The Washington Commanders are 1-3 after four games. No matter where you get your power rankings, Ron Rivera’s group is somewhere in the 25-32 range. In ProFootballTalk’s latest rankings, the team checked in at No. 31.
In terms of the current NFC standings, the Commanders sit dead-last of 16 teams, behind the Bears, Lions, Saints and Panthers, each of whom have a 1-3 record. You might be wondering why Washington ranks behind them. Well, their -34 point differential is not only the worst in the conference, but the entire NFL.
Anything is possible in the NFL, but you’d be hard-pressed to rattle off reasons why Washington will turn its season around. The offensive line is one of the worst in football and has the quarterback rattled beyond words, and the offensive staff still can’t figure out ways to make Terry McLaurin a focal point.
Not all of this falls on Ron Rivera, but he’s the head coach and lead personnel decision-maker. He authored this rebuild, which is in its third year, and Washington has made zero progress since it won the NFC East with seven wins in 2020.
If the Commanders don’t right the ship, Rivera could get handed the pink slip at season’s end. With such little positivity surrounding the team, fans have seemingly already identified Rivera’s successor: 49ers shining DC Demeco Ryans.
Commanders fans want 49ers defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans to replace Ron Rivera if he’s fired.
At the rate the 49ers’ D is playing, Ryans is going to become a head coach this offseason. It’s inevitable.
While San Francisco is 2-2, its defense is arguably the best in the league. Over the last 15 games, the 49ers have held opponents to below their projected scoring expectation in 12 of them. In four games this season, Ryans’ unit is allowing an impossible 3.81 yards per play, which would be the lowest in the NFL in over 40 years.
In Monday’s win over the Rams, Ryans pulled out all of the stops, including designing a stunt that allowed star edge rusher Nick Bosa to get a free run at Matthew Stafford. Linebacker Fred Warner and DL Kevin Givens consumed double teams, paving the way for Bosa to go untouched up the middle before making the sack.
That’s poetry in motion, folks. For the game, San Francisco racked up seven sacks, allowed 3.5 yards per play and a pick-six. They forced the Rams’ high-octane offense into 15 third downs and limited them to 257 total yards and three field goals.
It’s not hyperbole to say the 49ers’ defense is on an historic pace. It’s fact. They currently rank first in points allowed, second in passing yards allowed, second in rushing yards, tied for first in total defense and sacks, first in first downs allowed via rushing plays and third in first downs allowed via the pass.
They also have the fourth-fewest penalties of any defense. That might be the most noteworthy statistic of the bunch. San Francisco’s defense swarms to the football and plays with an unmatched intensity, but is disciplined in its approach, meaning they trust the scheme.
We could ramble on, but you get the point. Ryans is arguably the league’s top defensive coordinator right now and should have no shortage of head coaching visits during next year’s coaching carousel.
There’s a long way to go this season, but Commanders fans are definitely barking up the right tree by stating their desire for Ryans to succeed Rivera.