ASHBURN, VA., -- After missing practice Wednesday, Washington coach Ron Rivera had to leave near the end of Thursday's session as he deals with the effects of another round of chemotherapy. But defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said the plan remains for Rivera to coach Sunday's game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Del Rio filled in for Rivera during the head coach's scheduled video conference session both days. Rivera has watched tape of each of the practices. Rivera hopes to be at practice Friday.
"I'm prepared at any point to step in even in the middle of the game if it were to come up," Del Rio said. "We've got our procedures in place. It's my understanding he would be ready to go [Sunday]. If not we know what we're going to do and we'll carry on."
That's been their motto since Rivera announced that he had squamous cell cancer in August. When Rivera can't make it to practice, Del Rio fills in as the interim coach. Because Rivera doesn't coach a particular side of the ball, there's little disruption for the players during group meetings.
"Coach Del Rio has done a good job filling in whenever he's not here," Washington linebacker Jon Bostic said. "The message hasn't changed, regardless if coach Rivera is here or not."
The big change occurs when there's an overall team meeting or if something needs to be said after practice. That's when Del Rio steps in. Del Rio served in an interim role for Denver in 2013 when John Fox missed four weeks following heart surgery.
"He provided a good blueprint to work from," Del Rio said of Rivera. "He's dealing with something that's a big challenge. Like everything he's done in his life he's facing it head-on and giving it everything he has. It's a battle. He's battling right now. He's as tough as can be."
But Del Rio -- and the organization -- wants Rivera to worry about his health and not the team.
"I have encouraged him to take care of himself and to understand we will carry on and make him proud," Del Rio said. "First and foremost I'd like to see him take care of himself. We will support him every way we can. That's the way we're approaching it."