Ron Rivera isn't worried about what he doesn't have, he's focused on maximizing what he does.
After just two quarters, the Washington Football Team had to pivot at the most important position in the game when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with the hip injury against the Chargers. Now, they'll go with Taylor Heinicke as the starter during the six-to-eight weeks Fitzpatrick is expected to miss.
Rivera isn't bringing in a new quarterback from the outside to compete with Heinicke or Kyle Allen. He isn't going to drastically change the offense. The 59-year-old coach will simply do what he can to mold his team into a winner around who he already has.
"The truth about [football] is it's a team game," Rivera told the Sports Junkies Tuesday. "It really is. in some situations and circumstances, yeah, if you have a guy like Tom Brady, things are different. But there's only one Tom Brady, let's be realistic about that. You've got to build your team around what you have, and if you don't like what you have, guess what? You're in trouble. As a coach, I got to look at what we have, figure out the best way we believe we can win and go out and do it, and that's what we're going to do."
Heinicke earned his place on the roster thanks to a mesmerizing performance in the playoffs against Tampa Bay. Despite learning he was the starter late in the week, he nearly led Washington to a shocking upset of the eventual Super Bowl champions.
He isn't a perfect quarterback, though. He's limited as a passer, doesn't have a ton of experience and tends to get hurt often thanks to his small stature and scrambling play style. However, Rivera believes his team can win with him, mostly because he's seen other teams win with less.
"I can't [complain] because I don't have what I want," Rivera said. "This is what I've got. I'm going to make the best out of it and I'll try and win football games with it. That's just the way it has to be. You can sit here and second guess all you want. You have to live in the world of reality, that's what I've learned.
"This is my 35th year in the NFL and I've seen it. I've seen a lot of things happen and you know what? At the end of the day, I've seen lesser quarterbacks win Super Bowls. Let's be realistic about that. You have what you have, you have to understand what you have and you've got to go out and make the best of it. And that's what we're doing. We're going to make the best of it."
Thursday night will be Heinicke's first regular season start in three years, and it just so happens to be against a division rival trying to avoid starting the season 0-2 just like Washington.
Washington and New York kick off at 8:20 p.m. Thursday night from FedExField.