Redskins head coach Ron Rivera wasted no time putting together a new staff after the team’s transition from 2019, and he’s still adding pieces of value in February.
Most of the Washington Redskins coaching positions are filled to this point. All of the position coaches have been assigned, and the coordinator positions have been assumed by Scott Turner and Jack Del Rio, respectively. But there’s always room for more people who can provide value, if a coach sees a potential role to fill, and Ron Rivera is turning to an exciting candidate for his latest hire.
Per reports from The Athletic’s Rhiannon Walker, which have since been corroborated by other high-profile sources, Ron Rivera’s Redskins are set to hire the first full-time female African-American assistant coach in NFL history.
The coaching candidate in question is Jennifer King, a young coach who was a wide receivers coaching intern with Rivera’s Carolina Panthers in 2017. Since then, King has taken up respective roles with the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots, as well as Dartmouth’s football squad, as an offensive assistant. In her new role with the Redskins, King will become the fourth full-time female assistant coach in NFL history, pioneering a new path for others to potentially follow.
King doesn’t have a lengthy resume just yet, but quotes from players shed light on King’s skill set. Rashad Ross, a former NFL receiver who played for the Arizona Hotshots, and now plays for the D.C. Defenders of the XFL, had this to say about King, in an article by ESPN’s John Keim.
“[King’s] knowledge of the game was impressive. It’s a double standard when it comes to sports with females and men. She’s been through what we’ve been through. It’s different learning by the book and actually playing and actually going through it — understanding how players feel when they’re hurting and not hurting, when they’re frustrated. When things weren’t going right, she was good at keeping my head in the game and understanding it.”
King certainly figures to have a crucial role with the players in 2020, and this move also signals toward the open-mindedness of Ron Rivera. In the same Keim article, Rivera is documented as saying that “everybody deserves an opportunity” and “it’s all about winning, and we’ve got to create that opportunity to win. It doesn’t matter who you are — if you bring something special to the table and help us, we most certainly want you.”
Anyone can be a coach, and Jennifer King is the latest to have an opportunity to prove just that. She’s on the record saying she wants to be an offensive coordinator at some level in the future. With this role, she can start up that ladder.