It’s been six days since the Washington Redskins’ season concluded with a 47-16 loss to the despised Dallas Cowboys.
But the DMV is largely euphoric with the current state of their home team. This sounds somewhat odd considering the team fell to 3-13 on the season, the second worst record in the entire NFL.
But in true Washington form, the team is indeed “Winning Off the Field” over the last week. Team President Bruce Allen, a man who was despised in the region for 10 years of terror, has been released. Larry Hess, a close confidant of owner Dan Snyder, and head of the Redskins training staff, was also fired after 17 years of service. In addition, almost the entire coaching staff was let go, including a much maligned defensive group who failed to use utilize a roster studded with first round draft picks.
So why are fans feeling optimistic? Because a supposed culture change is on the horizon and the man pegged to lead this charge in none of than Ron Rivera. A two-time NFL Coach of the year.
But was he is the right man for the job? The staff at Full Press Coverage Redskins debate.
“Was Ron Rivera the Right Hire for the Redskins?
Nathan Coleman (@JHawkChalk_): Back in the summer I jotted down what decisions I would make if I was handed the keys to the castle as the owner of the Redskins. My course of action was fairly straightforward, it was time to drain the swamp starting with the walking dark cloud that is Bruce Allen.
The next step would be to insert either a GM or coach that I empower with full autonomy to make decisions. The secret weapon that has fueled the few long tenured and successful coaches (Reid, Tomlin, Belichick, Carroll) is job security. Not having to look over your shoulder is a godsend for a franchise that constantly places coaches on a perpetual hot seat (see Jay Gruden’s tenure). The goal is for the head decision maker to walk in lockstep with every single member of his subordinate staff from lunchroom attendants to the highest of executives. My final step would be to re-brand the franchise, in other words alter the state of the franchise by winning the hearts and minds of a disgruntled fan-base. The hiring of Ron Rivera is the epitome of a breath of fresh air.
The points I highlighted above appear to have come to fruition at least on the surface. Throughout his presser, Rivera repeatedly articulated his focus on being of one body and mind as an organization. He stressed full autonomy for himself as a decision-maker but also the need to sound board off of others for input. The former Panthers coach seems to relish accountability both from his players and staff but also for himself. Though I don’t think “River Boat” Ron is the most forward thinking or analytically inclined coach, I do believe in his ability to move mountains as a leader of men. The question for Rivera, much like Dwayne Haskins, is what type of talent can the franchise surround him with?
Alan Lepore (@AlanLepore): Yes, Rivera is the right hire, but that’s not the right question to ask. The real question to ask is if Dan has matured enough as an owner to take a step back and let his football people put together a winner even if it’s a slow start the first year or two.
Steve Johnson (@LetsTalkSkins): Was Riverboat Ron the right choice? For sure. No doubt. The more I’ve looked into him the more I like him. The Redskins players were known under Jay Gruden to be undisciplined and not being able to reach their full potential. Once Bill stepped in he helped with the discipline but struggled on the “coaching side”. Rivera brings discipline from his military family background and his successful coaching background. He has had some down years, yes, but so have many coaches. But he also brought his team to 15-1, and a spot in the Super Bowl. Rivera has also showed that he can build a team. His front office team have drafted studs in Christian McCaffrey, Luke Kuechly, DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Cam Newton.
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I’m confident that Rivera’s experience has taught him what is needed for a “culture change”. His hire in defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio solidifies that. Having Ron aware what needs to be changed to get on the right track is music to my ears. Is Ron the best choice out of all the available coaches? Maybe not. But he’s what the Washington Redskins needed for the mess they created. His decision to keep KOC (as far as we know) speaks to his willingness to listen to his team and keep cohesiveness with Dwayne Haskins. There was also word that during his time off when the Panthers fired him, he studied analytics to keep himself up to date with where the NFL is moving. A coach that is willing to try and keep up with the times and make “adjustments” is something the ‘Skins lacked and is a good sign going forward. Overall: A
George Carmi (@Gcarmi21): At first glance I was hesitant with the hire of Rivera. He was legitimately hired two days after the season concluded, and many viable coaches were still out there. Did the Redskins conduct their due diligence? Did they cast a wide net and reach out to a variety of candidates? How about the offensive and defensive coordinators of the playoff teams? Wouldn’t it be wise to investigate one of them?
But now I’ve warmed up to the idea. In my opinion, 3-13 didn’t “have to happen” to the 2019 Redskins. I think the team’s record is more of a reflection of dysfunction and social drama than the team’s lack of talent. Granted the team has holes, especially on offense, but the team could have 3-4 more wins if say, Haskins started week one.
So let’s go back to my concern. Should we have waited? As more news trickles out, it’s clear that Snyder has reached out to the proper venues and received an education on what it takes to win in the current NFL. Rivera cited that Snyder had a plan, “a vision”, based on a coach-centric model and spent 35 hours delivering to him the successes of the Chiefs, Patriots and Seahawks. Does Dan sound like someone who could come up with that on his own? Didn’t think so. I’m actually more curious if Snyder was proactive in reaching out to this football panel, or if it was mandated by his fellow owners (or the NFL) to revitalize a failing franchise.
Considering this, it’s clear that someone is in Snyder’s ear. And if my intuition is right, they are credible sources who have conducted their research. And if this panel views Rivera as a leader of men, and someone worthy of being coach-centric, that resonates with me.
Ultimately, Rivera brings instant credibility to a team that was becoming more of a butt-end of a joke as opposed to a serious contender. I truly thought we wouldn’t be able to hire a coach of his caliber, due to our history of mismanagement. Would it have been nice to explore Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy? Sure. But this team needs a seasoned coached to change the culture. A young up-and-comer would have his hands full, and would be more likely to give in to Snyder’s demands if the team falters. I can see Rivera having a backbone. I’m good with the Rivera hire.