As the Washington Commanders’ 2023 campaign unfolds, head coach Ron Rivera finds himself walking a tightrope. Despite the loud clamor for his removal following a fourth consecutive losing season, Rivera will remain at the helm, at least for now.
The recent takeover by Josh Harris’ ownership group and yet another season falling short of expectations have intensified the debate. Critics point to a lack of progress on the field and questionable roster decisions as further reasons for Rivera’s dismissal.
However, despite these controversies, there are compelling reasons to believe Rivera will see out the 2023 season. Here are three key factors that support this perspective.
Nobody Else Can Call the Commanders’ Defense
The abrupt dismissal of Jack Del Rio left a vacuum that was difficult to fill in the short term. However, Ron Rivera stepped into the breach with his rich defensive pedigree. Even though the upgrade wasn’t instantaneous, it’s important to consider the formidable nature of opponents like the Miami Dolphins under Mike McDaniel.
Rivera’s decision to personally take over defensive play-calling further exhibits his commitment to the team and his ability to adapt under challenging circumstances. Having him on the sidelines ensures the Commanders have an experienced and knowledgeable defensive decision-maker, significantly improving the Washington Commanders odds.
The Evolution of Sam Howell
Working behind a less-than-stellar offensive line, Howell has shown flashes of brilliance and remarkable resilience. His steady progression has been one of the primary reasons for keeping Ron Rivera in charge. The organization seems to prioritize Howell’s development, and Rivera’s departure could disrupt that plan.
If Rivera were to be replaced, the Commanders may have given the reins to Eric Bieniemy. Although Bieniemy is a respected figure with a strong offensive mind, shouldering the burdens of a head coach could detract from his current role of nurturing Howell. With additional responsibilities, Bieniemy may find less time to dedicate to Howell’s development, which could undermine the progress made thus far.
Furthermore, the Commanders also have quarterbacks coach Tavita Pritchard in their arsenal. Pritchard has been instrumental in Howell’s growth since his arrival. His expertise and Bieniemy’s input provide Howell with a rich learning environment that is pivotal to his improvement.
As the season winds up, the Commanders’ strategy seems geared toward Howell’s long-term prospects and development. While the prospect of a high draft pick in the 2024 NFL Draft might change the dynamics, focusing on Howell’s growth is their best bet. This commitment to Howell’s evolution is another compelling reason for Rivera’s continued tenure as the head coach.
Charting the Course for the Commanders’ Future
As the Washington Commanders look ahead, they find themselves in a promising position. They have an attractive landscape for a new head coach alongside a substantial draft capital that can be extended further via strategic trades. Additionally, they possess salary-cap space that could exceed $100 million, providing ample resources for bolstering the ranks.
With the potential of landing a top-three selection, given their current form, the Commanders could utilize this in their favor. Oddly, this might be another reason for allowing Rivera to complete the campaign. A temporary coaching appointment could rally the team to perform better, affecting their draft standing and plans. Winning a few games before the season concludes could significantly change their draft position.
The team’s owner, Josh Harris, is well-known for his patient approach. By allowing Rivera to steer the ship for the final leg of the 2023 season, he is sending a positive message to potential head coaching candidates for next year. They will know they’ll have the necessary time and space to execute their strategies under Harris’s leadership, which is committed to a long-term plan for sustainable growth.
This also enables Rivera to depart on his terms. After a challenging tenure in Washington due to various reasons, his dignified exit serves as a positive PR move for the Commanders, marking an end to the dysfunction seen under the previous ownership of Dan Snyder. Thus, Rivera’s continued presence as the head coach through 2023 is also a strategic move for the Commanders, setting the stage for the team’s future.
The potential top-three selection in the upcoming NFL Draft could bring a game-changing player into the fold. At the same time, the ample salary cap space provides the opportunity to pursue high-quality free agents.
Coach Rivera’s experience and strong defensive understanding will be critical in guiding the team through these important decisions. Ultimately, despite the challenges of the past seasons, the Commanders are in a strong position to rebuild and progress.
With committed leadership, a promising young quarterback, and significant resources, the Washington Commanders’ future looks promising under Ron Rivera’s helm.
In conclusion, while it may seem counterintuitive to some. There are credible reasons to keep Ron Rivera at the helm for the remainder of the 2023 season. Rivera’s defensive expertise, the focus on Sam Howell’s development. And the strategic positioning for the Commanders’ future all point toward continuity is the best path forward.
Regardless of the criticisms, Rivera’s continued presence provides stability during the transition, setting. A promising stage for the Commanders to build upon in the upcoming years. Even though the season didn’t meet expectations, looking beyond immediate results. And toward the long-term vision forged for the Washington Commanders is essential.