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3 critical takeaways from Jack Del Rio's first media session as Redskins defensive coordinator

3 critical takeaways from Jack Del Rio's first media session as Redskins defensive coordinator

Jack Del Rio spoke to the Washington media on Wednesday, his first public session with reporters since being named Redskins defensive coordinator on Jan. 2.

While the conference call came more than two weeks after the team's announcement, it was certainly worth the wait.

Here are the three most critical takeaways from what Del Rio discussed.

1) He has no interest in discussing potential

At one point in the call, Del Rio was given the chance to set expectations for his group and explain what kind of potential he sees. It was the kind of question he could've easily answered, using glowing adjectives and praising many players.

But he didn't go that route. In fact, he went the opposite direction of that route

"It’s interesting to me that so much is made this time of year with thoughts on potential," Del Rio said. "Potential really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really amount to much. To me, it’s more about what we can get done and the work that we’re willing to put in and the idea that, ‘Look, we’re going to become a respected unit, OK?’"

That might've been the most compelling response from the longtime coach, and it's a mindset that people like Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Landon Collins will surely appreciate.  

2) Teaching matters quite a bit to him

During one explanation, Del Rio brought up current Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Why? To illustrate how someone can grow and improve with the proper coaching.

Woodyard was with the Broncos when Del Rio took over as defensive coordinator, and according to Del Rio, people told him not to worry too much about the linebacker. Woodyard was merely a special teamer who "wasn't going to amount to much."

Del Rio dismissed that advice, instead focusing on bettering Woodyard's fundamentals, which in turn would help his confidence spike. That former Denver special teamer was recently on the field for Tennessee's playoff win in Baltimore and is now one victory away from a Super Bowl.

That's just one example that sticks out to Del Rio and proves how necessary it is to assist in the continuous enhancement of a pro's skills.

"For us, we are going to look to teach and develop," he said. "To me, we have players here that are maybe considered in a specific light and they will have the chance to change that."

3) He absolutely wants Ron Rivera's input

Del Rio and Rivera are both former NFL linebackers who seem to share a lot of the same ideologies about what they want in a scheme and in their guys. For that reason, he is more than willing to get input from Rivera on the 2020 defense's plan.

"It’s an inclusive process," Del Rio said. "[Rivera] wanted to be sure that I knew, ‘Hey look, you’re going to call it. It’s your defense’. I said, ‘Hey coach, I’d love to have you in there any time you have to be in there with us.’ It’s our staff. We’re going to work together. The first thing I said to the defensive staff at our very first meeting, ‘This is not me. It’s not about what I want. It’s about what we are, what we’re going to become.’"

Between Del Rio and Rivera, the franchise now has two leaders who each can point to plenty of past successes in building defenses. The thought of that pair working together and applying what they know in Washington should have fans feeling very pleased.

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Ron Rivera doesn't anticipate Dwayne Haskins being bothered by Redskins talking to top QBs

Ron Rivera doesn't anticipate Dwayne Haskins being bothered by Redskins talking to top QBs

Ron Rivera figured he'd make headlines (like the one on this exact website). He just doesn't really think what he revealed deserved to be so newsworthy.

The comments that generated some chatter came on Wednesday, when the Redskins head coach told reporters at the Combine that the team will speak with both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

Washington, of course, already has Dwayne Haskins on the roster and appears poised to take Chase Young second overall in the upcoming draft. But Rivera still wants to sit down with the two top passers in this year's class, and he doesn't really see what's wrong with that.

"I just think it's what you're supposed to do," Rivera told the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday in Indianapolis. "Of course, that's one thing that people want to jump on and sink their teeth into and create stuff. All we're doing is our due diligence. If we don't look at those guys and something crazy happened, then we'd sit there and look silly."

Burrow is the overwhelming favorite to be selected by the Bengals to kick off April's event, but it makes sense for the Redskins to familiarize themselves with him just in case something wacky happens (it is the Bengals, guys). 

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, has been getting positive reports on his health, which is really the only thing to doubt about the polished product from Alabama. While Burrow currently seems like a complete longshot to end up with the Burgundy and Gold, Tagovailoa does not.

Still, Rivera maintained that the Redskins are just completing their research.

"We're going to cover all our bases and just see what happens," he said. "Everybody wants to know what we're going to do. We can't tell you what we're going to do because we don't know what's going to happen in front of us."

Now, is Rivera worried at all about how Haskins will take these meetings? His rookie year was rife with stories that the 2019 coaching staff didn't want him, after all, so isn't it risky to possibly restart those stories again in 2020? 

Short answer? Nope. Long answer? Here it is.

"I think Dwayne is smart enough to understand," the head man said. "I really do. It's been a neat development of a relationship right now between he and I. I think the one thing that I really do appreciate is his hard work already. And I think that's what everybody needs, to just take a step back and understand that all we're doing is our due diligence."

Rivera indicated that Burrow and Tagovailoa could very well visit the Redskins at their facility later this offseason, too, so this talk of QB drama may pop up again shortly. It doesn't feel like drama to him, though.

To him, and hopefully to Haskins, this is all a part of having the No. 2 pick in the draft, a spot that gives Washington a lot of options.

"I think if this is something that's bothering him, he'll say it," Rivera finished. "But he's a mature, young man who's just growing in his role. I just think that everybody needs to just relax and let us go through our process."

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Arizona State punter Michael Turk dominates the bench press at NFL Combine

Arizona State punter Michael Turk dominates the bench press at NFL Combine

As far as reputations go in the NFL, punters are not generally known as the tough, strong guys on the team.

Arizona State punter Michael Turk is working to change that.

At the NFL Combine on Thursday, Turk stepped up to the bench press with 225 pounds on the bar waiting for him. What did he do? Just casually ripped off 25 reps.

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. A punter just put up 25 reps on the bench press. That number is impressive as is, for anyone of any position. However, let's put it in context to show just how strong Turk is.

Jadaveon Clowney, Chandler Jones and Rob Gronkowski are all known as some of the strongest humans to ever hit the football field. Their bench reps? 21, 22 and 23, respectively. Michael Turk, the punter, out-did them

Turk will need his legs to impress teams and scouts as he looks to head to the NFL, but he clearly has plenty of power in the upper body as well. If whatever team he lands on wants to run a fake punt, defenders won't have an easy time taking him down.

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