Ron Rivera: ‘We’re gonna play to win’ Sunday vs. Giants

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There’s a lot at stake for the Washington Football Team in Sunday’s regular-season finale. A Washington win means nothing for the 2021 season but could cause more damage for 2022 and beyond.

Washington currently sits at No. 9 in the 2022 NFL draft order, a Washington win could drop them to as low as No. 13. With a loss, Washington could move to as high as No. 6.

As we all know, Washington desperately needs a quarterback, so you’d think a higher draft position would be of importance for the WFT.

For fans, sure, it matters. For coaches and players, they do not care about potential draft positioning. Head coach Ron Rivera said as much Monday.

“Well, we’re gonna play to win,” Rivera said when asked about draft positioning. “To me, that’s human nature. You should always play the win, and that’s gonna be the approach. Whoever you put out on the football field, you’re putting out there to win. That’s going to be the whole attitude, the whole mentality as we prepare this week.”

Rivera is right. You always play to win. What are you saying to your team if you bench your remaining best players in an effort to lose to move up a few spots in the NFL draft? These same players who’ve battled through trying circumstances all season and deserve to end their season on a positive note.

Wins in the regular-season finale do not carry over into the following season. Don’t be fooled by that talk. Every year, NFL teams have roster churns. But for your current players, it means everything. What would Rivera say to Jonathan Allen if he the coach benched Terry McLaurin, Brandon Scherff and Antonio Gibson for the finale?

Rivera is old-school. He sees every game as important, regardless of where his team is in the standings. The game is important for developmental purposes for some of the younger players, but you are still trying to win.

Yes, losing for draft positioning sounds great on paper, but that’s not how things work in the NFL for the most part. Now, if a quarterback prospect such as Joe Burrow was the prize, then, perhaps Rivera would feel differently.