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Ron Rivera lauds Dave Gettleman, sees progress from Daniel Jones, more takeaways

Washington coach speaks with New York media

NFL Combine - Day 2 Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera touched on a wide array of interesting topics Wednesday in a conference call with New York media before his team comes to the Meadowlands this weekend to face the New York Giants.

Here are some of the takeaways.

On his relationship with Dave Gettleman, and on taking the Washington job before the Giants even had a chance to try and recruit him ...

“Well, first of all, I was thoroughly recruited to come here, and actually spent a lot of time and got a lot of opportunities to look at this team and just felt pretty comfortable. It was never really about the money, I think it was more about the challenge. For whatever reason, I like the challenge and it’s been a challenge, to be honest with you. But I will say this, my relationship with Dave Gettleman is good, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. My success that I had in Carolina if you look at it, five years, four of those five in the playoffs, were directly related to my relationship with Dave. Dave has a philosophy which I think is a very good one and which we’re trying to institute here, which is big guys give you a chance to compete. I really look at what this football team has in terms of skill positions, look at the offensive line, big guys, I look at the defensive line, look at the back seven, and I think he’s headed in that direction again. But, again, my relationship with Dave is I have a tremendous amount of respect for who he is as a general manager, but more importantly who he is as a man. I really do mean that, too, because he’s really a part of the reason I’ve had success as a head coach.”

On why he pulled quarterback Dwayne Haskins from the lineup ...

“Well, you sit there and look at what we did with Dwayne – we didn’t have the offseason you would’ve liked to have had in terms of his chance to develop. So we went into training camp and we gave him every rep with the 1’s for several weeks, and then we gave him a chance to play and he played four straight games and every rep he’s taken has been with the 1’s. Just in the evaluation process, we weren’t seeing what we needed to see. We didn’t see the growth that we thought you needed.”

On Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones ...

“I’ll tell you what, especially if you watch last week, the young man is progressing. And it’s a new system and it’s probably a system that’s a little bit more demanding too for him. Anytime you change head coaches, you change coordinators, there’s going to be some things that you’re going to have to learn, but I tell you what, I like who he is, I like the way he plays. The philosophy of you’ve got to protect him and put good players around him, I think that’s where the Giants are headed. This is a good football team we’re playing, I don’t care about the record. This is the kind of team that they’re growing, they’re playing a lot of guys and you see improvement. This should be a very competitive game on Sunday.”

On James Bradberry, who played for him with the Carolina Panthers ...

“He’s one of my favorites, he really is because he just comes to work and the guy works hard. He’s a big, physical corner. That’s what we needed in Carolina to be able to be competitive in the division because if you look at who he played against, [Saints WR] Michael Thomas, [Buccaneers WR] Mike Evans, he played against those kinds of guys, [Falcons WR] Julio Jones, [Falcons WR] Calvin Ridley. This guy competed at the highest level against the highest level players, and so he’s just one of those guys that came to work and was physical and was dependable. Sure, he might’ve gotten beaten once in a while but man, he would come back, line up and he would be physical. And he’s a guy that I knew would get a good opportunity and really I think he’s a guy that the more he works at it, the more reps he gets, the better and better he keeps getting.”

On the woeful NFC East ...

“Well, first of all, you have three new head coaches. Philly’s been beat up, they’ve lost a lot of good players, so physically they’re not the team they were before they got hurt. As they get those guys back, they’re going to be better. We’ve got some young teams in our division – when I say ‘young teams’ I look at us and New York, I think they’re very young. I think Dallas is still learning who they are with the new head coach. They’ve got some veteran guys and they lost their quarterback, so I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the rest of this division unfolds.”