Patience is popular
In this week’s Reacts survey, nearly all respondents wanted to see changes made among the coaching staff (and maybe the front office too), but 59% of respondents want Josh Harris to wait until January to make any changes.
That still leaves nearly 40% Hogs Haven readers preferring that Ron Rivera be fired this week (presumably shortly after today’s game against the Cowboys), which is a pretty substantial split.
There is broad agreement among fans about the desire for change, but a clear division among fans about timing.
Today, Ian Rappaport said that a win today by the Commanders “certainly would quiet the conversation” about Rivera being fired. I’m not so sure that’s the case.
From @NFLGameDay: The status of #Commanders coach Ron Rivera is now a topic of discussion, but ownership would like to evaluate after the season, plus the status of #Seahawks QB Geno Smith is clearing up. pic.twitter.com/oCo0MbMVKO— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 23, 2023
Their plan was to evaluate Ron Rivera and those in charge in Washington at the end of the season, to evaluate the entire body of work.
What we do not know, is whether last week’s ugly lose to the Giants has changed things and certainly if there was a brutal loss to the Dallas Cowboys today with the entire nation watching, it would at least trigger the conversation in Washington regarding Ron Rivera’s job status.
That is not what they want, Ron Rivera one of the more respected coaches in the NFL, beat cancer with the backing of this organization, stood up and has taken the bullets for owner Dan Snyder when he was still in charge here. This is a guy they really like and the hope for the Commanders is to do the full evaluation after the season.
Frustration with Ron Rivera has been building for years. He was almost universally given a ‘pass’ for his first year as head coach when he successfully battled cancer, dealt with the COVID situation, and all the issues that came with the name change and an embattled owner, yet still managed to get his sub-.500 team into the playoffs.
I think patience even extended into his second season when Ryan Fitzpatrick was lost for the season in the 2nd quarter of the season-opener and the team limped to a 7-win finish behind Taylor Heinicke and Garrett Gilbert.
Rivera, however, seemed to use up the last of his goodwill when he made a panicked trade for Carson Wentz in the 2022 offseason. While his team managed to finish with a .500 record in 2022, the quarterback carousel continued, with 3 different starters and another season punctuated by disappointing on-field performances and an ouster from playoff contention that seemed to surprise no one except the head coach himself.
Fans went into this season with grave doubts about coach Rivera, but with most seemingly keeping an open mind. If Riverboat Ron could deliver a playoff season in Year 4 of his program, that would satisfy most fans. For the most part, though, anything less was seen as a signal of needed change.
Results of a Reacts survey from early September
The time has come or is fast approaching
Once again, Washington fans are spending time on mock drafts before Thanksgiving. In truth, many turned attention to the 2024 draft before Halloween. That simply doesn’t keep coaches employed, and, while one bad loss to a team like the Bills might be forgotten and forgiven, when it is compounded by losses to the Bears and Giants it’s time for remembering and holding people accountable.
Ron Rivera has been a steward of the franchise through an extremely volatile 4 years, but with new ownership now firmly in place, the time for action — whether it is on Black Fiday or Black Monday — has certainly arrived.
Washington has new owners who took over control just days before the 2023 training camp and who spent this season watching and evaluating. There is no doubt that there will be new leadership on the football side of the franchise at the very least by the time the calendar turns to February 2024.
A new day dawned with the sale of the team this past summer, but the resulting new team will take shape in 2024 as Winter turns to Spring.
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