Sports & Culture Media

Washington Football Team vs. Los Angeles Chargers Postgame

Media Release
Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera

On QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury:

“They said it was something to do with his hip, and we’ll know more tomorrow.”

On not converting third downs:

“It was probably the biggest disappointment. We had some opportunities and we didn’t convert them. We had a third-and-long at the end and gave it up. Some things we’ll have to take a look at and see exactly what went wrong and get those things corrected.”

On QB Taylor Heinicke coming in:

“I think the biggest thing, you see a little bit is Taylor Heinicke’s ability to improvise and move on the run. I think that gave a little bit of spark when we needed it. It was good to see. We gave ourselves an opportunity, we just have to protect the ball better.”

On punting on a fourth-and-seven:

“That’s probably it right there. It was a fourth-and-seven and we thought we had an opportunity to get it pinned and we ended up with a third-and-18 or whatever it was, and you would like to believe you’re going to convert that. Unfortunately, we didn’t, so we have to take a look at that. If we had converted it, it might’ve been a different story.”

On what led to that decision:

“I was feeling pretty good about the way we were rolling there for a while. Just unfortunate. We got an opportunity on a third-and-real long there and we didn’t take care of business.”

On the biggest frustration of the game:

“Little details. And again, the ugly head of not doing your job, not doing your responsibility I should say. You’re responsible for something and you got to do it no matter what. You got to trust that the other guys are doing their jobs. We look at some of the things on the tablets and you can see we’ve got guys not where there supposed to be defensively. As far as the offense is concerned, it’s really just blocks. It’s the missed assignments there. We’ll get a better look at it tomorrow as coaches – or actually tonight to be honest with you – we’ll look at it then and we’ll get that taken care of. There’s really not much we can do because, again, we play on Thursday so this will really be a brief thing for us to explain things to the players and get ready to play the Giants.”

On the short turnaround with playing on Thursday and the need to win:

“Definitely. I get that. I’m with you on that. Again, we’ve got to take care of our business more so than anything else and go out and do things we’re capable of.”

On what he attributes guys being out of position to:

“I think guys trying to do things, do more than they’re supposed to. We have a little saying, we need 11 guys trying to do one thing at a time, not one guy try and do 11 things. That’s probably some of the disappointment because when you watch some of the things, we had some things called specifically for certain things to happen and if we have two guys in one area, that’s somebody not doing their job.”

On errors due to missed assignments or players trying to create plays:

“Maybe a little bit of both. I mean, you really can’t tell until you really watch the tape.”

On the defensive rotation:

“Well, what happened is those guys that play seven straight plays in a row on defense and so they rotated out.”

On moving DE Chase Young to the left side:

“It’s just part of the rotation. They go in and they move and they attack the other guy and switch it up for each other. It’s something that’s very common.”

On if seven is a magic number for rotations:

“No, it’s just if you watch them and see how they’re dragging a little bit, it’s time to rotate.”

On DE James Smith-Williams and DE Casey Toohill:

“They were out there doing their jobs.”

On if QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is healthy, he’ll be the starting QB:

“We’ll see. There are some things we have to go through and talk about and we’ll get ready tomorrow as we get started.”

On if QB Kyle Allen is ready to jump into backup role:

“Yes, if he ends up having to do that, yes, he’ll be ready.”

On QB Taylor Heinicke’s mobility:

“He just brought some energy.”

On QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s play:

“I thought Ryan was efficient. We just have to capitalize, and we can’t miss blocks. We can’t miss assignments, and it’s unfortunate.”

On taking LB Jamin Davis out at the beginning of the game:

“That’s a matter of personnel. We match up and early on, we matched up and he wasn’t in because we went into one of our sub-packages, one of our different sub-packages, and then we rotated back in. When we rotated him, we rotated [LB] Jon Bostic out, then [LB] Cole Holcomb out. And again, we’re going to try and use these guys and package them in packages that we best believe fit and suit each guy.”

On using three safeties:

“Yes, we do. You’ve got a group of guys you can move around and use and hopefully put them in the best position to have success.”

On CB Benjamin St-Juste:

“They did. They did target him and again, it’s one of those things you can create through match ups and motions through movements. It’s something he’ll learn. At the end of the day, that’s what teams do. They find a way to attack you and our counter has to be we’ve got to play better or we have to get him some help. We’ll take a nice long look at it and make sure we’re giving him enough help or if we’re putting him in a better position to win.”

On his plan against Chargers QB Justin Herbert:

“We hoped to get a little more pressure on him, put them in a little more in first-and-second and long as opposed to some of the situations they had. It’s going to be interesting to look at all the third downs and see exactly what they were. Were they third and longs, third and shorts? If that’s the case, we know we have to be better on first and second down. There are a lot of things for us to look at after this first game.

On if the Washington offensive line got beat:

“No, I think there are some things that play into certain situations. It was the first game out, and we will see how it goes when we really get a chance to break it down on tape.”

On the Washington’s rookies handling pressure:

“I think they handled it pretty well for the most part. I thought [T] Sam [Cosmi] was really tested. I thought [LB] Jamin [Davis] had some opportunities, and I thought he took advantage of some of them. We saw [CB] Benjamin [St-Juste] really having to go at it. You saw what the threat of [WR] Dyami’s [Brown] feet can do, and that’s pretty special. [WR] John [Bates] was out there, not an awful lot, but he was out there and did some things. So, we get a chance to watch him on tape to see what we got from him. The young guys got fired up. It was good for them.”

On how QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury affected the team:

“I thought it had its moment. But at the same time, I think when [QB] Taylor [Heinicke] stepped in and brought some energy, I thought that was a huge plus.”

On the right side of the Washington defensive line:

“I think the big thing about what we do is really just trying to find opportunities to move guys around more so than anything else. They rotate on their own. They feel certain things, and you give them the leeway to do those things.”

On who was going to backup QB Taylor Heinicke:

“We have a backup we feel pretty good about.”

On the Washington defense adjusting to the Charger’s offense:

“I think after that first series we settled in a little bit offensively, as far as our defense was concerned in terms of what to anticipate. You have an idea, but after you see them, it confirms it. The thing that was legit, really, is who Justin Herbert is. He’s a heck of a quarterback. He’s got a great arm, got quick twitch, and makes quick decisions. You look at [WR] Keenan Allen. Allen, their wide receiver, this kid is pretty special. You know you have to account for guys like that.”

On RB Antonio Gibson’s fumble:

“Well, what we would really like to see Antonio do is press the hole a little bit more. That’s what happens when you are a little bit inexperienced – you don’t press the hole as much as you should. And he bounced it a little too quick. Then when he tried to make the move, he got a little careless and got his arm out from his body. When you get that close to the line of scrimmage, that tight to the goal line, you got to understand you have to keep playing tight. He’ll learn. This is really his second year at running back. You guys saw how dynamic he can be, you saw how explosive he can be. But at the same time, he’s got to understand you have to protect the ball.”

On integrating WR Terry McLaurin and TE Logan Thomas into the offense:

“Well, early on you take what they give you. If you’re not having success, you’re only getting what they’re giving. Now you have a little success and then they have to get off a little bit. And as we begin to run the ball a little more effectively, you can see the passing game begin to open up a little more.”

On his evaluation of K Dustin Hopkins’ performance:

“Yes, it did. I think the one thing you got to is say, hell, it was a 53-yarder (field goal attempt), just go stroke it. If you look at the ones that were kicked before – it was forty-something (yards) – that thing hit the net. So, if you hit that ball with the same stroke, you’re going to be fine. There’s something about that number when you start talking about 50 (yard field goal), that gets into kickers overthinking things. And Dustin has got a good stroke. So, does it validate it? Yes, but you’d still like him to make them all.”

On if a 58-yard field goal is in Hopkins’ range:

“That’s too far. The last thing you want to do is give them the ball there on the 48-yard-line. The idea was pin them down there, keep it down there, get the ball back and get another two scores. That’s what that decision was all about.”

On the performance of DE Chase Young:

“I thought he had his moments. Early on, we got the ball out, they used a lot of play action. He got chipped a lot. That’s what’s going to happen. And he’s gotta understand that. You’re not going to get free shots; you’re going to have to work for everything he gets. When teams try to control the pass rush that way, we have to come up with more opportunities somewhere else, too. I can’t wait to get an opportunity to take a look at the tape. 

Tyler Butler