Washington Football Team is in the middle of a very strange season. While they did make the playoffs in 2020, they did so with a 7-9 record after winning a very down NFC East Division. They’ve followed that up so far with a 2-3 record that’s still good enough for second in the division so far, but it’s going to be harder to catch the Dallas Cowboys (4-1) this time around.

Not to mention,  DEA agents raided their practice facility in Ashburn, Virginia as well as the home of head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion last week. Head coach Ron Rivera spoke about the perceived “black cloud” that was hanging over the franchise, and that was before last weekend’s 33-22 loss to the Saints.

Tuesday, Rivera was on with The Sports Junkies at 106.7 The Fan when he admitted that in some ways he wished the team hadn’t made the playoffs last season. Doing so set the bar a little too high for his team and he admitted he wished the expectations were a bit more manageable.

“I mean, you almost want to say, ‘Man, I wish 7-9 last year wouldn’t have been good enough to win the division,” said Rivera. “That way the expectations would have been much lower and been a little bit easier. This is hard. This is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s because it’s the only way you learn.”

Out of context, it sounds like Rivera is building in excuses for what he expects to be a down season for WFT. But it was part of a larger discussion about how young the team is and how it’s a maturation process that’s occurring in real-time during the NFL season. That’s a process has can be difficult along the way.

“We don’t start where we finished each year,” he said. “You have to start somewhere, and I believe you always start from the basics and work your way back up to the top. If you always think you can start at the top and just pick up where you left off, you’re gonna forget the things that are important, and that’s the base fundamentals of what you do.

“That’s what I talk about when I talk about maturity, growth, and development is making sure that our basis, our base fundamentals are solid and sound. And that’s what we’re working on, guys. We’re trying to develop that and make sure it’s as good as it can be, so it can withstand and sustain over a period of time.”

[Audacy]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle.