By: Joe Pohoryles
Numerous reports confirm that the Redskins have hired Ron Rivera as their new head coach. Rivera was fired by the Panthers earlier this season after nine years at the helm. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator for the Chargers.
The Redskins quickly swipe up one of the hottest names available on the coaching carousel. Rivera has had success as a head coach, including a 15-1 Super Bowl run that fell short in 2015. The Panthers had a down season, and it appeared Rivera’s time in Carolina simply ran out. Months after reports came out about how the Redskins’ coaching job was among the least attractive in professional sports, an established head coach with a solid track record agreed to the job.
With the recent dismissal of Team President Bruce Allen – initially reported to be just out of football operations, but later confirmed to be fired from the organization as a whole (Hallelujah) – the Redskins will also be looking for a new leader in the front office. NBC Sports Washington’s Julie Donaldson reported the team will give Rivera full control and final say during the draft, and will likely hire a GM to share responsibilities with him afterward. Whether that’ll be the case obviously remains to be seen, but it’ll be something to pay attention to.
The General Manager/President position is usually decided before the coach is hired, so the new person in charge can select their own head coach, but Rivera was much sought after and likely needed to be hired quickly. All that matters now is that the new president is willing to work with Rivera, and vice versa.
In my eyes, this is the best case scenario from a coaching standpoint. Other names attached to the job – former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and the Chiefs’ OC Eric Bieniemy among others – either lack head coaching experience at this level, or don’t exactly have the best track record as a head coach. With an organization this dysfunctional, a first-time head coach would have a much harder time turning things around.
With Rivera, however, the Redskins get a well-liked, respected coach who knows exactly how he wants to run his team, something that should at least somewhat improve a rotten culture pervading the locker room.
This does not mean the Redskins will turn things around. The new GM/president still has to be named, and while Allen is finally gone, Dan Snyder is still the owner, so you never know if/when he’ll insert himself into things. For now, the Redskins landed, who I believe anyway, was one of the best possible candidates for turning this team around, and finally got rid of Allen. More has to be done, but it’s certainly a start.