Maybe it was all one big coincidence, but it sure seemed like Ron Rivera threw a goodhearted jab at Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday.
Asked what he could do to get his team off to a fast start on Thursday against Dallas, the Washington Football Team head coach explained that his team needs to take advantage of big-play opportunities early in games.
"It’s neither here nor there. A start is a start," Rivera said. "Sometimes you finish ‘em off and sometimes you don’t,"
Or, he could try something very different.
"I can bring a sledgehammer and smash pumpkins," Rivera said, clearly joking.
Of course, the line lands strong because Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy did almost that exact thing last Saturday night to pump up his Dallas team in advance of their game against the Vikings.
The story goes that during the team meeting Saturday night, McCarthy broke out a sledgehammer and crushed a bunch of watermelons that portrayed specific objectives for the game in Minnesota. Then on Sunday, Dallas played probably their most complete game of the season and beat the Vikings 31-28.
Well, congrats to Dallas for the win and McCarthy for the watermelon smash.
Coaches often do wacky stunts before games to motivate their players. When the team wins, the moves get celebrated. When the team loses, the moves get mocked.
For Rivera, his approach will stick to a focused game plan designed to beat the opponent.
"We work on things, we work on our scripts, we work on our plays, and then we come out in the second half and we call the same plays, we call the same defenses and we play better."
It's certainly true that Washington has struggled in the first half of games this season, including no scores on any opening drive all year.
Smashed watermelons, or pumpkins, seem very unlikely to change that. Better football could though.