Ron Rivera talked about wanting to win Super Bowls and his demand for a stronger culture during his introductory press conference on Thursday. He said plenty, seemed genuine and gave Redskins fans real reason for optimism.
What he didn't say, however, might carry the biggest weight.
Asked about final say over football personnel, Rivera explained that the Redskins would run a collaborative approach and that should there be any disagreements, Rivera would approach Redskins owner Dan Snyder for resolution.
"It has to be a collaboration. No matter who it is, no matter who’s working with us, it has to be a collaboration," Rivera said. "This is not a one man show. I don’t have all the answers. I’m going to rely on people around me."
What Rivera didn't say, but became pretty obvious, is that Rivera has final say on personnel.
When a new head coach goes out of his way to explain how important everyone else is, that means the head coach is in charge.
Plenty of NFL teams wanted to talk to Rivera after Carolina fired him in December, but Snyder moved swiftly to snag the 2013 and 2015 NFL Coach of the Year. Part of that decision for Rivera came when Snyder explained his plan for the Redskins organization.
"Dan Snyder came to me with a very interesting perspective. For weeks he’s explored the reasons why some teams win and some teams don’t. He told me the common factor in that transitional success of teams like the Patriots, the Seahawks and the Chiefs and some of the other ones was the decision to take it and make it coach-centered approach. Not an owner-centered approach, or a team president or a general manager but coach-centered approach," Rivera said.
A coach-centered approach. Interesting.
Like the Patriots, the Seahawks and the Chiefs? Interesting.
All of those teams have strong front office voices and expert scouts, but all those teams also have head coaches with final say in personnel. The Redskins just joined that club.
Throughout his remarks Rivera walked a deliberate line. He showed confidence and intensity, but seemed restrained and diplomatic. This Redskins job comes with plenty of warning signs, perhaps even some warts. Rivera didn't shy away from that, but remained steadfast that he could fix what seems unfixable.
Asked about previous coaches that have come to Washington with strong reputations only to end up fired and troubled, Rivera didn't hold back.
"Well, nobody really knows, but I’ll tell you this, I believe in me and I’ll bet on me."
Sounds like a guy comfortable in his new role.
Need more evidence that final say will belong to Rivera? Just listen to Snyder's words.
"What the Redskins have needed is a culture change. Someone that can bring a winning culture to our organization. And it starts and ends with our head coach," the owner said Thursday. "Ron Rivera knows how to win as a player, as a coach, as a new head coach of the Redskins. One thing that is very, very important, we’re going to have one voice and one voice alone. And that’s the coach’s."
If the owner says there is just one voice to represent his team, and that voice belongs to the head coach, then look no further for final say.
One voice? That's the boss.
And at least for now, that one voice belongs to Ron Rivera.
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