When Ron Rivera was hired as the Washington Commanders head coach in January of 2020, two years and two team names ago, he was tasked with more than turning a losing franchise around. Changing the culture, both on the field and off of it, is something Rivera has preached since he took the job.
As Rivera begins to shift his focus to the 2022 season -- his third year with the team -- the head coach knows how crucial this upcoming year is. Washington overachieved in 2020 and took advantage of a weak division, winning the NFC East with just a 7-9 record in Rivera's first year with the team. The franchise took a step back in 2021, though, missing out on the postseason with a 7-10 record.
So, entering the 2022 season, Rivera knows he must do everything in his power to get his program headed back in the right direction. But even if Washington does struggle once again this upcoming season, NFL analyst Jay Glazer thinks Rivera should not be at risk of losing his job.
"If they [move on from Rivera], they're crazy," Glazer said on the Washington Football Talk podcast. "They finally have someone who can provide some stability."
This isn't the first time Rivera has been pegged to turn a franchise around, either. When Carolina hired Rivera as head coach in 2011, the Panthers had the worst record in the league. Four years later, Rivera's Panthers went 15-1 and made it to the Super Bowl.
Rivera has preached patience since he was hired, insisting that culture change doesn't occur overnight. Glazer believes that Washington fans owe that to Rivera, especially considering all the turmoil the organization has been in the past two decades.
"The culture there has been terrible," Glazer said. "For people to come in and rebuild that culture over there, that doesn't happen overnight."
He didn't stop there, either. Glazer believes that if Washington does move on from Rivera following the 2022 season, should things go south once again, some serious self-reflection must occur at the top.
"To run out of patience with him? You'd have to look inside at yourself before you point fingers at everybody else," Glazer said. "If you lose every year, you've got to start looking inside at yourself, saying 'What am I doing wrong?' Obviously, there's been a lot they've done wrong."
As of now, there's been practically no talk about Rivera's job being in danger. But, Washington's ownership has a track record of moving on from coaches quickly -- the team has had 10 different head coaches in Dan Snyder's 23 years owning the team.
Glazer believes that in Rivera, Washington has the right guy in charge to change the culture. His hope is that the team feels the same way.
He's the right guy to help build that culture," Glazer said. "You've got to change culture from top to bottom."