Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder finally reached the point where he recognized what had to be done. What fans have been clamoring for all season took place. Former President of Football Operations Bruce Allen is no longer employed with the organization. Snyder fired Allen and the entire training staff in an effort to hit the reset button and start from scratch. It has been no secret that Snyder has become increasingly displeased about the state of the franchise. The question was “is he willing to make the necessary changes in order to start anew”, and last week he answered with a resounding yes.
Last week was a very busy week for Daniel Snyder. Not only has he made major subtractions, but he hired Redskins’ new head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera was ironically relieved of his duties as Panthers’ coach after their loss to the Redskins in week 13. Rivera indicated in multiple interviews and in his press conference that he heard from Snyder within a week of being let go from the Panthers. Rivera met with Snyder 30 to 35 hours regarding the state of the organization and picked Snyder’s brain on what his vision was moving forward. Rivera indicated that Snyder envisioned what he called a “coach centered” approach to the way the operations should be run, meaning that the coach will have a say in football matters going forward.
In his press conference, Rivera said all of the right things. Rivera indicated “Things will begin and end with one simple principle, discipline”. He went on to discuss accountability and how everyone including himself would be held to a certain standard of performance. One thing that struck me about Rivera’s press conference was when he said “You do it the way we ask, the success will be yours…do it our way, do it the right way, and if we fail, it’s on me. Okay?” This was clearly a message directed to the current members of the Washington Redskins’ roster. He has no problems standing in front of his ideas and what his approach will be. That’s what a leader does. Rivera went on to address his focus on having teachers on his staff and not just big names. This stood out to me personally as someone who understands and appreciates the value in having someone qualified to show you how to maximize your value whether in real life or on the football field.
Rivera’s message was beyond encouraging and very refreshing. Fandom has been rejuvenated all over the city and the beginning of a new era has commenced. Only thing that was missing was a picture of Daniel Snyder with “Happy Thanksgiving”. Dan Snyder either had turkey on the brain or he just hasn’t gotten much sleep recently with all the meetings and organizational turnover. Weeks ago this blunder would have been just another negative soundbite in the history of Redskins’ press conferences. Instead, it looks to be a memorable moment at the beginning of a new era in Redskins’ football and something to simply chuckle at, and move forward from.
Rivera was asked in his introductory press conference about rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Now, many may have believed that its set in stone that just because the Redskins spent a first round draft pick on Haskins last year that he would automatically be the starter going forward. To the contrary, according to Rivera. Rivera expects Haskins to come into camp and earn his position and be the leader that he needs him to be at the position. Rivera’s comments were telling when asked what he feels Haskins can become. He responded “I think he can become a franchise style quarterback. It’s a process though…” Rivera went on to reference the plan they had for Cam Newton in Carolina, and how they would like to execute something similar for Haskins, but in the same breathe went out of his way to mention “there are a couple good veteran quarterbacks that will get some opportunities to play as well.” Clearly Rivera has a couple names in mind who he believes will be able to challenge young Haskins for the starting job next season. The question is are they in house, or outside the organization? I know a guy that seems to be anxious to get back on that field and compete when healthy who many had left for dead. A guy currently under contract for three more years, and that received 70 million guaranteed.
Coach Rivera has already started adding to his staff as he has brought in former NFL head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders Jack Del Rio to be his defensive coordinator. Rivera and Del Rio have indicated they plan on switching the defensive approach to a 4-3 instead of a 3-4 front which changes their defensive mindset and schematics. Rivera indicated they want to go downhill stopping the run on their way to the quarterback. This is music to many Redskins’ fans ears as the knock has been that the Redskins have 4-3 defensive personnel, but try to run a 3-4 when they aren’t equipped to do so. Rivera looks poised to change that, and he is bringing in the staff to implement it.
These next few months leading up to the draft, OTAs, and into training camp are going to be interesting to see unfold. As the front office and the coaching staff begin to round out, the structure will be beyond imperative to build a healthy culture. The foundation starts at the top with your management and the individuals that establish what the organizational landscape will be. The key is to have a healthy foundation and knowledgeable people calling the shots. Daniel Snyder has struggled with that during his tenure, but hopefully trial and error has prepared him for this moment. Snyder seems to be doing his due diligence by putting the best people in the right positions to maximize his personnel off the field just like he expects Ron Rivera to do on the field.
One thing is for certain…
Snyder has found a way to reinvigorate this fan base and provide them with something they have not had in some time...HOPE. As you were...