Ron Rivera must really like a challenge.
Over Daniel Snyder’s time as the Redskins’ owner, Washington is where good coaches go to die. Since 2000, when Snyder made Norv Turner the first coach he fired, not one coach has left Washington with a winning record. Even coaches with great résumés like Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan and Steve Spurrier couldn’t do it.
Rivera is up next. The two-time NFL Coach of the Year with the Carolina Panthers agreed to be the next coach of the Redskins, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Considering how quickly that happened, it seems both sides were excited about the partnership. It’s clear to see why the Redskins would want Rivera. It’s not as obvious why Rivera would want the Redskins job, which has been a dead end for everyone under Snyder.
Ron Rivera had success with Panthers
Rivera’s career with Carolina started slowly, but he finished 76-63-1 as Panthers coach. He won NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015. In 2015, his 15-1 Panthers made the Super Bowl, only to come up short against the Denver Broncos. Rivera was fired during the 2019 season as the Panthers slumped without quarterback Cam Newton.
Rivera’s abilities as a leader might give him a chance to succeed in Washington. He was a great representative of the Panthers franchise, especially during the Jerry Richardson scandal that led to the Panthers’ founder selling the team. When Snyder announced he had fired team president Bruce Allen, he said Washington would “reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games.”
If anyone can reshape that in Washington with Snyder still owning the team, maybe it’s Rivera. It’ll be a big job, and he’s reportedly going to bring in the big guns to get it done. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Rivera is expected to target Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator, who has proven results in defensive improvements when he was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos.
Redskins losing fans rapidly
Washington went 3-13, which wasn’t fun, but it means they get the second pick of the 2020 draft. Expect that to be Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young, who looks like a phenomenal prospect. The rest of the roster has a few interesting players. A key is if 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins can develop at quarterback.
Washington fans haven’t had much to cheer about in a long time. Their team has won one playoff game since the end of the 1999 season. Snyder is one of the most unlikeable owners in sports. The team is stuck with a boring stadium and is in a seemingly never-ending battle to get a new one. Many fans have disowned the Redskins, which you don’t see much with a franchise that has as much history as Washington.
The only way to make everyone happy again is to win. Rivera did pretty well in that regard for the Panthers. But this is a different challenge altogether.
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