How is Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera looking at things with speculation growing about his long-term future?
Any hope the Washington Commanders may have of reaching the wild card spots in 2023 is rapidly fading. Their 2-0 start brought delusions of grandeur to some sections of the team's fanbase, which has been swiftly followed by four losses in five to bring things crashing back down to earth.
Josh Harris and his wealthy team of ownership investors are clearly assessing everything associated with the franchise from top to bottom. While the billionaire is known for his patient approach, the likes of Magic Johnson take a more proactive mindset to building a winner - something he's achieved almost everywhere he's been as a basketball legend and business mogul.
Either way, it's hard to look at Rivera's future with any optimism unless there is a dramatic turnaround. That appears unlikely given Washington's strength of schedule down the stretch, but there is enough talent within the locker room for an upset or two if everyone starts improving.
Rivera's seat was hot even before the season began. It's absolutely scolding now, but the head coach is remaining even-keeled while all around him seemingly crumbles based on comments via Sports Illustrated.
"They're all important. They really are. This is the most important we'll have up to this day because it's the one we're about to play. That's the approach that we have to have and that's what we're talking about. This is a big one for us. Next week will be the next big one for us, but the focus is Philadelphia and just trying to prepare for it, understanding what is at stake and like you said, 0-2 in the division, you obviously get a win in the division it's big. It's a win in the conference, which is just as big as well. We've got to go out there and play good football."- Ron Rivera via Sports Illustrated
Having the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town after such a torrid loss at the New York Giants wouldn't be atop Rivera's list of preferred bounce-back games. Their NFC East rival has already beaten the Commanders this season - albeit in overtime - and currently sit 6-1 in the standings as another bold postseason run awaits.
Rivera stated that he is contemplating more changes in the hope it provides a spark. But this is all about how much fight remains in the locker room and within the head coach himself, in all honesty.
We are already beginning to see murmurings of unrest. Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen made his feelings clear after Sunday's embarrassment, which is a sentiment that most other players probably agree with even if they haven't said it publicly.
Again, this is unlikely to be going unnoticed by new ownership.
Rivera is right in the sense that the next game is always the most important. This is a week to week league and even if things look bleak for the Commanders currently, at it'll take is a shock win this weekend against the Eagles and another triumph at the New England Patriots in Week 9 to offer some optimism.
Easier said than done, obviously. But Rivera's resolve and even-keeled demeanor suggest that he is far from ready to throw in the towel just yet.