Could the Washington Commanders consider one of these dark horse candidates if they choose to move on from current head coach Ron Rivera in 2024?
Early last season, when the Washington Commanders were floundering, and fans were calling for Ron Rivera’s head, I wrote a piece ranking the top candidates to replace him should Ron Rivera be axed. Three of my top four choices - DeMeco Ryans, Jonathan Gannon, and Shane Steichen - did go on to secure head coaching gigs in 2023.
The other two new coaches were retreads - Frank Reich and Sean Payton - and I didn’t see either of them coming.
Therefore, even though our site editor Dean Jones put out a comprehensive list of new candidates for the top job in D.C. if Rivera does not return in 2024, I figure there are always other names floating around. Those that are a bit off the radar, but with a shot of catching a new owner’s eye.
The fact there is a new owner in town makes this more intriguing. And harder to predict.
We don’t know what Josh Harris' ownership group may be thinking. With the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, he has shown a willingness to stray a bit from conventional wisdom and look for younger, more progressive coaches who could grow with a rebuilding team. I suspect that is what he will do with the Commanders.
I also suspect that he will look for an offensive-minded coach to counterbalance the last four years under the defensive-minded Rivera. So even though not all of my candidates fit this profile, I am mostly looking at who could potentially be the next Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Kevin O’Connell, or Matt LaFleur.
There’s something familiar about all those names. Oh, that’s right. They all coached in Washington over the past 15 years. What a pity that the Commanders' management team was too incompetent to realize what they already had in the building.
But that’s in the past. What might be in the future? Here are nine under-the-radar head coaching candidates for the Commanders to consider if they decide to part ways with Rivera.