Some are reading a lot into Rivera's quotes about Steven Montez originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
In Washington, as Ron Rivera has certainly learned by now, every comment relating to the football team is going to be picked apart, put back together and then picked apart again. That's especially true when it comes to any quarterback-related talk.
So, on Wednesday, when Rivera praised Steven Montez — an undrafted free agent who's been with the team as a practice squadder since not being selected in April's event — some people were quick to wonder if the assessment had anything to do with Dwayne Haskins.
First, here's how the coach evaluated Montez, who is on Washington's "protected list" this week as a "security move", meaning another franchise can't sign him to their roster.
"He's a young quarterback, he's got some good, natural athleticism to him," Rivera began. "Very strong arm, he has the ability to make all kinds of throws. He's got to work on his touch — he's got a 90-mile an hour fastball and an 89-mile an hour fastball, so there's not a lot of difference in the way he throws the ball."
That's all pretty standard stuff. The following quotes, on the other hand, may not be.
"Very smart, very bright," Rivera continued. "He spends the time studying, doing the things that you want young quarterbacks to do in terms of developing habits, good habits. He's kind of followed Kyle and Alex around an awful lot and I think a little bit is rubbing off on him."
For comparison's sake, here is how Rivera answered a Monday question about what Haskins can learn from Alex Smith, the Burgundy and Gold's current starter.
"Again, it’s really about how to prepare, how to take what you’re getting — the information that you’re getting — how to disseminate it and then how to transfer it onto the field," he said. "Again, my example of coming in early, meeting with the coaches, meeting with the other quarterbacks, having discussions, talking about what you’re seeing and not seeing. Just studying and preparing."
"He’s got to continue to grow on and become a more astute player and student of the game," Rivera also said.
So, is Rivera trying to get Haskins' attention by lauding Montez's preparation just a few days after explaining that he wanted to see Haskins prepare more? It's certainly possible, and a conclusion many fans, analysts and others will make.
However, only Rivera truly knows whether he was merely acknowledging Montez's work ethic or if there was another motive behind his remarks. Regardless, they do add another layer to an already layered conversation, one that will hopefully end one day with Washington actually finding its answer under center. Until then, these stories will keep existing.