About seven weeks ago, Ron Rivera was asked about his level of interest in signing Antonio Brown to strengthen his offense. Rivera's answer was polite, but in that answer, he basically shut down the thought of acquiring Brown or any other free agent help for the outside.
"If you bring in a veteran right now, you're going to stunt the growth of somebody young," Rivera told the media back on June 10. "We've got some young guys at wide receiver that have shown potential over the last season and now into the offseason."
Well, on Tuesday, Rivera faced a similar inquiry during a pre-training camp chat with reporters on Zoom (though Brown's name wasn't specifically mentioned; instead, Rivera was pressed for his thoughts on whether he believes he "has enough" at that spot in general).
This time around, the coach delivered a much different response.
"That’s something we’re going to look at," Rivera said.
It doesn't take a mega-genius, or even a regular genius, or even a semi-genius, to figure out why the his stance on the idea has changed.
Since Rivera explained that he was originally against the notion because he wanted to really see what he has in Burgundy and Gold first, Kelvin Harmon has torn his ACL and Cody Latimer has been placed on the Commisioner's Exempt List. The former is now out for the season and the latter is basically serving an indefinite suspension while his legal matters are tended to.
So, Rivera and the offense are down one of their promising second-year players as well as a guy who could've, at the very least, provided serviceable depth. That's why the Washington Football Team's leader has a more urgent-sounding tone.
"If there was a position that we are concerned with in terms of being able to bring more guys on, it's most certainly that position," Rivera said.
Rivera stopped his evaluation there, well short of identifying any potential additions. Fans can figure out the pool of candidates rather easily on their own, though.
Brown, of course, is one, as is Josh Gordon. If those two are deemed too unreliable, then there are pass catchers like Jarius Wright and Chris Hogan waiting for a call, and they both have ties to Rivera and Scott Turner. Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas are also current free agents with track records of success, albeit success that came some time ago.
Overall, an event that once felt like a longshot currently appears to have a way more than decent chance of happening. For Rivera to properly evaluate Dwayne Haskins, he's going to have to find Haskins another threat.
And that finding of a threat could occur on the sooner side of things.
"We’ve got four days with the quarterbacks coming up and then a few days after that we’ll have eight days of pretty much a ramp-up period, where we’ll really get the chance to look at our guys and see what we have and make a determination," Rivera said.
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