Washington Commanders fans’ patience with Ron Rivera was already wearing thin. Then, the head coach went out and (intentional or not) threw Carson Wentz under the bus in blaming the quarterback position as the main reason Washington has fallen behind its division rivals, who have two losses between them.
Regardless of Rivera’s intentions, this isn’t the attitude you’d expect from a head coach who’s presiding over a 2-4 football team. A head coach who’s in Year 3 of a rebuild and whose team is seemingly regressing with time. Then again, Rivera has never been one to take accountability for his own coaching performance.
In a perfect world, Rivera is the man for the job. It wouldn’t do anyone good to blow up the franchise again (fire Rivera, Martin Mayhew and start over). That would entail starting over at quarterback, which could lead to another rebuild and this roster has several players who are ready to win now.
In reality, though, Rivera might not be long for the job.
After the Panthers axed Matt Rhule following a 1-4 start, it’s not a stretch to say Rivera’s seat is now the hottest in the NFL. If you asked CBS Sports writer Cody Benjamin, he’d agree with that sentiment, as Rivera headlined 11 coaches on Benjamin’s proverbial hot seat entering Week 6.
Is Commanders’ Ron Rivera’s seat the hottest in the NFL after the Panthers fired Matt Rhule?
Rivera ranked ahead of Josh McDaniels (Raiders), Lovie Smith (Texans), Frank Reich (Colts), Dan Campbell (Lions) and Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals).
"Washington feels indebted to Rivera for his role in turning around the broader team culture, but the results on the field have been consistently lackluster. The once-heralded defensive mind last led a winning record in 2017 with the Panthers, and the units he’s entrusted to Jack Del Rio the last two years have been porous. More than that, he’s failed, like Rhule, to identify an adequate short- or long-term answer at QB. He may be beloved as a man, but Rivera’s days as a coach look numbered."
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Rivera hasn’t had a winning record running on five (!) seasons, and he has three winning seasons in 12 years of coaching. This doesn’t matter much, but Rivera’s 8-of-17 on challenges since he joined Washington in 2020, which speaks to his woeful game management tendencies.
It was a blown challenge that cost the Commanders a chance to stop the clock in the waning moments of the loss to Tennessee. Had Rivera had a timeout in his back pocket, Scott Turner could’ve got creative with a running play instead of asking Wentz to drop back to pass three times with zero margin for error.
There’s no single reason Rivera’s seat is hot, or so it seems. It’s a culmination of long-standing coaching deficiencies (clock/game management), his teams starting off games slow (understatement), taking zero accountability and roster construction.
The Commanders — and Dan Snyder — feeling “indebted” to Rivera, as Benjamin noted, might ultimately be enough to save the head coach, but there’s a reason everyone outside the organization, fans included, want a change.
However, that talk has been put on ice for the time being after the Commanders’ potential season-altering win over the Bears on Thursday Night Football and Rivera heatedly defended his team and quarterback in his postgame interview.