ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Commanders' head coach wants to make sure he truly gets to know all the players at rookie camp this weekend.
The three-day camp is the first opportunity for coach Rivera to see all eight players he selected in this year's NFL draft, as well as13 undrafted free agents and 16 invited players.
To make the most of camp, Rivera carries pages of printouts of the players' faces and names so that he can remember who they are despite only a select few actually making the team.
"I respect these guys" said Rivera. "So, I should at least learn all their names."
Rivera is evaluating and getting to know 37 new players at rookie mini camp. He keeps his cheat sheet to learn who each player is because of a past experience that has always stuck with him.
"When I was in San Diego, there was a player that had part of his name the look like it was pronounced Doogie" said Rivera. "I would call him Doogie numerous times but he would never answer. Finally, I turned the lights on and asked for his name. The player said it was pronounced Dougie not Doogie. So since then, I make sure I try to learn everyone's name."
Rivera was a linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for three seasons with the San Diego Chargers before becoming the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and now the Commanders.
Rivera does have one rule when it comes to learning player names.
"If I call your name wrong and you don't correct me, I'm going to call you the wrong name for the rest of the year," the coach said.
After rookie camp, organized activities start on May 23, bringing all the veterans and rookies to practice together.