Ron Rivera enters his second season as head coach of the Washington football team and is determined to apply the lessons he learned in his first year. In an interview with ESPN on Thursday, Rivera discussed one specific thing he wants to do better this time: tackling quarterback during training camp.
A year ago, Rivera bet on Dwayne Haskins as a starting defender. Although he did not name Haskins as a starter until mid-August, it was clear how Rivera leaned. He refused to hold an open competition for this job and made Haskins work exclusively with the incumbents.
This did not go well for either Rivera or the team. Haskins did a good job during training camp, but none of that came up during the regular season and he was put on the bench after only four games. Rivera told ESPN that he now sees how he could have done better with the training camp.
“The mistake I made was that my approach was wrong,”; Rivera told ESPN on Thursday. “I had to do the biggest possible race and that’s up to me. I wanted to try to find a man. I thought [Haskins] he was ready to take a step and take every opportunity. I’m trying to build that relationship he needs with his teammates and that would be something we might have been able to see earlier and we could have done something different, maybe. “
Rivera said focusing solely on Haskins does not give them a complete picture of what needs to be worked on, especially since there have been no pre-season games due to COVID-19. He told ESPN that he would like to play in other quarterbacks and will not make the same mistake again.
“I think it would give us a better idea of what we needed to focus on,” Rivera said. “What we had to improve, how we had to approach it with our players and positioning boys. I think what we missed was not having understanding and feeling.”
Learning lessons from last summer
Rivera says last summer’s experience and the following season helped him figure out how to better cope with training camp. This time he will do what he thinks he should have done last year: there will be an open quarterback competition. Although he has Ryan Fitzpatrick, a reliable and reliable starting quarterback, he believes that a QB race between Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen will benefit the team as a whole.
“It’s going to be a good race,” Rivera told ESPN. “I’m looking forward to it. It will push our football team and make our football team better. I just feel like going into it knowing that we have a proven person there who has the ability to lead us, but again we have a person in Taylor, which shows us that he can do it. They will compete, they will insist, and I look forward to that. “
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