Being a fan of Washington football is, to say the least, a rough job. This shouldn't be news to anyone, but every off-season, a sort of sense of relief washes over us fans. Coaches, press, and players feed us the narrative that this year is different. They have a stronger team, and these obscure stats prove that they didn't overpay on their acquisitions. Yet, they almost always underperform. This process has been dubbed "Ashburn Syndrome" and has infected thousands every season. If this happens again, after coaches and many others have kept on telling us that we are aiming high and expect to meet these expectations. Running through a few scenarios could provide a some insight.
So, let's say we suffer through another 7-win season. No injury excuses, and no extenuating circumstances. They flat out underperform, even with the amount of talent we have. Ron Rivera would, in this scenario, have a 21-29 record in his time with Washington. Assuming our favorite owner is still in the picture. Does he blow it up again? Dan has never seemed hesitant to head in new directions, the Gruden to Rivera transition is one of the biggest overhauls possibly ever seen in sports. But consider the hot water he finds himself in and will probably be even hotter by this time. Will he want to draw attention to himself by taking the reins yet again? Even if he does, is there a better alternative at the moment? Would he gamble on an unproven coach and staff at such a tumultuous time? One would think some coaches would kill for the amount of talent on this team, but considering the recent history of this franchise, you have to think some top coaches would be, discouraged, to sign here.
Let's consider the alternative. Ron is kept around, this time officially on the hot seat. If he fails again, there is no future for him. "Moderate to deep playoff run or bust" is not an expression often used but it applies in this situation. Rivera is certainly a talented coach who can motivate his men to run through walls, but if it doesn't show in the win column, it doesn't matter. Personally, I have confidence in Ron. Call it Ashburn Syndrome, call it delusion, but he's a winning coach whom has assembled, in my opinion, a winning roster. "In Ron we Trust" doesn't mean one should follow blindly. Some moves are undeniably horrible. There is no method, it is simply madness. Ron, in my eyes, hasn't made a move like this yet. Washington fans have the right to be impatient. Another rebuild would be extremely unpopular, even if it was for the best, but in this current situation, it is not. Ron deserves security for at least until after next season. We shall see how they perform, and we shall all give our takes accordingly.