The Washington Football Team defending its NFC East championship? It might be as easy at 1-2-3.
OK, "easy'' is the wrong word. But coach Ron Rivera, speaking recently to 106.7 The Fan, does see a numerical formula of a sort. He's got a "1.'' He's got a "2.'' And we will provide the "3.''
The fellas asked Rivera about his No. 1 concern.
"Maturity'' is the word pinpointed by the coach.
“I think we have to grow and mature as a football team,'' Rivera said. "I don’t think we can show up and automatically assume we’re gonna pick up where we left off last year.''
And then comes the "No. 2,'' a concept volunteered by Rivera. The question was about any "under-the-radar players'' who might emerge in this camp. Rivera turned the issue into position groups that he wishes to see great improvement from - the wide receivers and safeties - and then after saying he didn't want to name names, he did so anyway.
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“If there are two guys that I really want to see if they’re ready to take the next step, honestly, they’re both our defensive ends,” Rivera said. “Montez [Sweat] and Chase [Young] are two guys if they take the next big step in their development as football players [they] can really take their game to the next level and that can help us out as a football team.”
Young and Sweat, of course, clearly have star potential. But ... the number "3'' looms. And that's where we pitch in.
At this point in training camp, the other teams in the NFC East largely share Washington's optimism. The Dallas Cowboys, of course, always think that way in August. The New York Giants, as much disgruntlement as their might be over coach Joe Judge's overbearing style, have the talent to improve greatly. And in Philadelphia? Maybe they're the fourth-best team in the division ... or maybe they engineer a blockbuster trade for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson that completely alters the look of this division.
Rivera, though, has his eyes in the right place: Washington, right now, need to concern itself with Washington.
“I say we have the potential to be a really good football team,” Rivera said. "This is what training camp is for. It is to develop and see where we are. To see if we have taken those next steps, which I believe we can.''
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