The Washington Commanders had one of the more impressive wins of the 2022 NFL season on Monday night, defeating the previously unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles 32-21 on the road.
Now, on a short week, the 5-5 Commanders travel south to play the Houston Texans [1-7-1].
As many Washington fans can attest, these are the types of games Washington has lost for years. When fans began to feel confident in the team and the players believing they’d arrived, Washington would look unprepared and lose to a team many thought it should beat.
It didn’t matter who the coach or the quarterback was; the results were always the same.
That’s part of the culture head coach Ron Rivera spoke of changing when he arrived in 2020.
Rivera’s team can change that perception this week against the Texans. After Monday’s win over the Eagles, Washington’s locker room was in a celebratory mood — and rightfully so — but Rivera thought the younger players may have been celebrating a bit too much.
“We’ve not arrived by any means, and I’m gonna get on my young guys tomorrow because with the way they were celebrating in the locker room, the best thing it shows that this is the first time they’ve been there,” Rivera said Tuesday.
“People tell you to act like you’ve been there; well, I’m gonna give them a little grief for that. I get it. I appreciate the energy and the excitement. Now we have to understand, act like you’ve been there because now they’ve been there. So, let’s get refocused; let’s get ready to face Houston because again, it’s a home game for them. As I said, I’ve always, you know, appreciated and respected the way Coach Smith does things and I think our players have to understand that.”
It’s refreshing to hear Rivera preaching this message the week before the game. And with leaders like Terry McLaurin and Jonathan Allen, you can believe they are spreading that message to their teammates.
When quarterback Taylor Heinicke spoke to the media Wednesday, he echoed a similar sentiment that came straight from Rivera and the coaching staff.
“Yeah, so the message today was, these guys have only won one game, but you go back and look at their games, they’re close,” Heinicke said. “I think it’s within one score and they could very well be five and three or you know, whatever. So, it’s a good football team. They’re very fundamentally sound. We can’t take them lightly. Obviously, we had a huge game against the divisional opponent, undefeated, big win. The worst thing that we can do is go and lay an egg on Sunday.”
We should know a lot about the 2022 Washington Commanders by around 4:15 p.m. ET on Sunday.