Rivera Addresses Three-Game Skid

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On the injury updates:
“Well, as far as [QB Ryan Fitzpatrick] Fitz is concerned, what I’ve gotten from the doctors is that he has an MRI that’s going to be in two weeks and that’s when they’re going to evaluate him. [TE] Logan [Thomas], we’ll see how he is. Hopefully he’s getting closer and closer. It may be a week-to-week thing. We’ll see how it goes today. We’ll see how he is tomorrow and then we’ll see how he is on Wednesday. I have not gotten the update on [WR] Dyami [Brown] yet. We’ll see how [G] Brandon [Scherff] is come Wednesday morning and we’ll make a decision as to where he is headed as far as whether he plays this week or we wait until after the bye. So, we’ll see on Wednesday.

On if RB Antonio Gibson came out of the game healthy:
“Yeah, as far as I know he did. Saw him afterwards and he looked pretty good. But again, I still have not gotten our medical update yet because we’re still checking on our players.”

On if Fitzpatrick is on schedule with his rehab:
“I was told by the doctors that he’ll get an MRI in a couple of weeks and they’ll evaluate him then. I can’t tell you. I’ve tried to tell you guys I gave no timeframe.”

On what he thought of QB Taylor Heinicke’s performance after watching the tape:
“Well, obviously the only thing you really wish is on the touchdown or what wasn’t a touchdown, he just gets the ball across the goal line before he tries to protect himself. That was unfortunate. Other than that, I thought his performance was a type of performance that gives you a chance to win.”

On what he saw from his team down the stretch last year after starting 2-5 and what he wants to see out of this group as the season progresses:
“Well, more consistency in terms of offense, defense, special teams, as far as play. We put ourselves in position. We make some plays then we give up some plays and we’ve got to be more consistent where we follow success. We have a successful series and have another successful series and that I think is what helps us more than anything. It’s something that we saw last year as we got better and better. It was because I think we played much more consistent, sound football.”

On if limiting RB Antonio Gibson’s snaps was more about managing his injury or the gameplan:
“I think a little bit of both. But for the most part, I think the game situation in the matchups in the late third quarter, early fourth quarter, really dictated that we had to go to a little bit more wide open offensively and try and give ourselves the opportunity to score points to win the game.”

On if he has an update on the training staff:
“I think our medical staff is more than adequate. We’re in a pretty good situation. We have brought some trainers in, guys and gals that worked with us in the past are back. We have all hands on deck.”

On how he plans to motivate the team the rest of the season:
“What’s in front of us. We still have 10 games to play, obviously, and anything can happen if you take them one at a time. What I’m hoping for and looking for is for us to start playing consistent football, better football. I get it. I know the expectations were high coming into this year. The truth of the matter is we haven’t lived up to those. The thing that we have to do more than anything else is continue to work hard, continue to prepare and take it one game at a time focusing on that one game and quite honestly, win.”

On how he assesses players when plays breakdown:
“In situational circumstances like that, it is difficult to give a fair assessment. Because again, if you look at what happened and what [Green Bay Packers QB] Aaron Rogers did, that was pretty impressive. He rolls out to the defensive left, he’s going a hundred miles an hour, he stops turns and throws the ball the way across the formation, which we saw last week with Kansas City. It’s tough. I mean, you want guys that are going to say, hey, let’s plaster, lets plaster, lets plaster when everything’s pulling you one direction, while some guy stops and throws the cross. That’s a tough thing that really is. You have to be very fair on that when you look at it because there’s more than one or two guys that you have to account for in a situation like that.”

On how he evaluates the offensive line and C Chase Roullier:
“I think Chase has done an excellent job played very well for us. He controls the line for the most part. Up until yesterday I’d say the offensive line has been outstanding. The unfortunate part was late in the game everybody knew what we were going to do, they’re able to pin their ears back and they got some pressure on our quarterback. But I have no concern with what we’ve done offensively with the offensive line. I think those guys have held up for the most part and they’ve done a great job. I mean, if you look at what we accumulated in terms of stats, and I know figures lie and liars’ figure. But based on the success we had throwing the ball, it’d be fair to say that in my opinion, they played well.”

On what LB Jamin Davis could have done better on TE Robert Tonyan touchdown:
“Well, the biggest thing on that is you’d like to see Jamin, I don’t disagree, get his hands on a little bit first. Secondly, then he’s got to understand where his leverage help is and then work to that position. In that particular defense, he had post help. So, at the snap of the ball, as you said, you’d like to see him get his hands on him and convert it to the outside. Because knowing that that guy runs the post route, he’s going to run right into the safety. And if he runs a seven or an out, he’s going to run right to where Jamin is and that’s an experience thing. The more Jamin plays, the more he works, the more he gets into that situation where he’s playing that particular coverage in that particular situation. He’ll know, and he’ll learn, hey, based on this, I’ve got to go ahead and convert to an outside position because my leverage is to the inside.”

On if he has reconsidered on changing his stance upon winning the toss:
“Well, I liked that option just because of the situation it gets. At some point we’re going to play better defense. At some point we’ll get stops. We’ll make stops on the first drive or at least I believe we can, or we have that ability. Because I think the thing that you got understand too, is we want to keep the option going into the second half. If you could keep everything within reach and you do things correctly, it just plays into the theory. Being able to touch the ball first and the second half and being the ones that get to touch the ball last gives yourself a chance to win.”

On what he has learned about his officiating questions from the game:

“I haven’t sent anything in yet. But to me, I think you have taken a long look at the circumstance’s situation. He extended the ball, and he pulled the ball in to curl up and protect himself. I’m not necessarily sure if you could interpret it or you should interpret that his intent was, he was giving himself up as much as he was protecting. You know what I’m saying? Now it’s a matter of semantics, how you look at it. Because one of the things that they do say all the time is we don’t judge intent. Well, if we’re not judging intent then how can we say that? Oh, well he gave himself up. Because it really looked like his intent was to do what, stick the ball across the line of scrimmage, then pull everything in to protect himself. You know what I’m saying? So does that intent mean he was giving himself up or he was just trying to cross the line of scrimmage. And so, when I do send it in, that’ll be the question that I ask more so than anything else is did we judge intent on display or are we truly saying that in this instance he gave himself up as opposed to just trying to protect himself as he crosses the goal line.”

On if he is satisfied with the explanation on the non-touchdown:
“I’m not, just because of the fact that for a couple of reasons, one is on any given play there’s one guy that’s assigned to watch the quarterback.  So, during that play, he goes to run the quarterback sneak. He fumbled the ball, or the ball got knocked out of his hands, he grabbed the ball and then lurched forward across the goal line. What I was told was that while they were looking at the review, they couldn’t tell whether or not his knees had touched the ground. Well, there’s a couple assumptions you can make. And apparently you can’t rule a judge on assumption. And that is that because all those bodies were on the ground. He never put his knees on the ground. But when you look at the coaches’ rear view as far as the end zones, you see that he never touches the ground with this knee. Well, then I started thinking: wait a minute, I thought we had a guy that’s assigned to just watch the quarterback. If that’s true, then shouldn’t he have been able to tell whether he had touched the ground or not. So again, I’m sending that one in for an explanation as well, just so it can be explained to me why and how that was judged. You know what I’m saying? Because again, if we assign a guy who’s sole purpose for the most part is to protect and watch the quarterback and protect him, then wouldn’t he be able to tell you whether or not his knees were on the ground. Okay. And again, I get the whole role of when a guy slides and gives himself up. But in that instance, wouldn’t you say more than anything else it looked like he was extending the score of the touchdown and then he curled up to protect themselves and slid across the goal line. Again, that’s what we’re judging intent.”

On evaluating Heinicke thus far this season:
“What we’ve seen when he plays is his personality, you can see the positive. You see his ability to move the team. You see it’s the ability to make plays. One thing that we’ve kind of fallen off lately has been scoring in the red zone, especially in the last two weeks. We’ve had opportunities, and we haven’t done it. To me, when you see him play cautious, I think he has tendency to make mistakes. He’s prone to those things. I do think that based on the things that we’ve seen and some of the missed plays he’s had, I think that shows his inexperience. There are a couple of things that when you watch some of the tape and you see some of the plays that break down, David, you sit there and say, ‘wow, now I think he’ll understand that he’s got to throw it this way.’ ‘Now, I think he understands that when he sees this type of role by the coroner coming down into position, I know I’ve got that throw to make.’ Those are the types of things I think we’re starting to see that some of his inexperience is showing. I think obviously he has the skillset that you’re looking for. He does have the ability to lead. He’s still young in terms of actual opportunities and experiences as a quarterback in the league so far.”

On Heinicke missing high:
“I think obviously there is some mechanics to it. When you watch some of his body posture, you see him tend to throw a little bit of weight on his back foot and hasn’t really transferred through on the throw. I think sometimes it has been him just trying to be too perfect. He had Terry [McLaurin] one time, he had Dax Milne another time that if he delivers a better ball and those guys don’t have to try and go up and make those plays, they have a chance to make the catches. Again, I think some of it is sometimes I think his internal clock will speed up and he may throw a little fast. And again, I’m just guessing as far as those things are concerned, but I don’t disagree with what you’re saying as far as he does miss high at times.”

On the fourth down incompletion to TE Ricky Seals-Jones:
“Unfortunately, my opinion doesn’t matter as far as that’s concerned. But I struggle when I asked for an explanation and I said, well, there wasn’t any restriction because I always thought if the guy was holding you there’s restriction. But that again is up to interpretation. I do think a couple things, one is Taylor could have thrown a little bit better ball to Ricky in terms of instead of having Ricky having to work back towards the ball, he puts a little bit more down in front of him. At the same time, you would like to see Ricky work a little bit back towards him as well. When you watch, when Ricky makes the break, he’s open immediately. If Taylor could set and he could throw it that quickly, he beats the defender from getting there to do what happens. If Ricky’s breaking downhill a little bit more, again, it puts him in better position to keep the defender from getting there.”

On the fourth down quarterback sneak:  
“Yes it did, but the referee wasn’t wrong on that. We broke it too soon. What we have to do is we have to wait until they clear it, and then we want to hustle to the line and go. What that really does is it slows the defensive line from an opportunity to really dig their heels in. So what happened on that play? What we have to recognize is that until the head referee starts to play clock, that ball is not set to play. So that was a mechanical thing on us for getting out there too soon. It’s one thing that we have to constantly remind ourselves up, but that’s on us. That’s on coaching because, again, we can tell them, ‘hey, just hold this play until he clears it.’ And then bam, once he clears it, we hustle to line, everybody gets set quickly, we snap and go.”

On bringing the defensive momentum from the last few games forward:
“Well, I think one of the biggest things we we’ve, we’ve gotta be able to do more so than anything else is when we come out in that second half is we gotta be consistent. We gotta play consistently. You know, we have, for whatever reason, a mistake or turnover that pops up that’ll kind of throw us off our rhythm a little bit and then we try to regain it. We’ve got to be able to come out and pick up right where we left off at that half. And again, that’s, that’s the consistency in which I’m talking about.”

On what would make him satisfied heading into the bye:
“I think coming out of the buy in a healthy position as well. I mean, whether it’s getting guys back that we have right now, like getting a Logan [Thomas] back after the game, if he doesn’t play this week. Having Brandon [Scherff] back, if he doesn’t play, [Sam] Cosmi back if he doesn’t play. Getting some healthy receivers back on the field Cam Sims would be great to have him back. I think there’s just a number of those types of things. To me, playing a very consistent game against Denver would be a really good thing for us. I really do believe that because again, we didn’t win this last game and I know it’s all about winning, but when you look at it, take a step back and say, you know what? We showed what we can do. It was good, but it wasn’t good enough to win, but we can take that another step and play that way with consistency. I think that bodes well for us going through.”

On if getting healthy will help build consistency:
“It is, you know, to me, it is because again, one thing is that we’ve relied on a lot of young guys to try and play it and make things happen. The one thing we’ve talked about is that it’s the lack of experience and understanding and feel for how things happen when you’re on the field. I think that would help us. I think that could help us. I’m not gonna say that’s the reason that we’re not playing consistent, but I think that could help us and really play probably with a little bit more confidence.”

On if his approach changes heading into Denver:
“It’s going to be exactly like we did last week. There’s lot of things that we harped on, a lot things that we really focused in on, and we’ll continue to do that, especially in practice. I think the demand will be obviously to get better, get a little bit better each time. That’s exactly how we will approach this game. There’s an opportunity to win. This is a game I think it’s very important going into the bye because it could really set the tone and tempo for us going into it and something we can build on as we come out of it, come out of the bye. The focus obviously will be to improve and to prepare.”

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