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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