Young, Rivera expect WFT defense to be far better vs. Giants


Ron Rivera will often show patience regarding the development of the Washington Football Team, but in his Tuesday press conference ahead of Thursday's meeting with the Giants, the coach didn't express an ounce of it toward his defense.

"I expect it to be fixed now," Rivera said when asked for a timetable on when the unit will bounce back after a listless debut in Week 1 against the Chargers.

The reason why Rivera is unwilling to give that side of the ball more leeway is because, in his mind as well as many players' opinions, the mistakes that were made in the opener were entirely self-inflicted. Aside from a couple of nothing-you-can-do-about-it throws from Justin Herbert, the Burgundy and Gold was its own worst enemy at FedEx Field.

Chase Young saw the troubling trend, too.

"Every play, something wasn't right," he said. "If it wasn't the D-line, a linebacker might not have gotten in that hole. Just every play, it might've been a different group."

And as Jon Bostic explained, if every member of the operation isn't working simultaneously, a breakdown is inevitable.

"If 10 guys do their job and one guy doesn't, understand there’s going to be an explosive play," Bostic said.

What adds a disturbing layer to this early-season storyline is that so much of Rivera and coordinator Jack Del Rio's defense should know what their duties are and how to execute them. The entire starting front plus key backups were all a part of the roster in 2020, and the same applies to large chunks of the linebacking corps and secondary.


So, it's not like there's a misunderstanding of how the scheme needs to look. The system isn't new and neither are most of the pieces.

Instead, according to Rivera, the defense was just far too eager to force the issue in Week 1.

"I think they were anxious," Rivera said. "They wanted to make plays more so than anything else. And you watched the way they played, it's not like they got knocked out of it. It's not like they immediately jumped out of it. It's just, they saw something and tried to make something happen.

"You get an opportunity to make a play, make it, but don't try and create it. Because if you do, that's what's going to happen. You're going to make mistakes. And that's eventually what happened to us."

The solution to the struggles should be quite basic then, right?

Well, it better be, or else Washington could fall to 0-2 five days after it kicked off the 2021 schedule.

When it comes to the contest against New York, turning Daniel Jones over is the clearest way for the defense to assert the dominance many believe it's capable of asserting. Cleaning up its tackling and being smarter in coverage assignments will also be key, but producing interceptions and/or fumbles will really generate excitement.

Young's already in that frame of mind.

"We've been talking about that for the past few days," he said. "Obviously, he's struggled holding the ball in the past and that's a big emphasis. Going in to Thursday, that's definitely something that's on our radar."

What went down with Los Angeles isn't how this defense is supposed to roll. But for now, except for some sternness from Rivera, no one's overreacting too much.

That's cool, as long as the results are there in Week 2. If they aren't, meanwhile, that We've got this attitude isn't going to sit well with very many people.