Football Team

Rivera: Win in Denver could 'set the tone' for WFT after bye

Football Team

After coming out on the losing end of three straight games, it's no secret that the Washington Football Team badly needs a victory over the Denver Broncos this upcoming Sunday.

Besides just the mere fact that Washington needs to end its three-game skid, a win on Sunday would go a long way considering the team has its bye week the following weekend. Any momentum gained at Mile High this Sunday afternoon could carry over in a positive way, as the club gets set to hit the reset button before gearing up for the second half of the season.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, head coach Ron Rivera stressed the importance of leaving Denver with a victory on Sunday as it pertains to his team's overall season outlook.

"This is a game I think it's very important going into the bye because it could really set the tone and tempo for us going into it and something we can build on as we come out of it, come out of the bye. The focus obviously will be to improve and to prepare," Rivera said.

This isn't unfamiliar territory for Washington, either.

Last year, Washington won its Week 1 contest before dropping five straight games. In Week 7, Washington's last game before its bye week, the Burgundy and Gold hosted Dallas and dominated the Cowboys, winning 25-3.

After that win, star wideout Terry McLaurin got in front of the team in the home locker room and delivered a vote of confidence for his squad.

 

“Feel this, enjoy this s--- right now because that’s what we could build on," McLaurin said. "Now we’re right in the thick of it. So we’re going to take this week off, take care of yourself, take care of each, take care of your bodies man because we’re right in the middle of everything we want," McLaurin said. "So I just had to say that, man, let’s come back even stronger after this bye week.”

After the bye, Washington went on to win five of its final nine games en route to its first NFC East title in five seasons. McLaurin's message clearly impacted his teammates, too.

Things are a little different for Washington this year, though. The club's 2021 schedule is a lot tougher than it was last season -- but perhaps some of Washington's toughest opponents are in the rearview mirror. Tom Brady and the Bucs await, but Washington has already squared off against Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs, Josh Allen's Bills and Aaron Rodgers' Packers.

Additionally, Washington has dealt with more injuries thus far in 2021 than it did at this point last season. Several players that entered the season expected to be key contributors -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel, Brandon Scherff, Logan Thomas and Sam Cosmi -- have all missed time due to different ailments. 

As Washington is set to have a week off following this Sunday's game, Rivera hopes his club can get some of its key guys back sooner than later.

"I think coming out of the bye in a healthy position as well," he said. "Whether it's getting guys back that we have right now, like getting a Logan back after the game, if he doesn't play this week. Having Brandon back, if he doesn't play, Cosmi back if he doesn't play. Getting some healthy receivers back on the field Cam Sims would be great to have him back. I think there's just a number of those types of things."

One common theme that Washington has struggled with thus far is playing complementary football. The team has yet to put together one game where its offense, defense and special teams have all played well at the same time.

This Sunday is a perfect opportunity for Washington to put together a complete game, as Denver has lost four straight games following a 3-0 start and is struggling in similar areas to Washington right now.

"To me, playing a very consistent game against Denver would be a really good thing for us," Rivera said. "There's an opportunity to win."