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Ron Rivera calls out Washington Commanders players for ‘screwing around’ during practice

Matt Johnson

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera knows the value of practice reps in training camp and how important it is to not waste precious time. After several days of his players doing just that, Washington’s head coach used the microphone to respond.

As covered in-depth by Ben Standig of The Athletic, Commanders’ practices this week have seen instances of trash talking and ‘conversations’ after the whistle skyrocketing. It’s a natural outcome after players put on their pads for the first time this summer with collisions frequently occurring and plenty of arguing back and forth.

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Rivera, who has coached in the NFL since 1997 and played in the league from 1984-’92, knows it’s all part of the process. As a head coach, though, he’s letting players know that there is a line in the sand and it’s starting to get crossed.

After some back-and-forth between linemen continued during a no-huddle drill in practice on Wednesday, Rivera stopped everything. Not only did he address the players during practice, he brought up the matter to reporters after.

“The reason I did (that) was because we were working a certain phase of our game. … No-huddle. And we’re sitting there arguing about little things. The whistle gets blown, and we’re still screwing around. We can’t do that. We got to get our asses in position, and we got to play football. That’s what I was off about.”

Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera on stopping practice after repeated trash talking from players.

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This is typical for Rivera, a veteran coach who has very little patience for wasted time and distractions. When he first took the job in Washington, he removed ping pong tables from the locker room in 2020.

  • Ron Rivera record: 90-82 overall, 14-19 with Washington Commanders

Rivera went after defensive tackle Daniel Wise for frequently trash talking and getting into it with teammates throughout the day. Speaking to reporters, he explained why it’s so important for him to address it now.

“When the game gets hard, when there’s pressure on you, you can’t do that. You got to maintain your focus and line up and play football. You got to get past those things. That’s why I was a little agitated about what went on out there, because you can’t get those real reps until you play a game, but this is as close as it’s going to get.”

Ron Rivera on his frustration from players constantly bickering during practice

It’s possible Washington’s defense has reason to talk trash to its opposition right now, with quarterback Carson Wentz among those struggling. However, it’s evident that players took it past Rivera’s line of patience. If it happens again, the 6-foot-3 head coach might have to take things even further.