Washington football team: Coach Ron Rivera’s ‘1-2-3’ training camp concerns – and a plan

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Washington football team defending their NFC East championship? It could be as easy at 1-2-3.

OK, “easy” is not the right word. But coach Ron Rivera, speaking recently to 106.7 The fan, sees a numeric formula of some sort. It has a “1”. It has a “2”. And we will provide the “3”.

The guys asked Rivera about his No. 1 concern.

“Maturity” is the word pinned down 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 going to pick up where we left off last year.”

And then comes “No. 2”, a concept proposed by Rivera. The question was about the “under the radar players” who might emerge in this camp. Rivera turned the issue into positional groups he wants to see big improvement from — wide receivers and safeties — and then after saying he didn’t want to name names, he did it anyway.

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“If there’s two guys I really want to see if they’re ready to take the next step, honestly they’re both our defensive end,” Rivera said. “Come up [Sweat] and hunt [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 as a football team.

Young and Sweat, of course, clearly have star potential. But … the number “3” is looming. And that’s where we come in.

At this point in training camp, the other NFC East teams largely share Washington’s optimism. The Dallas Cowboys, of course, still think that way in August. The New York Giants, as unhappy as they are with coach Joe Judge’s bossy style, have the talent to improve dramatically. And in Philadelphia? Maybe they’re the fourth-best team in the division…or maybe they engineered a blockbuster trade for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson that completely changes the way this division looks.

Rivera, however, has his eyes in the right place: Washington, right now, has to worry about Washington.

“I say we have the potential to be a very good football team,” Rivera said. “That’s what training camp is for. It’s to develop and see where we are. To see if we’ve taken the next steps, which I believe we can.”

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