Despite previously indicating interest in holding joint practices against another team during Washington's upcoming training camp, Ron Rivera announced on Tuesday that the Commanders will only compete against themselves this summer.
"We're gonna focus on us and really just try to work and continue to develop," Rivera told reporters following Tuesday's OTAs session.
While at the NFL's annual meetings in Florida back in late March, Rivera explained to the media that he was looking into the prospect of getting together with a different squad at camp. Alas, that won't be happening this time around.
Under the coach, Washington's starters haven't seen much preseason action, and now that the exhibition schedule is down to three contests instead of four, the first-stringers figure to play even less. Perhaps Rivera will consider tweaking that approach in order to make up for the lack of truly live reps.
This August, the Commanders are slated to face the Panthers in the preseason opener before traveling to meet up with the Chiefs and then closing the trio of matchups against the Ravens.
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Rivera's obvious familiarity with Carolina made them a potential fit for joint practices, as did his longtime friendship with Kansas City boss Andy Reid. Baltimore, meanwhile, is always an option, at least in theory, thanks to the proximity factor.
Rivera wasn't asked on Tuesday why nothing was set up with any of those opponents after he expressed a desire for such an activity a couple of months ago. Instead, he simply pushed the message of allowing Washington to grow on its own.
"We really like where we are," he said. "It's a young team. A lot of guys that have played a lot of football for us already and added some good young players. So we just feel this is about us focusing on who we are."
While with the Panthers in 2019, Rivera's franchise paired up with the Bills for joint practices in South Carolina. Comments made by Rivera from that time espoused the notion of lining up versus an unfamiliar roster, which is a notable juxtaposition from the stance he took Tuesday.
"It's an opportunity to do something different, see something different, feel something different," Rivera said in 2019. "It's just one of those things that, as you go through it, it's an opportunity to test yourself."
For comparison's sake in the NFC East, the Cowboys will cross paths with both the Chargers and the Broncos as they progress through their training camp, while the Eagles will encounter the Browns and the Dolphins. The Giants do not have any current joint practices scheduled.