ASHBURN — Ron Rivera was standing too far away to tell immediately who the offender was. But as soon as Jeremy Reaves collided violently with Dyami Brown — crumpling the wide receiver to the grass — the Washington Commanders coach yelled across the field and demanded to know which safety delivered the hit.
Reaves raised his hand. And Rivera stormed over in a hurry. After tearing into Reaves briefly, he gathered everyone around. And then they received an earful as well.
“This is the (stuff) we don’t [expletive] need out here,” Rivera yelled.
Rivera stopped practice Wednesday to light into his team, arguably displaying the most anger he’s shown publicly since arriving in Washington in 2020. He urged them to play with “discipline” and made clear that type of hit had no place in a June workout.
Following the rant, Rivera cut the team period short and shifted the practice to special teams drills. Team drills — which feature 11-on-11 play — didn’t resume until roughly 25 minutes later. Brown, who had to be helped off, did not return to the session.
After the practice, Rivera said the Commanders were fortunate that Brown, who has a sore shoulder, avoided serious injury.
“There’s a certain discipline that I try to get across to the guys that they understand that when we talk about doing things a specific way, there’s a reason why,” Rivera said. “The reason why is we don’t want to see guys get hurt, but that’s part of the discipline. And that’s part of the things that we still have to learn.”
Rivera said he told Reaves that he was “disappointed” the veteran didn’t know better. Reaves has been with the Commanders since 2018, though he has bounced on and off the roster. Rivera and Reaves, in particular, have bonded over how Reaves worked to become a contributor down the stretch of the 2020 season after initially being cut.
Rivera said he believes Reaves could have avoided the hit.
“For the most part, he does smart things,” Rivera added.
Reaves, though, insisted he didn’t see Brown until it was too late.
“I was just breaking on the ball and at the last second, I felt him,” Reaves said. “At that point, I already had my hands down to go try to pick it, and I knew immediately, as soon as he hit me, I was like, I knew what it was going to be.
“We know better. We practice better. I know better.”
Reaves said he went over to check on Brown to see if he was all right. The safety told reporters he would learn from the hit and not like it affect him in the future. In a real game, he said, he’d have no choice but to quickly move on.
“I’m hoping that he’s OK,” Reaves said of Brown. “I talked to him after. He seemed like he was OK. I asked the coaches and trainers and they said that he‘s fine. I’m hoping that’s all it is.”