Rivera: Left Tackle Is On Roster (For Now)

Alan Lepore

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera appeared on the Kevin Sheehan Show this morning. Here are my takeaways from this interview.

Still a QB Competition, but…

If there had been a first preseason game, the Washington Football Team would have trotted Dwayne Haskins out as the starter. Ron did not even hesitate that Haskins would have gotten the first look. If there had been a second preseason game, Ron said that Kyle Allen would have started that one. Rivera was quick to make sure that he added that this is still a competition, and no one is getting handed a starting spot. With all of that being said—with everything that Ron has gone on about Dwayne’s talent and maturity—it is Dwayne’s starting job to lose. He will have to have a massive negative regression for Kyle Allen to become the starter.

Read Alan's Latest: Dwayne's Dream Is To Be A Captain

Left Tackle is on the Roster

One of the biggest question marks heading into camp and the season is who will protect—presumably—Dwayne’s blind side. Ron did say that—as of today—the starting left tackle is on the roster. He first brought up rookie Saahdiq Charles, but also mentioned Geron Christian and how he’s been here developing, and also Cornelius Lucas who was signed in free agency who played right tackle for the Chicago Bears last year. As with every position battle, we will begin to learn more when they start hitting and the media can watch everything unfold. As much as Ron talks up Christian, this could still be Charles starting job to lose.

Alex Smith Still a Ways Away

While Alex is still making progress, but he still needs to show that he can protect himself. That is the biggest thing that the medical staff, training staff, Ron, and other coaches are looking for. Alex being where he is now is a miracle unto itself. It’s also a huge testament to his commitment and drive to even be cleared by his surgical team to participate in training camp at this level. While we are all hoping for the best for Alex and root to see him on the field again, it is going to take time and patience from all of us. His biggest contributions this camp—until cleared otherwise—will be as a sounding board and leader for Dwayne, Kyle, rookie quarterback Steve Montez, and wide receiver Terry McLaurin among others.

Read Alan's Latest: Five Takeaways from Ron Rivera on Monday

Practice Fast, Play Fast

One thing that was noticeable during a Jay Gruden training camp and practice was that there was not as much of an urgency as you typically see in championship caliber teams. Ron is implementing an up-tempo style of play which requires an up-tempo style of practice. He wants players hustling from drill to drill. He expects offensive players to hustle to the line instead of walking so Dwayne and Kyle have enough time to read the defense and adjust accordingly. Ron also expects there to be more up-tempo on defense so players can get on and off the field in quick fashion.

Players to Watch

A fan base always looks for who to keep an eye on that could make some noise. Ron listed five players at five different positions. Outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis has been someone that has been brought up unprompted that both defensive coordinator Jack del Rio and Rivera mention. They are looking for players that have speed that can translate on both defense and special teams. Left tackle Saahdiq Charles—once again—was brought up as a player that is impressing, and a player Ron can’t wait to see in pads. The back end of the wide receiver competition could come down to who can contribute the most on special teams. But, Cam Sims is showing his talent and potential in camp again and someone Ron wanted to recognize. One could argue that if Cam didn’t play that last preseason game—and has those drops—he makes the roster instead of Steve Sims. Arguably defensive end Montez Sweat has been the most talked about defensive ends outside of Ryan Anderson by coaches and players. No questions need to be asked about how Montez is transitioning to a 4-3 end, because everyone will talk about how he’s looking and committed to getting this right. Finally, safety Troy Apke was brought up as a player who has made plays and has speed that can help on the back end.

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Alan Lepore joins "Washington Football" on SI.com, while still doing outstanding work as an editor/writer at FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. You can follow him on Twitter @AlanLepore or on instagram @leporealan. Alan is a Villanova University MPA Nonprofit Management candidate and is a fundraising/development professional. 

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