4 primary catalysts behind former Commanders HC Ron Rivera's demise

Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders didn't prioritize the OL

When Ron Rivera became head coach, he inherited a pretty decent offensive line. It has some stable veteran performers and one of the league's most prolific left tackles. Unfortunately, flawed moves turned this once-consistent group into a complete laughing stock.

One thing Rivera's been criticized for throughout his NFL head coaching journey is a failure to prioritize protection. It was the same with the Carolina Panthers. This ethos transitioned to the Washington Commanders. Instead of investing in core players or utilizing high-end draft picks to solidify the unit, he opted to rely on underperforming free agents and mid-level prospects - many of whom fluffed their lines in the worst way imaginable.

The results have been damning. Washington's offensive line has been nothing short of woeful in 2023. It was the same state of affairs last season. Considering how critical the group is to overall performance on offense, it represented a grave error in judgment on Rivera's behalf.

Ignoring the likes of O'Cyrus Torrence and John Michael Schmitz in favor of taking a second-straight defensive back to begin the 2023 NFL Draft was a microcosm of Rivera's lack of interest in offensive line upgrades. Sam Howell was left taking significant punishment and running for his life as a result.

This is a mistake the new regime cannot make. A complete revamp is needed this offseason through sound veteran acquisitions and top-tier prospects from the college ranks. Anything else is organizational malpractice.