WFT Quotes 9/14/20: Ron Rivera

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September 14, 2020

Head Coach Ron Rivera

On QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. getting the ball off quickly against the Eagles:
“For the most part, what that really is, is just him going through his reads and getting an understanding of how
we wanted to do it. He did some really good things, made some really good decisions. A couple things you’d
like to see him do though is put a touch on the ball sometimes. He tried to gun a couple of them in and because
of it, the ball ended up a little bit behind instead of really putting that lead throw into it. In other words, to try to
lead the receiver a little bit better, he tried to hit the receiver on the spot. I think he was a little bit anxious. He
looked like he was having fun, but he looked like he was a little bit anxious at times. Once he settled in, though,
and we saw that, he really took command of what we were doing.”

On if Haskins Jr.’s quick releases are him getting his reads or putting speed on the ball:
“Well, I think it’s a little bit of both. Again, you go through your reads, you go through your progressions,
sometimes you want to hang onto a receiver a little bit longer and you may have to gun it in. Other times you
may go from one to two and all of a sudden you’re going to two and you realize: ‘Hey, I’ve got two if I lay the
ball out there.’ Again, this is a second-year quarterback who’s done a great job, who’s learning, who’s made
good decisions yesterday. He really did. That was one of the things that was really pleasing. Even though he
may have missed a couple throws, those throws were headed where they were supposed to, to the right
receivers.”

On when Haskins Jr. began to relax in the game:
“You know, that’s funny. I just got done watching the tape. I don’t know, I just thought he was relaxed the
whole time. It was just a matter of things coming together as a group. I will say this though, I thought in the
third quarter in the second drive, he showed confidence. He stood tall, made some really good decisions,
delivered a couple nice drives. It just looked like he had good command. Like I said, I never really thought
about that because to me he just looked like he was out there having fun.”

On offensive coordinator Scott Turner utilizing different receiver-back sets:
“OK, I’m not going to tell you why because that’s all part of game planning. But, I think the thing about it
really is he’s trying to create the flow. If he gets something working with that combination of players, then he’s
going to stick with it. I mean, it’s the same thing as going with the three receiver packages, the 11 personnel
groupings. If you get into a specific flow with a specific group, you’re going to ride it. You’re not going to start
changing guys just for the sake of it. I think because of RB J.D. McKissic’s versatility, too, he can tick with that
personnel grouping. Again, he’s so versatile that you can go into your hurry-up offense, you can go into your
different formations and really create some mismatches. I really think that was part of what he was trying to
look for.”

On how he has foresight to motivate this team:
“Because they’re so young, but because they’ve gone through so much. When you’ve weathered the storm like
these guys have, I think it deserves to be pointed out. I just think there’s a group of young men that had to deal
with these things for the last few years. If you go back to a lot of these guys when they were drafted here,
they’ve had their struggles. It’s been tough. The last few years have been tough. Believe me, I went through it in
Carolina. Those guys went through a tough time, well these guys went through a tough time. But when you start
seeing things that happen—like on the sideline, I didn’t see any bickering. I didn’t see anybody pointing fingers.
I didn’t see anybody getting after each other for no reason at all. That kind of led me to believe: ‘OK, they’ve
got it. They’re understanding.’ The nice thing is I started to hear them ask questions like, ‘How can we do this?
Why is this going on? What can we change?’ Instead of looking for somebody to blame. I saw some maturity
on the sideline which really pleased me. I just think with how resilient they were during the game, they needed
to hear that. These guys have the potential. They’re a young group of players. If we can keep these guys
together for a long period of time, we can develop and grow as a team. Who knows where we can go? Who
knows where we can be? To your other point about [DE] Chase [Young]’s impact on not just the defense but on
the team as a whole, the impact is really what the defense does. If you look at where we scored some of our
points, we got them off of turnovers in great field position. We scored touchdown, touchdown, touchdown on
three possessions that started on their side of the 50. That’s huge when you get into those kinds of situations.
That’s what a good pass rush, that’s what taking the ball away, that’s what good special teams play can do for
you.”

On having confidence in players with potential like CB Jimmy Moreland:
“Again, some guys just have that knack. Another guy to keep an eye out on, too, is [CB] Fabian Moreau.
Fabian’s kind of practiced that way the last few weeks. Really to see him step up and make the most of an
opportunity, that was great. [S Kamren Curl] came up and had his opportunities. There are some guys just that
when you watch in practice, they seem to focus in, they seem to pay attention. We’ve got some veteran guys
that just seem to always be around the football. It’s pleasing to see those things. As far as Jimmy’s concerned,
he has fun. He enjoys what he does. He works at his craft. He brings energy to it. He’s an infectious-type
personality. That’s what you want on your football team, those guys that may not be the star player, but again
he’s one of those significant role players and he can impact your team.”

On Haskins Jr.’s even-keel mentality:
“I think it’s what he’s been working toward. I know last year he was a little more last year when you watch the
tape and hear some of the stories and some of the stuff he was thinking about and concerned with. Again, it was
one of the things I challenged him with in January and one of the things he focused on what he was doing. It
seems to be confidence more than a cool or calmness. It’s more confidence because he knows. I talked about it
the other day, one of the things I wanted to make sure when we came here was we had specific plans for the
development of Dwayne. [Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese] and Scott have done a terrific job of making sure
that those things were instilled and those things were done. Because of that, I think it’s built the confidence that
we’re seeing him play with.”

On how he feels physically after the game:
“I was tired yesterday to be honest with you. It really kind of wore me down a little bit, the excitement and the
energy. Really, it took a while to kind of come down from the high. It really was a cool experience. To be in
that locker room with those guys—I heard them talk a couple weeks ago when a couple of them had done their
interviews with you guys, they talked about how tired they were of losing. For them to win and win in the
fashion that they did, it really was very gratifying as a coach to see the smiles on their faces. Like I said, this is a
group of young men that have gone through an awful lot in the last couple years and this offseason to be quite
honest. We’ve had to deal with some stuff that you normally don’t, and it affects people. But for them to stay
focused on what they needed to be and they rallied around each other, that was huge.”

On the defensive line adjusting to new techniques:
“Well, when you’re trying to teach something that’s a little different and the guys have had three or four years
in that—to play a certain technique, a certain style and certain technique—it’s hard to break those habits. Until
you get a chance to see it, until you get a chance to go out and do it, you’re always going to be resistant. We
didn’t have preseason games to go out and go 100 miles per hour and get a chance for our guys to see what it’s
like to play a certain technique, to set your hands a certain way, to look through the blocker, to the ball carrier,
to look through to make a play. When you don’t have that to fall back on when you’re teaching and coaching
these guys, it’s very difficult for them to buy in. Now, hopefully as we progress and hopefully we can have
success next week, these guys will start to see and go: ‘Man, OK, I get it. I see what they’re trying to teach us. I
understand what they’re coaching.’ Now it feels right. Now we can get better and keep going forward. Again,
it’s no different from what we’ve done with Dwayne, from what Scott and Kenny have done in terms of
showing him: ‘Hey, this is how it works. This is how you can be successful.’”

On if he thought guys were worn down yesterday:
“Yes, I really did. Next week will be an even bigger task. If you guys got a chance to catch any of that
[Cardinals] game last night, you saw it was a very active quarterback. He’s a heck of a football player and
you’re going to have to have guys that are fresh. Guys are going to have to understand that you have to be ready
to rotate, you have to be ready to roll and, again, you’ve got to play high energy against a terrific football player
like [QB Kyler Murray].”

On his speech in the locker room after the game:
“It was [special]. I wanted to recognize [DE] Ryan Kerrigan’s accomplishment in becoming this franchise’s alltime sack leader. I wanted to say thanks to the coordinators because the last few weeks have been really tough
on them because my time has been really split. So, I just wanted to make sure I recognize them. It was really
cool the players and our staff recognized me, which led me to tell everybody winning and losing is very
humbling. When you get into a situation I’m in, your circumstance is a very humbling one because it brings
reality. There’s a touch of realism. It was a cool moment. It really was.”

On going home to his wife after the game:
“That’s one of the cool things, Stephanie’s been with me and been through this for 35 years. She knows what
it’s like. It was an opportunity to sit down and unwind and talk a little bit about what happened. The thing that’s
cool for me personally is as a coach, you watch certain things happen and you go: ‘It’s looking like they’re
getting it. They’re understanding. It looks like we’re achieving the goals we talked about.’ One thing that I’ve
always talked about and made sure we understand more so than anything is going forward, this is about building
a sustainable, winning culture. What happened was during the game, one of the things I said during the
offensive line was: ‘We have to sustain success.’ We had a couple of really good plays, then all of a sudden we
had a couple of bad plays and we weren’t sustaining success. So, I went over and told the guys, ‘We have to
sustain success. We have to sustain success.’ I kind of felt like they got it. One good play then we got another
good play then the next thing you know, we’re rolling. It’s the same thing that I say: ‘If we can sustain a
winning culture, we can do these things and we can make things happen and we can create the environment and
culture people want to be a part of.’”

On how they will plan to win games in the future:
“I believe we can win some different ways. I’m not quite sure if we know exactly where we are offensively
because we’re so young and we’re so new to it. One of the plus things about being on the defensive side, if you
look at the guys that made plays yesterday other than Chase, that front was here. It’s just a matter of putting
those guys in the position to have success. Offensively, there’s a lot of new bodies, a lot of new people, a lot of
new faces at wide receiver, new faces at tight end, at running back. We’ve got a young quarterback. So, we may
have to win that way for a while. But, don’t count out the possibility of our offense catching fire and learning
and understanding and growing into who we can become. I just think, again, it’s with hard work and these guys
understanding what we’re asking of them and trusting the process. We have a chance to develop. Who knows?
Maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but it is a process as I remind the players that we’re going through.”

On how the left side of the offensive line did:
“Not bad. They got smacked in the face early, they really did. Excuse me for using that phrase. They got hit
pretty good early. I think that they kind of snapped. [G] Wes Martin took a pretty good shot early on and wasn’t
as stout as he needed to be. I just went up to him and said, ‘Hey, drop your anchor young man. You can play
this game.’ [T] Geron [Christian Sr.] got lazy on another play and I said, ‘Hey, keep moving your feet.’ I
thought they responded. I really did. It was funny because when I was writing my notes up for the team
meeting, I said the same thing about all three phases and that was: we started slow, we started slow, we started
slow. We missed a field goal. We have a very accurate kicker; he missed a field goal. We started slow. We go
three-and-out a couple times on offense, we started slow. We missed a couple third-down opportunities on
defense, we started slow. But once the guys settled in and all of a sudden they made some things happen, you
could see the confidence build up. Well, I think both Wes and Geron epitomized guys that started slow but all of
a sudden realized: ‘Shoot, I belong here. I can play.’ That was pleasing to watch.”

On CB Kendall Fuller not playing:
“We’ll talk about Kendall’s status on Wednesday. But, really pleased with what we got from Jimmy and from
Kam [Curl] and from [CB Ronald Darby] and Fabian. I think it was a very good showing by those guys. I
thought [S Troy] Apke and Landon [Collins] and Deshazor [Everett]—all those guys got an opportunity
to get out there. That’s one of the things that’s really been a blessing to watch has been the way the secondary
has grown and developed and they’re learning to work with each other. We used a lot of packages yesterday.
[Defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] was very active moving guys in and out. We’re all rotating guys
through, so we got a chance to see who can go out there and compete. What it does say about us is that we have
guys that have the ability. That’s a huge plus. Like I said, Fabian came out and played really well. I was really
pleased with that. Darby gave us the one big play, but then he came back and had a chance for the big
interception, almost got it. Just learning and understanding from his mistakes. Again, Jimmy like we talked
about here’s a guy that’s always around the football, knows how to make plays. It was a good effort by that
group and it was a lot of fun to watch them go out there and play.”

On Washington’s protocol for challenging calls this season and on why he didn’t challenge the
questionable completion to TE Zach Ertz:
“I’ve got the flag. I’ll listen to what the coaches say. If anybody’s adamant about what they think, then I’ll
throw the flag and it’s on me because it’s my decision to throw it. I’ll stand by that. But I was right there when
the play happened. It happened right in front of me. I said to the referee immediately, I said: ‘So you’re not
going to call that incomplete?’ And he said, ‘No, Coach, I didn’t think the ground caused him to catch the ball.’
I said ‘OK.’ That’s why I didn’t throw the flag. It was almost immediate because I was right next to him when it
happened.”
 

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