What could the tipping point become between Josh Harris' ownership group and Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera in 2023?
It's no secret that Ron Rivera finds himself in a precarious situation next season. The Washington Commanders have yet to finish above .500 under his leadership despite winning the NFC East once, so the head coach is under enormous pressure to get things trending positively during Year 4 of his tenure.
Rivera's been around long enough to know how things work. The presence of Josh Harrs' ownership group getting their $6.05 billion purchase of the Commanders approved before training camp begins only raises the stakes further heading into the business end of preparations.
This landmark and historic change that completely removes Dan Snyder from the equation would make some panic. Fortunately for Rivera, that's not something he's done after getting a similar experience as Carolina Panthers head coach when David Tepper bought the franchise for $2.2 billion.
Commanders new owners will give Ron Rivera every chance in 2023
Of course, Rivera was fired before the 2019 campaign concluded. He'll be hoping to avoid the same fate with Harris' group, who'll have their own ideas on how best to take the Commanders out of the doldrums and into relevancy after more than two decades.
The team looks right on the cusp of competing if certain position groups improve. Chase Young's health will be a factor and the Commanders have also placed some real faith in quarterback Sam Howell after giving him the proverbial keys to the kingdom in 2023.
Projections for the Commanders next season are wild currently. Many have them between 7-10 wins depending on the articles you read, but there are some who've got them crashing and burning despite the increased urgency and Eric Bieniemy's arrival.
One such figure is Kenneth Arthur from SB Nation, who claimed that Rivera could be gone by the time Week 15 versus the Los Angeles Rams arrives. The writer added this would either put the Commanders in an unofficial tank or with a newfound belief under Jack Del Rio or Bieniemy depending on who gets appointed interim.
"It’s probably do or die time for head coach Ron Rivera, entering his fourth season with Washington and yet to finish a season above .500. Playing in a division in which all three other teams made the playoffs, the Commanders have even more work to do than most basement teams in order to reach the postseason. So by Week 15, it could be offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy or veteran Jack Del Rio leading the team with an interim tag. It could be any number of people playing quarterback. Unless Washington gets off to a good start and is much better than people expect, the Commanders might have gone into the tank by December."- Kenneth Arthur, SB Nation
There is a lot of football to be played before something this drastic comes around. While the visions of Harris and Rivera have to match, putting out a good football product and continuing to change the culture across the franchise remains the best course of action.
Every new owner wants to make an immediate impact. To make a landmark splash and get the whole NFL world talking.
Aside from going bold with a trade, hitting the refresh button on the coaching side of things is the most realistic avenue. But it would be a shock if Rivera wasn't given a genuine chance given the sale won't be approved until one week before camp.
What comes after that is less certain. Rivera's seat is arguably the hottest in football, so anything less than major strides forward when the regular season arrives is likely going to come with grave consequences.
Time will tell.