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Post Game Quotes: Tampa Bay Wildcard Game - HC Ron Rivera

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Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera

On QB Taylor Heinicke’s performance: “It was gutsy. It really was. It’s one of those things that—a guy like him who works hard at what he does, he creates an opportunity for himself. We’ll see what happens. I was just very proud of what he did, coming out and competing the way he did and helping us get where we are today.”

On his message to the team after the game: “I told them that, for the most part, today, this last stretch that we went through, kind of showed us what we can become and it’s up to us. We can learn from this experience that we just had, grow from this experience, and get better. I told the guys: ‘We’re headed up. We’re on our way up.’ There are a lot of positives to take from this.”

On the decision to rest QB Alex Smith: “The biggest thing was Alex just felt he couldn’t escape. With as aggressive as this defense is that we played, I just felt we didn’t want to put him in a bad situation. I hated to do it to Alex, but it was for the better. Alex was unbelievable. Believe me, he’s a hell of a man.”

On Heinicke’s ability to escape tonight: “Based on what we saw at the end of the Panthers game really told us that Taylor has that ability. We were really fired up about giving him his opportunity today. We felt really good about it. He had a good week. He took majority of the snaps, so it was one of those things—I don’t want to call it a fait accompli—but it was pretty certain. He took advantage of it and did a great job for us.”

On his emotions: “All three. I’m disappointed for our guys. They competed their butt off. They did some really good things and gave themselves a chance at the end. The sadness part is things will change. That’s just the way it is. As you grow, you’ve got to evolve and change and adapt. The optimism is these guys showed what they’re capable of. They can compete, they can go out there and they can be a really good football team. It’s just a matter of how much work we put into it as we get better.”

On the defense tonight: “We had our moments. It’s unfortunate. There are a couple things that I wish would’ve gone our way, but unfortunately, they didn’t. We were going up against one of the all-time greats. We had our moments to make plays, and then there were some disappointing things that we’ve got to get better at.”

On if he thought they could have more pressure with a four-man rush: “Well, we felt we could’ve. We had some opportunities. [Brady] did a great job. One of the things that they did do was six and seven-man protections. It wasn’t just that they said: ‘OK, you’re going to rush four, we’re going to block five.’ They didn’t put five in around all the time.”

On how he would describe this season: “Wow, that’s a tough question. I really haven’t had a chance to think about that. It’s been everything. It really has. It’s been a trying time. It’s been hard. It’s been difficult. It’s been fun. It’s been easy. There’s been some really good moments. We’ve grown, we’ve learned, we’ve gotten better. I told our guys that we’re going to get better because we’re really good, but we can get even better than that. I’m really excited about the potential.”

On the decision to go for an onside kick in the first quarter: “What it was supposed to be was it was supposed to be more of a mortar kick, a chip kick. They had a situation that we felt we could take advantage of. They had a defensive lineman and an offensive lineman situated in their return team, and there was a dead area between them. We were hoping to get a little bit of a chip shot right at the top and have it land in the ground and then hope to have a defensive lineman try to pick the ball up as it was rolling on the ground. We thought with the escape we had, we would be able to make it. Unfortunately, we didn’t hit the kick we wanted.”

On if he saw future potential for Heinicke: “Yeah. We did. As I said, the young man has earned an opportunity. That’s the best part about this is we’re going to create some competition around here. Guys are going to compete, and that’s how you’re going to get better.”

On what he learned from the book The Splendid and the Vile that applied to this season: “It’s interesting because, yeah, I take from things. When I read something like that, I feel pretty inspirational. I try to draw from that and try to stay steady and present the right kind of picture to everybody so everybody understands, and everybody sees the same thing and we can all be on the same page. That’s why I do it. I think we were able to get on the same page. We were able to do the things we wanted to do to get us to where we wanted to go. We didn’t quite get there, but we’re most certainly headed in the right way. I believe we’re headed up.”

On Heinicke’s shoulder injury: “He did something to his shoulder when he lunged for the touchdown. It was pretty sore. They wanted to go and check him really quick and then bring him back out. He was able to come back out. Like I said, it was a courageous performance from him.”

On the team rallying around Heinicke: “There really wasn’t much of an announcement or anything like that, you could just tell. They respect guys that go out there and play hard, work hard, and give it their all. When they got to see him compete against Carolina—and, like you said, you talked about it with [DE] Chase Young. Chase just likes guys that go out there and compete hard. It was easy to get behind a guy like that. That’s really what happened is guys got behind Taylor. They rallied around him and competed their ass off. They really did. I’m really proud of this group of men. It has not been an easy year. It’s been a really trying and taxing year. These guys were very resilient, and they bounced back. It’s just unfortunate, and that’s where the disappointment comes in.”

On if it was a surprise not scoring on the final drive: “Yes, it was to be honest with you. It really was a surprise because I expected it to come right on down to the two-point conversation that we were going to have to try to take to tie it up. I really was. I was planning on what the two-point conversion was going to be.”

On the play-call if they were to go for a two-point conversion: “I’m not telling you. We might use it someday [laughs].”

On if he had concerns with some officiating calls: “Well, the unfortunate part is, if I say anything I’ll get in trouble. I can’t say anything about the fact that we didn’t get the rule right when we carried the ball into the endzone. I can’t complain about that. I can’t complain about some of the missed calls. I can’t constantly harp on them. I can’t do that either. We’ll go from there, and we’ll address it with the league.”

On next season’s schedule: “That’ll be interesting. We’ll have meetings tomorrow, and then we’ll go from there. Things most certainly are going to change, and we’ll have to develop a new normal as we start getting ready for the next season.”

On playing four quarterbacks this season to get to where they did: “Well, I think going through the four quarterbacks gives us a little insight into some things. If you go down the stretch and you look when Alex played and how the ball got distributed and how guys made plays—to me, that just showed what this offense can be. That’s what you look for is that in your quarterback, a guy that’s going to control things and use all the weapons he has. That’s what we saw from Alex. We saw that with [QB] Kyle [Allen] and we saw it with Taylor. It’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold as we go forward.”

On giving fans hope for next season: “Well, that’s pretty cool. It really is. We’ve got a great group of young men in that locker room, and we’ve got a great group of coaches and support people. Those are the guys. Those are the ones that really put it together. I just happen to be the one that manages it. We’ve got some really special guys. This group, I think if we can grow and learn together and add on a couple more pieces, I think we have a shot next year. It’ll be fun to watch. I’m just glad that we were able to give the DMV something to cheer about. I promise you one thing, like I said, we’ll show up and we’ll play hard.”

QB Taylor Heinicke On his shoulder injury: “Yeah, so I dove in the endzone that pylon. I reached out my arm and when I hit the ground, I felt a li
 

Bulldog

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You can't teach competitiveness. Heinicke showed that throughout the game and especially on that scramble for the TD.

That is a play you never saw Haskins make. He would have wilted under the pressure of a playoff game.

My one disappointment is that the defense could not limit Fournette and the Tampa running game. I thought with Ronald Jones limited the real threat was elsewhere.
 

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