Redskins owner Dan Snyder stepped to the microphone on Thursday and told the world his plan: His team would have one voice going forward and it belongs to new head coach Ron Rivera.
For about 25 minutes, Rivera took questions and spoke highly of the Redskins organization and many of the team's players. He explained how his relationship developed with Snyder and that both men share a vision of competing for Super Bowls.
Rivera said plenty, and it will take time to discern all of his words' meaning, but the gut reactions matter too. Here's what stood out most:
- Meet the new boss - Rivera and Snyder said they want to change the Redskins culture. They said it in a way it's almost impossible not to think about former team president Bruce Allen asserting in an October press conference that "the culture is actually damn good." Of course, Allen was loud wrong on the culture. It wasn't damn good, Snyder recognized it, and hired Rivera to fix it. Rivera understands the task in front of him and plans tio approach his Redskins rebuild with accountability and honesty. The words have been said before, but the delivery seemed sincere.
- What about everyone else? Rivera is now in control of the Redskins but he's going to need help. He's already hired Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator, and Del Rio took in Rivera's press conference from the front row, but the rest of thet staff and front office seem wide open. Rivera said he was interviewing some staff members and coaches. Assembling his staff is an "ongoing" process, according to Rivera, and that included the status of offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell and front office leaders like Eric Schaffer, Doug Williams, Alex Santos and Kyle Smith. Rivera did speak highly of the Redskins last three drafts, and that could reflect fondly for Smith and the front office.
- Under center - Asked about rookie QB Dwayne Haskins, Rivera didn't exactly talk much the Redskins signal-caller. Instead, Rivera pivoted to his success with Cam Newton while both men were with the Panthers. Rivera was Carolina's coach when the team drafted Newton No. 1 overall in 2011, and the two experienced tremendous success together. The presumption being Rivers knows how to develop talented young quarterbacks, and Haskins knows that too.
- Fumble - The press conference got off to a bit of a weird start when owner Dan Snyder opened things up joking, "Happy Thanksgiving." Word is Snyder was trying to cut the tension off the moment with a joke. After that, Rivera looked for a Redskins jersey with his name on it for a photo opportunity. That jersey was not in the position Rivera expected, and eventually, it was revealed no jersey existed. A couple quick stumbles before Rivera settled in and nailed the rest of the media session.
- Star-studded - Jack Del Rio wasn't the only famous face sitting in the front row of Rivera's presser. A number of current Redskins players watched their new coach speak, including Jonathan Allen, Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Jon Bostic. Hall of Famer Darrell Green sat upfront along with Ken Harvey and Ricky Ervins. Matt Ioannidis was spotted in the back of the room, along with a number of the Redskins training staff and front office employees. Fans were very anxious to hear from Rivera, and it appears Redskins players and alumni were too.
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