What Ron Rivera was able to accomplish in 2020 was impressive to many, including new Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.
Rivera's first year in Washington was not only just an overall success but an incredible story as well. Not only did the head coach lead a previously 3-13 team to an NFC East crown, but he did so while overcoming a rare form of cancer and navigating through a worldwide pandemic.
Ahead of Washington's Week 1 matchup against LA, Staley was asked about Rivera and praised the 59-year-old for the tremendous display of leadership he showed last fall.
"All of us were just amazed by the job that he did under the circumstances last year, taking that team to the playoffs in a COVID year, a pandemic year, and then a cancer year for himself," Staley said.
"Year 1 of a program where you're trying to- I mean that place when he got there, there was a lot going on with that team and for him to change a culture, go through a COVID year, go through a cancer journey," Staley continued. "I think there's no better example of leadership than that and I've always had a lot of respect for him."
While Staley doesn't know Rivera on a personal level, the Chargers boss said that he's heard from several of his peers that have worked with Washington's head coach in the past and they've all raved about him.
"I know some people that have worked directly with him and I know when I was in Chicago the way that organization felt about him," Staley said. "I know some people that were around him in the past, whether it's Cal or other places. I just know the integrity of him, number one as a person and certainly the cancer story."
Staley's first taste of regular season football as an NFL coach will come on Sunday when his Chargers travel east to face Washington. The 38-year-old's level of NFL coaching experience is far different than Rivera's, who is entering his 11th year as a head coach and nearing three decades of professional coaching experience.
Both teams have high expectations for 2021, meaning Week 1 should be a good measuring point for both clubs. While both head coaches eagerly want to win their first game of the season, Staley has a ton of respect for Rivera.
"This guy is a Super Bowl coach, NFL coach of the year," Staley said. "So a tremendous amount of respect for him and their whole staff."