'Heck of a football player': Murray is at top of Rivera's mind originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Ron Rivera's Monday press conference served mostly as a time to reflect on the Washington Football Team's strong debut against the Eagles.
However, in one of his answers, Rivera showed that limiting Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, whom Washington will be visiting in Week 2, was already weighing heavy on his mind.
At one point during the Zoom, the coach was asked if he felt like Carson Wentz was worn down by the Burgundy and Gold's constant and powerful pass rush. Rivera agreed with that sentiment — and then quickly brought up Murray.
"Next week will be an even bigger task," he told reporters. "If you guys got a chance to catch any of that [Cardinals] game [Sunday] night, you saw it was a very active quarterback. He’s a heck of a football player and you’re going to have to have guys that are fresh."
Rivera's assessment of the increase in difficulty his defense is about experience is correct. While Wentz is effective with his mobility, Murray relies on it; he had 91 rushing yards against the 49ers in Arizona's opener and averaged 35 yards per contest as a rookie on the ground.
That means that the defensive line and the blitzing linebackers have to be a bit more precise when attacking Murray. The way they were teeing off on Wentz was insanely fun to watch, but if they get too aggressive pursuing the 23-year-old, he'll be more liable to race around them and make them pay.
"Guys are going to have to understand that you have to be ready to rotate, you have to be ready to roll and, again, you’ve got to play high energy against a terrific football player," Rivera said.
In their first test, Washington's front annihilated an undermanned group of blockers and rattled Wentz more and more with each snap. They certainly have the talent to get to Murray, but bringing him down will be harder. Fortunately, it sounds like Rivera will make sure they're as prepared as possible for the challenge.