Ron Rivera lit into the Washington Football Team at the conclusion of Saturday’s practice with a loud and clear message: Young players need to take advantage of every rep, every snap and every practice because opportunities are available.
He laced his speech with intense words and called specific players out by name, including veterans Adrian Peterson and Thomas Davis as examples of how to work and how to prepare. Rivera then specifically called out second-year guard Wes Martin.
After practice, Rivera clarified that he believes in Martin’s ability and that’s why he challenged him directly, but the challenge was more for the entire offense. Rivera explained after Saturday’s work that the defense played well but he wants the entire team to play well.
“Today was not good enough,” Rivera said. “Today was unacceptable.”
This was also Rivera’s first practice since he disclosed a cancer diagnosis. He made clear that he intends to keep coaching as much as he can and that Jack Del Rio will serve as “Plan B” when Rivera struggles with cancer treatments.
When Rivera is on the field, however, it will be “business as usual.” That was obviously the case on Saturday as Rivera brought his A-game.
No quarterback looked great on Saturday. Kyle Allen threw two interceptions in 11v11 work, Dwayne Haskins threw one and Alex Smith should have been picked off in 9v9 drills. It was ugly from the quarterbacks, and that might have been part of what led to Rivera’s outburst after practice.
Greg Stroman had a pick today and has played well through four days of training camp. He could be on the 53-man roster when cuts come down in a few weeks. Jimmy Moreland also grabbed an INT and is definitely on the roster. It seemed like the defensive staff gave Kendall Fuller some time off today so they could watch Moreland more in depth.
Adrian Peterson and Antonio Gibson looked quite impressive on Saturday. Peterson showed burst and Gibson seemed to be involved on nearly every play. Those two and Bryce Love look like they will have a large role this fall.
Rivera said that Washington is making a point to have Terry McLaurin on the field for all of Haskins’ snaps, and the QB is giving his star wideout plenty of chances. Haskins seems to go to McLaurin as often as possible and isn’t gun shy to give the WR chances on jump balls.
Linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Shaun Dion Hamilton had good days, flying to the football.
Troy Apke looks somewhat cemented as the starting free safety alongside Landon Collins. That’s unexpected but Rivera said he likes what he sees thus far from Apke. The former Penn Stater has plenty of speed and hitting ability but struggled with his pursuit angles in the past.
Rivera wasn’t the only coach yelling at his players. Offensive line coach John Matsko is no joke and gives his guys an earful early and often.