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Ron Rivera - What If 2022 Turns Sour?

It is done.

Canadian Hog

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So here we are - two seasons into the Ron Rivera era. From a statistical standpoint, under Coach Rivera, Washington has put together two 7 win seasons. The team has amassed a 14-19 overall regular season record, along with a playoff appearance and tough fought loss vs. the Buccaneers. In each of Rivera's two years, the Burgundy and Gold have started off slow, going 2-7 in year 1 and 3-6 in year 2 over their first nine games. However, in each season, the team scrapped back and salvaged a bit of pride, showing improved play in the back half of the schedule.

To the displeasure of some, the Rivera rebuild has been characterized by a patient and calculated approach for the most part to team building. Big splash free-agency expenditures have been largely avoided, and the team has mostly opted for value additions that could impact the team in a positive way. The concepts of team cohesion, unity, and positive culture have also taken on primary importance under Ron, with the organization appearing to value players often widely known for leadership qualities and high character. Furthermore, a premium has seemingly been placed back on the draft, with Washington adding 10 draft picks a year ago (all of which who were on the active roster in '21) and another 8 picks in the most recent draft. There is a strong possibility that the majority of these players will crack the '22 roster as well, given that many selections were seemingly made with the intention of filling obvious needs on the roster.

As we head into '22, the fortunes of Washington will largely rest on the success of Carson Wentz within Scott Turner's offense. Rivera has hitched his wagon to Carson and is obviously banking on him being the missing piece that can potentially help this team climb back towards the 10 win or so area. With a favourable schedule on paper, the pressure to do so is higher than ever.

All this being said, the question I have today for the BGO community revolves around Coach Ron Rivera. If 2022 goes sour, we have a losing record for the third straight year, and the team ends up missing the playoffs again, are you still in on Ron for the duration of his contract? Or at that point, are you cutting ties with him?

Personally, this is a question I have often asked myself, but I know for a fact that I have a very biased opinion of Ron. The fact is, I watched the man continue to work and coach my beloved team through a cancer battle when in all honesty, it should have been the last thing on his mind. Had he walked away, I wouldn't for a second have questioned his decision or felt as though he was bailing in any way on the team. I repeatedly asked myself, "how on Earth is this man doing this?" Without getting into too many specifics, as a result of having been through some major health battles myself, that is something I will always hold Ron Rivera in the highest of esteem for. I know there have been some mistakes made along the way on his part, but I personally find it hard not to be in the man's corner all the damn time.

Give me an objective take on Rivera, please. The floor is yours.
 

Chris

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As a man I hold Ron Rivera in very high regard. He exhibits high character, strong leadership, and dedication to mission. All things I value and appreciate in fellow humans.

Progress though has to be evident not only in the locker room but also on the scoreboard and in the standings. I can’t think of any head coach in the league that has had a tougher overall row to hoe and I give him a ton of credit to this point.

The team does not have to make a major leap this year but it does need to noticeably improve.
 
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I feel much like CH and Chris above. Nothing but admiration for the way Ron has carried himself the last two years and most of the decisions he has made.

It will take a lot for me to be done with Ron as Coach of this team so a lot would depend on how the season when sour for me. About the only way I will have an issue with Ron at the end of the season is if the club is mostly free of major injuries to important players and the team doesn't show up week in/week out. That will be a sign to me that he has lost the players. Otherwise, I'll want to see him here in 2023.
 

SkinsOrlando

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If we "underperform" this season it will depend on how? Last year we had a brutal schedule, injuries, a solid backup as our starting QB and a defense that seemed disinterested in playing until later in the season. Lot's of factors again for this season, can Wentz perform at a high enough level, does the offense finally hit on all cylinders, does Turner continue to get cute and will the defense be ready to play in weeks 1-4. I'm not a Rivera guy, always stated he's overrated to me based off his record/resume. I'm not ready to throw him out the door...yet, most of my angst is directed at Turner. On the flip side, if we don't re-sign Terry (which is not Rivera's job) we might be forced into a rebuild/restructure anyway because he is the only proven weapon we have on offense.
 

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UTEP

if we are not winning by year 3 of a rebuild, its not a rebuild. some of us were around for the Never nervous norval years and dont have the patience for that nonsense. reality suggests if a rebuild doesnt show significant signs of improvement by year 3 its a fail.
 

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I think there are several ways of looking at the head coach. Let's start with everything other than the won-loss record. A head coach has to instill the right mentality, work ethic, 'culture', and professionalism in his team. He has to exemplify leadership and his roster needs to reflect those values. Very few head coaches in DC have even been able to establish those things. George Allen, Joe Gibbs, and Ron Rivera are the only ones on my list since 1970 to accomplish it. Rivera has done it in 2 very challenging seasons. As a human being, a walking exemplar of positive character and integrity, they don't come much better than Ron Rivera. Like Gibbs, his strength has largely enabled him to do one other thing only Gibbs was also able to do - keep our interfering, egomaniac owner away from the football side of things.

Then there is the won-loss column. Rivera's first season was damn near a miracle. Throw all of the 'weak NFC East' stuff at me you want, but in that season alone, he gave Dwayne Haskins an opportunity and then moved on from him decisively, battled a personal crisis, benched Alex Smith at the most critical point of the season (which took big balls in that situation) and somehow patched together a playoff appearance and division title. Last season, with an absolutely brutal schedule, a guy off the street starting at QB, and a COVID crisis, he kept the team in it till the end.

I'm not sure how much you can really determine from those first 2 seasons, but it certainly supports the notion that Rivera is a rock solid leader of men.

What we know about Ron Rivera earns him a lot of benefit of the doubt. He will absolutely get his full initial contract. Short of absolute disaster, he's probably a shoo-in for an extension or long-term 2nd contract if he wants one. But we do need to see some consistent on-the-field success. The team cannot continue to start off like it's walking in mud. Slow starts reflect poorly on this coaching staff and that cannot continue to happen.

For me, it has never only been about winning a Super Bowl. Given the choice between a fluke Super Bowl run and mostly losing, or a decade of consistently being a contender, I'll take the latter every time. I just want my team to be respectable, to be a feared opponent again, and to get to the playoffs more often than not. I believe Rivera is capable of getting us there. But we will see. They are banking heavily on being right about Carson Wentz. That needs to prove to have been a good bet.
 
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Boone

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One comment about this season. We shouldn't discount one factor - Carson Wentz being in his first season with a new OC, a new system, all new pieces around him. That's a huge factor and one not a lot of players can immediately transition to without some bumps along the way. We even saw Tom Brady struggle some early on in Tampa. That's not making excuses for him, but those that rip Wentz for his first season in Indy aren't being entirely fair. He played pretty well overall given it was his first season with the team. There will definitely be some ups and downs based on that factor alone imho.
 
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ESPN and other pundits criticize Washington for being too conservative and not making moves but Rivera put the best deal on the table for Amari Cooper and Russell Wilson, but neither player wanted to come here.

And we all know that is 100% attributable to what Snyder did to this organization from 1999 to the time Rivera came on board.
 

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I'd add Marty to that list, Boone. We tend to forget him because he only got a year but this team was on the turn because of all the things you mention a head coach needing to do. If he had had another year, who knows what we would have seen.
 

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I'd add Marty to that list, Boone. We tend to forget him because he only got a year but this team was on the turn because of all the things you mention a head coach needing to do. If he had had another year, who knows what we would have seen.
3 division titles with losses in the 1st round of the playoffs
 
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Boone

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I'd add Marty to that list, Boone. We tend to forget him because he only got a year but this team was on the turn because of all the things you mention a head coach needing to do. If he had had another year, who knows what we would have seen.
I did think about him, but I’m not sure ‘professionalism’ was a strong suit for him as he was a bit of a hothead. He couldn’t navigate Snyder (or maybe didn’t want to) so that’s the main reason I didn’t include him but he was a strong coach, no argument there.
 

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I think Ron needs to do a lot more in terms of communicating with his coordinators. He’s got to be able to reign them in when JDR is running zone all game without blitzes….and Turner WHEN he abandons a perfectly good running game.

Along with those items he’s got to quit acquiring ex Panthers from the clearance bin. Enough is enough with that shiz. Now after this season it’s same ole same ole then he and all of his staff need a very thorough audit.
 

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I think it's another 7 win season... maybe 8 or 9 with the easy schedule, and he gets a 4th year. It would have to be 5 games or less for him to get the boot. I doubt he lasts beyond 2023 though.
 

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Look - we've had plenty of seasons over the past 20 years when the homeristic prediction was always '10 wins competing for a wildcard'. But in 7 of the last 8 seasons, with teams far less talented than the one we currently have and with absolutely epically bad luck, we've won between 7 and 9 games. I feel like that calls for a little more optimism this year. 10 wins and a playoff berth, maybe even a division title, is not crazy talk.

Carson Wentz is the wildcard factor in all of it. But nothing in his history suggests he's going to be bad. He may not be great, but his worst season to date would still be the best QBing we've had here since Kirk Cousins.

That's why I am relatively optimistic. I know. It's Washington. I get that. But change has to start somewhere and I don't see why it can't be in 2022.
 

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I heard Stephen A. Smith on ESPN quoted as saying that Washington will not fire Ron Rivera anytime soon. He said there was far too much scrutiny on the owner and the organization for them to fire 'the one quality human being that is in the building' and recognized as such league-wide.
 

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He's been here 2 seasons and had a ridiculous # of challenges to overcome. Still - he's largely had them competitive. Why on Earth would anyone even be thinking of ditching Rivera?

It's not happening, nor should it.

It takes more than 2 seasons to turn the TItanic from that iceberg. He deserves time.
 

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Norv got 6 plus years. And if anyone wants to run down Rivera's draft picks, go back and look at the picks Norv and Charley made, especially that pick in 1994 for Heath Shuler, who was a 'demand' pick by Turner.

Meanwhile, later on in the 1990's Turner had Trent Green in Washington as the #3 quarterback behind Gus Frerotte :hammer:

Of course the player only went on to post 5 high quality seasons with Kansas City and make the pro bowl several times.
 

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He's been here 2 seasons and had a ridiculous # of challenges to overcome. Still - he's largely had them competitive. Why on Earth would anyone even be thinking of ditching Rivera?

It's not happening, nor should it.

It takes more than 2 seasons to turn the TItanic from that iceberg. He deserves time.


I'm not thinking of ditching Rivera, but i don't think we should overlook the direction of the franchise at the most important position in sports.... again.. not advocating, just posing the question here.


Wentz is his first shot at 'righting the ship' here. Wentz can change a lot of hearts.

Howell is now his second shot. IMHO he got very lucky that Howell fell, and the value was so great, it was a no brainer. IF Howell works out, it's a very solid pick, and it means A LOT for the franchise... but let's not act like Howell was a no-named, highly critiqued 'find' in the draft. It's a low risk, high reward pick and I love it... but it was an easy pick to make...

IF Wentz bombs, and Howell doesn't progress, his 3rd shot at a QB comes next April in a class that's viewed at being 'much better' than this past year.


IF NONE of these are successful, it's going to raise major questions about what's going on at the position... it will open a very VERY large door for an 'easy transition' at HC, if we're back in the market of trying to find a long term QB.


I don't think these all happen, as I have confidence Wentz has the ability to play at a quality level. I also think Howell is going to impress, and if Wentz bombs, we could see some flashes from him in the future.
 

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Absolutely. One area I differ slightly from some fans.... Wentz is not a 1 year rental. That's why they paid the $28 million in salary. They are very confident he can be the guy. 2022 is not going to be a 'make it or break it' season for Carson Wentz. He is the starter for the forseeable future imho. I love the Howell pick. Wentz going doing is probably an inevitability (as it is with most QBs in the NFL) so having him in our back pocket, learning, and getting ready - that's a huge plus. I agree with you that Rivera's future is probably tied to both guys - as it should be. I like Ron Rivera a lot, as a man as much as a coach. But his act got tired in Carolina despite getting them to a Super Bowl - something they may not see again for 20 years - but it wasn't enough to save Rivera's job. The same thing can happen here but I hope it goes the other way.
 

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Absolutely. One area I differ slightly from some fans.... Wentz is not a 1 year rental. That's why they paid the $28 million in salary. They are very confident he can be the guy. 2022 is not going to be a 'make it or break it' season for Carson Wentz. He is the starter for the forseeable future imho. I love the Howell pick. Wentz going doing is probably an inevitability (as it is with most QBs in the NFL) so having him in our back pocket, learning, and getting ready - that's a huge plus. I agree with you that Rivera's future is probably tied to both guys - as it should be. I like Ron Rivera a lot, as a man as much as a coach. But his act got tired in Carolina despite getting them to a Super Bowl - something they may not see again for 20 years - but it wasn't enough to save Rivera's job. The same thing can happen here but I hope it goes the other way.

I agree... Wentz is on a 3 year contract, and until he proves to be worth less than that contract... it won't change. It's a positive knowing if it blows up in our face, we can get out and not be hamstrung, but their plan is Wentz beyond 23
 

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