Football Team

Rivera says some players have winning mentality, others learning

Football Team

When Ron Rivera took over the job in Washington in January, the head coach knew he would be tasked with building a winning culture for an organization that hasn't had one in nearly three decades.

Washington's rebuild is not an instant fix. That's evident based on the team's 1-5 start. But, Rivera has said time and time again that his first season in charge would be used largely to find his core group of players, those he can build around.

On Monday, following Washington's fifth straight defeat, Rivera was asked which of his players continue to come into work with a winning mentality, despite the losses stacking up. A position those who have been with the team are far too familiar with.

Rivera mentioned a few players -- both young and old -- perhaps giving a glimpse of who the head coach is hoping to keep in Burgundy and Gold for a long time.

"Absolutely, I think guys like Jonathan Allen have that kind of mentality," Rivera said. "They’ve been a big part of it having a lot of success in college. Chase Young is a guy, as young as he is, he wants to win in a very bad way. Brandon Scherff, you watch the way he plays and the way he finishes plays. Morgan Moses—I can go down the list."

It comes as no surprise that Rivera mentioned Allen, a team captain for the second year in a row. Throughout his four years with Washington, Allen has made his passion for winning clear almost every time he speaks to the media.

 

It's not shocking that the head coach pointed out both Moses and Scherff, either.

Moses, who has started every game at right tackle for Washington since 2015, has been a vocal leader in the locker room as well. Scherff doesn't have the loudest voice of the group, but the three-time Pro Bowler lets his play speak for him.

Rivera's singling out of Young is an incredibly positive sign for the rookie, who has just four NFL games under his belt. The No. 2 overall pick has already been one of Washington's best players on the defensive side of the ball.

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One thing most of these players that Rivera mentioned have in common is they come from strong college football programs. Allen, an alumnus of Alabama, had never lost back-to-back games prior to arriving in Washington. Young played at Ohio State, a perennial contender. Scherff starred at Iowa, a consistent top-25 program.

"Some of that is a reflection of where they played their college ball, having it engrained in them," Rivera said. "When you’re there and you’re a part of that culture for three years and you get a good understanding of what it takes, it’s a tremendous thing."

While the head coach wishes everyone on his roster had that same winning mentality, Rivera recognizes that not everyone is there yet. 

"There are a lot of guys that have that mentality, and there are some guys that are learning," he said.

For Washington to turn its franchise around and leave behind several decades of losing, everyone must buy into what Rivera is preaching. 

Despite the early-season struggles, the 58-year-old coach is confident that a winning mentality can be instilled throughout the roster over the course of time.

"It’s something that gets developed over a period of time," Rivera said. "You can see it and feel it in guys."