Washington HC Ron Rivera (9.27.20)

Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera:

On an injury update for Washington DE Chase Young and DT Matt Ioannidis:

“They were both injured and did not come back. We will see how they are tomorrow.”

On the turnovers:

“Disappointing. One thing we can’t do is turn the ball over and expect to win. We had turned the ball over three times in the first half. We had an opportunity to come back, and we did. We took the lead, but we turned the ball over again. You are not going to win football games if you don’t win the takeaway battle. I believe in that. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough turnovers back to help ourselves either.”

On Washington QB Dwayne Haskins’ performance:

“He did some good things. He tried to force a couple things. When he was taking what they were giving and doing what he is capable of, we moved the ball. We scored. We put points on the board. It is unfortunate because a couple of times, we were moving. We had a couple of untimely penalties that showed up, too, that took us out of position. Again, it is part of the process that we are learning. We are trying to learn how to play and not make these kinds of mistakes.”

On getting more from Washington’s skill position players today despite the loss:

“It was disappointing. I thought our skill players did step up. We had some young guys get an opportunity to play, and they came through and made some plays as well. Again, this is a young football team that is learning and growing and is going to make mistakes, and we are going to learn and grow with them. Unfortunately, we had several situations where guys got nicked up today and forced some other guys to have to play a little bit more football.”

On how the situation with Haskins compares with his time with Patriots QB Cam Newton’s early career in Carolina:

“The biggest thing is that I just got done talking to Dwayne and told him, ‘Look, I told you. I am behind you, and I am going to stick with you so you go out there and play football.’ He just has to learn and understand that you don’t have to make the big play all the time. Plus, you have guys that can make plays so all you need to do is get the ball into their hands and let them go out and make plays.”

On how to get Haskins to ignore the outside noise that there should be a QB switch:

“Absolutely, I think the outside noise is exactly what it is – it is noise. The truth of the matter is how is he going to learn? Is he going to learn by taking the show team snaps? No. The only way he can learn and we can truly find out where Dwayne is and what he can do for us is to put him back on the football field and let him get exposed. That is how he grows. That is what we did with Cam Newton, and look where he is today. Cam Newton was a league MVP because we trusted him and we took our lumps with him. I am going to take my lumps with Dwayne right now. Again, as long as he continues to do things that show you that he can make things happen, I am going to support the young man. I am not going to pull the plug on him just because something like this happens. Again, in my opinion, he is barely through a rookie year right now in terms of being out there, learning and growing.”

On the offensive pass interference call on Washington WR Terry McLaurin in the fourth Quarter:

“I was a little disappointed. I did not think it rose to the level of an OPI. Terry runs great routes. [He is] very precise, and he is very light on his feet so when he snapped that off, the DB had no chance. He couldn’t stick his leg in the ground and turn like Terry did. It looked worse than it really was. He called it, and we have to live with it.”

On Washington CB Kendall Fuller being back in the secondary:

“I think it helped. We had some good things happening early on. It is just unfortunate that the game got away from us with the takeaways. It was good having Kendall out there. He is a little rusty. He will continue to work and get better, and I think we will learn to work as a unit.”

On Washington DE Montez Sweat’s performance, particularly after injuries to Washington’s DL:

“First of all, it was tough because we only had six D linemen. We have been having nine up, but unfortunately, with the wide receiver situation, with (Washington WR) Steven Sims (Jr.) coming off the big toe injury, we had to keep an extra wide receiver up so we had to put down one of our defensive linemen so we only had eight and then we lost two in the first half. It was nice to see people stepping up. I thought (Washington DT) Daron (Payne) stepped up when he needed to. Montez stepped up. We had some good play out of (Washington DT) Jonathan (Allen). Those six guys that were left, they fought their butts off to finish the game out. That is what you need. To watch guys like that step up, it was awesome. Montez showed that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. You can imagine what it would be like if we would have had a healthy Chase.”

On not calling timeouts late in the game was because of injuries, similar to last week:

“To me, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing to answer. I did what I did. Again, like I told you guys, my concern is about the development of this football team, not appeasing anybody that has an opinion. Okay? Again, I am going to do what I need to do to help develop this football team. You have to give it a chance, but you also have to be realistic about what is happening in terms of the injuries. Again, we had no preseason to develop, and you look throughout the league with the injuries right now, once we get past a certain point, yeah, but right now? Hey, I am working on developing my football team. This football team is a young team that is going to learn and grow, and we are going to learn and grow the way that I see fit for this organization.”

On Young being active on the sidelines after leaving with an injury:

“He is very active. Chase is a high-level energy out there, and it is good to see guys like that. Again, he is a guy that is going to help spark this organization and this team. He is the right kind of young man. We have a whole bunch of those guys that do things the right way. We really do. I believe in who we are and who we can become.”

On the impact of losing players like Young and Ioannidis to injury in the same game:

“The hard part is that you can’t keep guys as fresh as you would like then and they are constantly being exposed out there. That is the hard part. You want to be able to protect guys and rotate them so that they get out there and they are fresh. I promise you, when we go back to look at it, our defensive line played their butts off. They gave us a chance and gave us an opportunity, but eventually, it is going to wear you down and it is going to get to you at the end. That is precisely what happened.”

On outscoring Cleveland 13-0 in the third quarter:

“Yeah and then that is disappointing because we had a couple chances to continue to stop them. We had a third-and-long and they converted. We had a couple of fourth downs we could have stopped them on, and we didn’t. Then we turned the ball over a couple times. Again, we can’t make those mistakes right now. We are not experienced enough to withstand our own personal mistakes as a football team.”

On whether one interception by Haskins that bothered him more than the others:

“No, they all bothered me. It is all part of the game. He knows better in some cases. It is just unfortunate. Believe me, he is not doing it on purpose. He is trying to help us win a football game, and that is the thing that we are going to live with. We are going to live with the mistakes. He is going to grow from those mistakes. Again, the only way to find out if he can do it is to keep him on the football field.”

On how the injury to Sims factored into the use of Washington WRs Isaiah Wright and Antonio Gandy-Golden:

“That was a big part of it. That is why we rolled all those guys. We were trying to take a little bit of the pressure off of Steven. We are trying to keep him as healthy as we can so that we can keep him on the football field. He is a good football player. We need guys like that on the field. It was also good to see Isaiah play. It was good to see AGG get a little bit more of an opportunity. We are learning more about our football players. Again, this is a young team that we are going to learn and grow with.”

On it looking on TV like Haskins was staring players down and whether mistakes like that are correctable or if Haskins simply can’t do that:

“No, it is something he has to know. Part of going through your progression is that when you are staring a guy down, you have made a preconceived decision that you are going to throw the ball there, and that is when you really get in trouble. I do know a couple of his interceptions were because he put the ball on the wrong side of the receiver. If he puts the ball low and away on a couple of them, those are not interceptions. In fact, they should be catches for us. That is disappointing because he has a good arm and he can be very accurate. We will have to take a look at what happened and whether he was going through his progression properly and whether his feet were set when he was delivering the ball. That is all part of it. Again, he is a young quarterback, in my opinion, who is really just going through his rookie year and has not quite finished it yet. He will get better, he will grow and I think he is a guy that we can follow.”

On history being made with a female referee and a female coach on both teams:

“I think it is cool. I really do. I think it is about time that there is some gender equity in this sport. Women love this game. A lot of them want to play this game, and they play it. A lot of them want to coach it, and they are coaching it. All we are doing is just creating opportunities for people that deserve it. Sarah Thomas is a more than qualified referee, and I know the women that are coaching in this league are more than qualified. I am very proud of Jennifer King. She is somebody that I have worked with the last few years. I have given her an opportunity with internships to show me that she deserves the opportunity, and she has earned it. She is running with it. Again, this is all about making sure that people that deserve opportunities get them. That is all we have done.”

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