Yet more quarterback confusion caused by Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera is a symbolic end to his head coaching tenure.
Just when the Washington Commanders looked like they might be set for some stability at football's most critical position, things changed quickly in Week 15 at the Los Angeles Rams. With the team facing another beatdown against a potential playoff hopeful, head coach Ron Rivera took out quarterback Sam Howell in favor of Jacoby Brissett.
This sort of confusion under center has dogged Rivera throughout his time as head coach. And in truth, it's been a stain on his coaching career more often than not.
Commanders' QB dilemma in Ron Rivera's final days as head coach
When probed about the prospect of Howell being benched, Rivera said he was the starter in the game's immediate aftermath. The day after, he wasn't so convincing during a mumbling statement via Nicki Jhabvala from the Washington Post.
"Well, if this was about playoffs and we’re right in the middle of it and stuff like that, that’s something you most certainly have to consider. Do we still have that opportunity to continue to win? That’s one of the things you always consider because, again, you want to make sure everybody’s getting the opportunity to be successful."- Ron Rivera via X/Twitter
It's been a constant stream of failed quarterbacks since Rivera took charge almost four seasons ago. Howell doesn't quite fall into that category yet, but the coach's confidence has waned significantly after boldly claiming the Commanders had found their guy just a few short weeks ago.
Rivera's evaluation of quarterbacks - or lack thereof - is the common denominator in his failings as a head coach. Cam Newton was a gift from the football Gods at No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Nothing else came close to cutting the mustard.
When any new regime takes charge, this is the first and biggest conundrum to solve. But suspect free-agent signings, a trade for Carson Wentz that blew up in his face, and leaving it too late with Howell during his rookie development all contributed to his demise in Washington.
Rivera basically stated that if the Commanders were in playoff contention, Brissett would be the QB1 this weekend. Washington isn't playing for much else other than pride. Therefore, giving the young guy reps in the hope he can bounce back will be the course of action.
One expects the leash to tighten around Howell's production at the New York Jets. He's not been playing well of late. Rivera is desperate to leave on a high. That is a dangerous combination.
When analysts begin picking apart Rivera's tenure, they'll start at the quarterback spot. He couldn't get it right. He made rash moves. The experienced figure lacked the patience he gave to other position groups.
These are mistakes the new coaching regime and general manager tandem cannot make. They must have a plan. They must stick to it. If that means someone else coming in at the expense of Howell, so be it.
After all, it'll be them in the spotlight to clean up the mess next time around. Not Rivera.
There are many other problems Rivera couldn't solve effectively. The lack of priority to the offensive line. The failure to maximize a talented defense. The loyalty towards players who had no business getting extended time on the field.
I could go on, but the constant quarterback fumbling and confusion is right at the top. Something the new appointments must address as a matter of urgency this offseason.