After a 3-13 season that brought multiple changes to Washington’s coaching staff, the team has made three new staffing moves within the organization. General Manager Bruce Allen has been fired, former Jaguars and Raiders Coach name will be the defensive coordinator, and former Panthers Head Coach name has been hired as Washington’s head coach. Rivera and Del Rio will join offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell on the coaching staff.
Allen’s termination is much overdue. The team has been a poor free-agent destination for years and has had trouble keeping players content (see Trent Williams). Even when the team does find success in free agency, many don’t seem to be a big help. Players like Josh Norman and Case Keenum seemed to get worse after they arrived in DC, which could point to a coaching flaw, However, it’s hard to deny Allen’s overall negative impact on the team. Though there has not been an immediate replacement announced, the team has said that they will wait for the draft to hire a general manager. We’ve seen what happens when Washington’s sports teams fail to have a general manager for the offseason.
Rivera’s signing seems to have a lot of growth potential for Washington. Rivera was a two-time Coach of the Year for the Panthers in his time there from 2011-19. He was able to lead the team to a 15-1 record in 2015 where they lost in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. Rivera led them to four total playoff appearances — the total the franchise had in its 16-year existence. After a 5-7 start to the 2019 season, Rivera was fired by the Panthers. He ended his stint as the Panthers coach with a 76-63-1 record. This signing seems very low-risk in the eyes of a Washington fan. After the failed hiring of Jay Gruden, having a coach with a lot of experience seems like the smartest move.
The most recent hire the team made comes on the defensive side of the ball. It seems like Washington has made a big commitment to defense to start the decade. Rivera was a defensive coordinator with the Chargers before becoming a head coach, and Del Rio is well known for his shutdown defense. Between 2012-14, Broncos Defensive Coordinator Del Rio created one of the best defenses in the league. While he didn’t see similar success in his tenure in Oakland, that may have had to do with him not being meant for the head coaching role. The team can only hope that he’ll be able to turn a very weak defense into a powerhouse in a poor NFC North.