Commanders star paints glaring picture of disconnect with previous staff

This was a damning indictment of the previous regime.
Brian Robinson Jr.
Brian Robinson Jr. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The improved energy and enthusiasm around the Washington Commanders is hard to ignore. After one of the most eventful offseasons in franchise history, this looks like an organization reborn. It's a major upgrade on how mundane and uninspired things became under Ron Rivera's guidance, who looked like a lame-duck head coach and devoid of ideas from a long way out in 2023.

Dan Quinn is changing all that. He's got what he believes to be the right personnel in the building - both from a playing and staff standpoint. He's also keen to adopt a more cohesive approach to development rather than one man ruling with an iron fist. It's only early, but this seems to be having the desired effect.

Brian Robinson Jr. rips previous Commanders staff

This was a topic discussed by running back Brian Robinson Jr. during his media availability at OTAs. The player highlighted the glaring disconnect between the players and Rivera's staff team last season during their spiral to the No. 2 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. Something he believes has altered rapidly thanks to Quinn's improved methods.

"I think it's been great. Not just for me, but for everybody to adjust to this coaching staff. They've been so good with just how they connect with us. The conversations we have and the type of conversations we have during the meetings, it's just building the connection that we probably just didn't do beforehand. We just didn't have the coaching staff that we felt like we could build a comfortable relationship with, so we could take that relationship from the meeting room to the practice field to the game field. So I feel like we've got a jump start on that right now thanks to coach [Dan] Quinn, just allowing us to be more of a team and that's helping us get off to a good start."

Brian Robinson Jr.

It's not exactly breaking news, but it is a sign of how things spiraled quickly once Rivera lost the locker room. Players can only take so much of the same thing. If their opinions aren't being heard and there's a distance between themselves and the coaches, it's a recipe for disaster.

It wasn't easy for Rivera, let's get that straight. The respected coach knew he was living on borrowed time from the moment Josh Harris' ownership group wrestled the Commanders from Dan Snyder. But as the campaign went on, the lack of motivation across the board and further failed personnel moves sealed his fate.

Robinson works with the offensive staff primarily, so this was probably an indicator of his feelings towards Eric Bieniemy for good measure. The offensive coordinator's harsh coaching methods didn't go down well with most. It's not suited to the modern-day professional player, so this marriage never looked like succeeding after such a turbulent start.

Football, and life in general, is all about relationships.

Stars today need to feel part of something. They want an arm around their shoulder to motivate them rather than the tougher methods of decades past. Finding the correct balance is key, but all signs are pointing up under Quinn and his players are responding accordingly.

If the same trend continues throughout the offseason, it would be surprising if the Commanders didn't turn a few heads during the 2024 campaign. And make no mistake, Robinson will be a significant part of any success that comes their way.