Taking over for a struggling Rocky McIntosh at the inside linebacker spot next to team captain London Fletcher, Riley recorded seven solo tackles, four of them for a loss, and also had a hit on the quarterback.
“I felt like I did some good things out there and made some mistakes as well,” said Riley, whom Washington selected out of LSU in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. “I’m not worried about the things I did well, just worried about the things I did bad, fixing them and getting the Ws, that’s why we play this game.”
Entering training camp, Washington’s coaches had hoped that Riley could start initially, but he wasn’t as far along in his development as they would have liked, and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett blamed the NFL lockout and a lack of offseason practices on Riley’s delayed growth.
Riley this season had played primarily on special teams but steadily has improved in practices and his play convinced coaches to give him the nod.
“We gave him a chance because he’s been doing a good job on the scout team,” Coach Mike Shanahan said of the 6-foot, 242-pound Riley. “He’s doing a good job on special teams and based on play during the week, we throught we’d give him a chance to show what he could do. For the most part, I thought he stepped up and did a pretty good job.”