Commanders defense: Breaking down past seasons to project the future in 2023

Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera
Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Taking a look back at the Washington Commanders' defensive rankings and statistics under Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio since their hiring in 2020.

With Ron Rivera as the head man in the nation's capital, the Washington Commanders have managed to be a relatively stable squad. Hired into an absolute disaster of a situation, "Riverboat Ron" has somehow steered the much-beleaguered roster to at least seven wins in each of the last three campaigns - winning the division and making the playoffs in his first year in charge.

Rivera's overall record isn't the best, but it's not too shabby when one considers the situation:

  • (22-27-1 overall record, 1 NFC East Championship, 1 playoff appearance)

While modest or mediocre to most NFL standards, the consistency and competitive nature of Rivera's teams during his tenure has been a more than welcome sight to many long-suffering fans of the once proud Commanders franchise.

Washington has missed out on the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, due mainly to atrocious offensive play calling, far below-average quarterback play, and overwhelming injuries along the offensive line.

By necessity as well as roster construction. the Commanders have established a physical defensive identity. This is highlighted by an intriguing group of young stars on the defensive line and in the secondary.

Jack Del Rio has piloted the Washington defense under Rivera, generating mixed reviews from the general public but predominantly fielding a tough and disciplined unit.

The Commanders' defense has generally been considered one of the league's best with Del Rio at the helm. Though talented, his teams have been especially susceptible to the pass and particularly poor when it comes to forcing turnovers.

Today we dive into an in-depth review of Washington's defense under Rivera and Del Rio, analyzing the past three seasons to predict areas of improvement for 2023 and beyond.