Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera addressed the media Monday afternoon following the team's 24-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Here are some key notes and quotes from the press conference.
-- Washington is 2-5 heading into Week 8, which is not unfamiliar territory for the team. It was 2-5 last season after a 25-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys, which was the start of the team winning six of its last 10 games. Consistency, Rivera said, was the key to that turnaround. The team put itself in position and executed when it needed to the most. That has not been the same case through the first half of this season, which was most recently on display against the Packers. Washington found a way to correct its errors last season, so perhaps it can do the same again.
"We have a successful series and have another successful series and that I think is what helps us more than anything," Rivera said. It's something that we saw last year as we got better and better."
-- Last year, Washington was enticed with the prospect of a playoff berth despite being 2-5. No team in the NFC East was playing particularly well at that time, so the postseason was still an option. Things are a little more difficult this year with the Dallas Cowboys planted firmly atop the division, but Rivera insists there's still plenty to play for with 10 games left. The expectations were high for Washington in 2021, and Rivera said honestly that the team has not played up to those hopes. Washington continued to play hard last year, which led to the team going on a streak to end the season. That's what Rivera hopes will happen again in a division where anything can happen.
"The thing that we have to do more than anything else is continue to work hard, continue to prepare and take it one game at a time focusing on that one game and quite honestly, win."
The Washington Football Team travelled to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field and was defeated, 24-10. (Photos by Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)
-- Taylor Heinicke doesn't have too many starts under his belt, but he's developed a small body of work that Rivera can evaluate. From what the head coach has seen, Heinicke is better when he plays to his personality. He's the kind of player who works well when he takes chances, and that provides fuel for the entire unit. When he pays cautious or thinks too much, that's when the mistakes start to occur. Part of that comes from his lack of experience, and as Heinicke gets more snaps, Rivera wants to see him make quicker decisions.
"Those are the types of things I think we're starting to see that some of his inexperience is showing," Rivera said. "I think obviously he has the skillset that you're looking for. He does have the ability to lead. He's still young in terms of actual opportunities and experiences as a quarterback in the league so far."
-- The past two weeks have clearly not gone as the team had hoped. It had opportunities to pull out wins against the Kansas City Chiefs and Packers, but to Rivera's point, inconsistencies in the second half resulted in hopes being dashed. Still, Rivera has seen definitive progress in that span. The message has been to get better every day, and that approach will be the same heading into Week 8 against the Broncos, who have lost their last four games. Rivera didn't us the words "must win," but he didn't deny this week will have serious implications on how the team moves forward.
"There's an opportunity to win," Rivera said. "This is a game I think is very important going into the bye because it could really set the tone and tempo for us going into it and something we can build on as we come out of it. The focus obviously will be to improve and to prepare."
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