The Commanders have reached a crossroads in Ron Rivera’s tenure
Where do the Commanders go from here?
If that was too many words for you, here is the rundown: the clock is running out on the Ron Rivera era, and it is clear this isn’t working. So where do the Commanders go from here?
For starters, a loss against Chicago on Thursday may make it so an in-season change needs to happen. For Ron Rivera personally, this may be as “must-win” of a game as it gets. To borrow a Jay Gruden phrase, Chicago is a “code-red” game.
Personnel-wise, the coaching staff needs to start creating a roadmap for when to insert Sam Howell. The team underperforming isn’t Carson Wentz’s fault. For the most part, he has been fine. Not great, not bad, but really inconsistent.
Washington could win with him. They, unfortunately, don’t have the roster to elevate him, and the coaching is not helping. Benching Wentz would be more about not meeting the 70% snap threshold and losing the (likely high) second to Indy, while also seeing if Sam Howell has the potential to be the guy or not.
Playing Howell could also be beneficial for the current regime as well. He may be the lone life raft this staff has left if things keep going south. If he shows any signs of having the potential to be the guy then the current regime may be able to run it back with Howell next year.
If he isn’t very good — oh well — they probably weren’t going to win many games for the team anyways.
Switching to the fans’ perspective, with a loss against the Bears, it may be time to start looking at draft positioning.
For the long-term future of this franchise, the best-case scenario may be for this team to bottom out once again, resulting in the complete cleaning of house. Then, the team should first hire an innovative GM, and then allow him or her to find their head coach.
Then with hopefully a high enough pick to secure either CJ Stroud or Bryce Young, the entire franchise could be behind that signal caller. No need to worry about a lame-duck head coach and front office. The entire vision of the franchise would be built around the rookie quarterback, which could entice some more enticing coaching and GM candidates to consider the job.
Either that scenario happens or the team miraculously gets to double-digit wins and shows that the rebuild has some juice left. That is far less likely to happen than in the first scenario, though.
The absolute worst-case scenario is that this team gets feisty down the stretch, and lands in the 5-7 win range. Not good enough to sniff the playoffs, and not good enough to be in position for Stroud or Young.
Nevertheless, Chicago has become an absolute must-win for this team. A loss could put this entire season, regime, and rebuild up in flames before Halloween. And then it would officially be the beginning of the end of the 2022 season. A win may be frugal against the lackluster Bears but it would keep the season afloat, for now.
The Commanders are at a crossroads. They have a dilemma with a coach that is taking the franchise to nowheresville, who also has all the power. They still have a chance to right the ship. However, if it doesn’t get righted, the overhaul of the football operation will be needed once again.
And hopefully this time, ownership will put plans in place that can lead to long-term success.