Again, it goes back to the hard part that we didn’t play four preseason games. You didn’t get a chance to see where guys fit and how guys fit for what you’re doing. That’s the hard part. You want to know where you can plug guys into. We really don’t know that. Cole getting hurt early in the season didn’t help us or didn’t help him. We’re trying to work him in and see where he fits and what he can do for us in order to win football games.”

On if Haskins Jr. will travel to New York:

“We’ll see what happens and how he is tomorrow. Again, he’s got a little bit of an ailment. We’ll go from there.”

On the allegations from former Washington cheerleaders:

”I know it’s the same subject, and we take those allegations very seriously. Obviously, we’ve been looking into this. We’re trying to get these things corrected. As far as I know, it’s just something that’s come up again that we’re addressing. We’ll continue to work on it and continue to address it. We’ll continue to wait for the results of the in-house investigation. We’ll go from there.”

On teaching consistency:

“The biggest thing more so than anything else is they’ve got to continue to work together. They’ve got to continue to play together. They’ve got to learn that this is how to do it. This is the way we have to do it. I’ve told you guys this and I’ve told our players this—at the end of the day, please, if you do it our way and we’re successful you’ll get the recognition and you’ll get the glory. If it’s wrong and we don’t, it’ll fall on me. I’ll take the responsibility, trust me, if we do it my way. That’s the thing that they’ve got to understand that you really have a ‘get out of jail free card’ if you do it our way because it falls back to this is how we’re teaching it. This is what we want to do. Again, if you’re successful our way, then you deserve the credit. If you don’t, fine. It’s on me. I will take the responsibility. That’s what I want them to understand because, again, if they do that and go out there and learn it, they’re going to find out that this does work. Trust me. I’ve been doing it a long time, over 30 years. I just believe that, again, as these guys learn and play and work together, they’re going to learn how to do it consistently.”

On if he needs to see more from QB Alex Smith:

“I think so. I don’t disagree with that, but I am seeing a lot of good things right now in practice, that’s for doggone sure. He’s done a really nice job. The more you see him out there, you see him getting stronger and stronger in terms of things coming back—the way he’s moving, the way he’s throwing, his decision making. The rust is definitely getting knocked off now, and that’s what’s really cool to watch.”

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