When an NFL team finishes the season with a 3-13 record that also qualifies for being the second-worst record among the 32 teams in the league, it’s not exactly a stretch to say that something needs to be changed.
That’s why the drastic changes undertaken by the Washington Redskins organization, starting with the firing of team President Bruce Allen, and hiring of former Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera in the same capacity, shouldn’t come as any surprise. After all, the Redskins finished with less than four regular season wins for only the second time in the last 25 years.
After weeks of speculation, the dismissal of Allen was received with nothing but joy from the faithful, if not long-suffering fans of the Redskins. After countless public gaffes made by Allen, coupled with this .387 winning percentage as team president over the past decade (giving the Redskins the 5th-worst winning percentage in the NFL in that span), fans took to social media to absolutely berate the team into forcing Allen’s ouster. Local television station WUSA9 reported that “#FireBruceAllen” was used 55,623 times in the past calendar year, with just under 18,000 of those posts coming in the month of December alone.
The dismissal of Allen, who was increasingly seen as a toxic presence at Redskins Park, was a required move in the eyes of any potential head coaching candidates who would take such a position with the team. While owner Daniel Snyder did hope to retain Allen in some role as liaison to getting a new stadium built, many coaching candidates insisted that Allen should not be employed by the team in any capacity, given his penchant for undermining anyone in the personnel department of the Redskins (as he had done with former General Manager Scot McCloughan).
That’s why the news of Allen’s firing was immediately followed by word of the Redskins being very close to hiring Rivera. In fact, numerous local reports stated that Rivera was on his way to the Washington, D.C.-area on Monday evening, with the official announcement of him taking the job expected to be made by Tuesday, December 31st.
As head coach of the Panthers from 2011 to 2019, Rivera finished with a record of 76-63-1 (.546 win percentage), leading the Panthers to four playoff appearances in nine years, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. However, Rivera did have a winning season in just three of his eight full seasons as a head coach. Still, he also never finished with less than 6 wins in any season as a head coach. Clearly, even getting to the 6-win mark would be a 100% improvement from what the Redskins endured in 2019.
It is expected that Rivera will bring along former Panthers’ Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks in the latter capacity with the Redskins. Wilks had served as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, and the Defensive Coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2019. On the offensive side, it is likely that Rivera will retain incumbent Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who is not only seen as one of the league’s up-and-coming offensive minds, but has developed a strong rapport with quarterback Dwayne Haskins, whom the organization sees as the team’s quarterback of the future.