The ongoing Washington Commanders quarterback soap opera could take one final and awkward turn before head coach Ron Rivera is inevitably shown the door.
Achieving stabilty at the quarterback position has been almost impossible for Ron Rivera. It appears as if there might be one final awkward twist to come before his time with the Washington Commanders reaches its conclusion.
All signs point to Rivera being relieved of his head coaching duties once the final two games are navigated. He can have no complaints. There's been almost no progression in terms of on-field results. There are more questions than ever about the current roster with the Commanders sitting at 4-11 and going nowhere fast.
Rivera proudly proclaimed a few weeks ago that the Commanders can take one significant solace from their efforts in 2023. At last, they had found a long-term presence under center in Sam Howell. This was almost immediately followed by severe regression from the former fifth-round selection out of North Carolina.
Commanders QB uncertainty is Ron Rivera's biggest failure
He was benched in consecutive games. Rivera named Jacoby Brissett as the starter in Week 17 against the formidable San Francisco 49ers. Sounds simple enough - until it wasn't.
Brissett landed on Friday's injury report with a hamstring issue. He's officially listed as questionable and is a game-time decision according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. If the veteran cannot go, then Rivera plans to reinstall Howell despite stating he needs to step away from the glaring spotlight.
"I think this is probably a good opportunity for Sam to take a break. This is about Sam's continued development and things hadn't gone as well as we'd like for him the last few weeks. We just think this is a good opportunity for him to watch."- Ron Rivera via Commanders.com
You couldn't make it up.
While there is going to be a level of professionalism from both sides, Howell immediately returning to the starting lineup just a few short days after he was all but written off by Rivera is nothing short of unbelievable. On the other hand, considering how the coach has handled the position throughout his four-year reign, it's not all that surprising.
Rivera's gambled and lost on countless occasions. Even when it looked like Howell could be the answer, the Commanders failed to address the pathetic protection in front of him. When push came to shove, there was only so much punishment the player could take before it started to knock his confidence.
This cannot be placed on Brissett, who's looked assured during cameo appearances against the Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets. The North Carolina State product will do everything possible to convince the coaching staff he's ready before tomorrow's game. It'll be the biggest talking point in the hours to come, but Fowler's report indicates it could legitimately go either way.
The Commanders have descended into a parody with Rivera leading the charge. His roster building and culture restoration have been called into question this season. At times, what's transpired seems more like reality television than what's typically associated with an NFL franchise.
Fortunately for the Commanders, this isn't going to be a problem for much longer. Rivera's got two contests left to navigate before Josh Harris' ownership group hits the reset button. The new appointments are inheriting a complete mess, but there is potential to turn things around quickly with multiple high-end draft picks and around $100 million in available cap space.
And unlike Rivera, solving the complex quarterback riddle should be tackled with conviction.