In predictable fashion, the Washington Commanders kept a low profile leading up to the trade deadline, which was actually record-setting even though it left a lot to be desired as far as blockbuster deals. The only involvement from Ron Rivera’s side, of course, was shipping William Jackson to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In a vacuum, the Commanders did excellently to find a buyer for Jackson. Hours before the deadline, it was reported Washington was likely to release the veteran if it couldn’t orchestrate a deal before the 4 p.m. EST deadline.
While a silver lining, sending Jackson to Pittsburgh doesn’t do much to change the narrative that signing Jackson was a disaster move. Fans are still reconciling with how much of a bust Jackson proved to be, and they were eager to hear what Rivera and the front office had to say after the trade became official.
In rather surprising fashion, Rivera was brutally honest and even took full accountability for the move, admitting a glaring mistake in evaluation.
Ron Rivera admitted the Commanders botched their evaluation of William Jackson III during the 2020 offseason.
"“I think the biggest thing is, more so than anything else, is we looked at what we tried to do with William, and it didn’t work,” Rivera told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay. “Quite honestly, we didn’t find the fit we were hoping to find. We were looking for a guy that had a specific skillset, that could understand the match coverages and play the match coverages the way we do with everybody else, and he struggled with it because he really is a man-coverage type-guy. So, along the lines of our evaluation process, we were wrong.”"
Here’s the full clip of Rivera’s answer.
Some might view this is a no-brainer response from Rivera, but it’s not often you see a head coach/lead personnel decision-maker own up to a mistake like this. Throw in Rivera’s wonky track record with holding himself accountable following losses, and you can appreciate the two-time Coach of the Year’s honesty.
If you follow the NFL closely, its rare teams — general managers, owners and head coaches alike — admit they got their evaluation wrong. Rivera changing the narrative was refreshing, even if the “man cornerback” argument falls on deaf ears.
Of course, Rivera and the front office shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame. Though a poor fit, Jackson was an atrocity in Washington. Though he flourished as a man corner in Cincinnati, the Commanders play man at a top-10 rate in the league through Week 8 and the league plays zone more than 70% of the time to account for unicorn cornerbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Justin Herbert.
Nevertheless, we give Rivera a ton of credit for taking accountability.
This is unrelated, but everyone here at Riggo’s Rag send out deepest condolences to Rivera following the passing of his mother, Dolores.