Following the Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Ron Rivera faced some scrutiny surrounding certain decisions he made in the game. Rivera chose to kick a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter rather than go for it on fourth down, and later held onto his timeouts rather than giving his team another opportunity.
When asked about what went into the thought process, Rivera cited injury concerns and development. He also made sure to let everyone know that he did not care what they thought.
In Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns, Rivera once again opted to not use timeouts to give Washington more time with the ball in what would be a 34-20 defeat. Guess what? He still isn't planning on apologizing for thinking about the future.
“To me, as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing to answer. I did what I did," Rivera said. "Like I told you guys, my concern is about the development of this football team, not appeasing anybody that has an opinion. I’m going to do what I need to do to help this football team.”
Rivera once again cited injuries as a concern, as well as the future maturation of his young team. With no preseason, there's a concern for the health of players and their bodies adjust to the physicality of the game, but there is also the mental side of the battle.
Week 3 was an ugly one for Washington, especially for quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who threw three interceptions on the afternoon. Toward the end of the game, Washington wasn't going to pull off a miraculous comeback victory. Getting the ball back may have helped the confidence of the offense, but another poor possession could have made things worse.
That's what Rivera is looking to prevent, as the goal is to help his team develop and take positive steps by putting them in comfortable situations. It's something he believes wouldn't have happened in the fourth quarter.
Could his philosophy change in the future as the season progresses? Maybe, but for now, Rivera is concerned about the evolution of his players. In order to get to where he wants to be, he'll continue to make the decisions that he sees best fit that goal.
“Once we get past a certain point, yeah. But right now, hey, I’m working on developing my football team," Rivera said. "This football team is a young team that is going to learn and grow, and we’re going to learn and grow the way that I see fit for this organization.”