Redskins

Quick Links

Gamble or not, Ron Rivera not bluffing about shipping Redskins players out to change the culture

Gamble or not, Ron Rivera not bluffing about shipping Redskins players out to change the culture

Remember the baptism scene at the end of The Godfather? When Michael Corleone establishes himself as the boss and “finishes” all family business? 

Well, nobody got popped laying on a massage table, but Redskins head coach Ron Rivera made his biggest moves yet on Monday.

He didn’t quite finish all the family business, but the coach made three significant changes that firmly show his cultural rebuild is well on its way at Redskins Park. 

Things started with the trade for Carolina's Kyle Allen, a competent backup quarterback and enough of a threat to properly push Dwayne Haskins to improve. Then the team released troubled safety Montae Nicholson; physically talented, undisciplined on the field and with severe off-field baggage. The last move for Rivera? Trading disgruntled cornerback Quinton Dunbar. 

These moves weren't about making the Redskins immediately better on the football field. In fact, in the immediate aftermath, losing Nicholson and Dunbar definitely hurts the team as both were starters last season. 

Rivera's "Big Monday" was about establishing his culture at Redskins Park, and making clear that tolerated behavior from the previous regime would not fly under the new Ashburn order. 

Trading for Allen made sense, even if Washington paid perhaps a bit too steep of a price in a fifth-round draft pick. Allen showed promise in 2019, winning his first four starts, before his game and the Panthers season fell apart. This is the rare trade, however, where the best-case scenario means the player never sees the field. Rivera wants Allen to push Haskins in competition and for Allen's built-in knowledge of offensive coordinator Scott Turner's terminology and scheme. Due to coronavirus, the Redskins and the entire NFL will be short on offseason work, and Allen might be able to help Haskins learn quickly. 

If the Allen trade made it clear that Rivera is turning the Redskins offense over to Haskins, the departures of Nicholson and Dunbar made sure that Rivera is turning over the Redskins roster.

Releasing Nicholson was long overdue.

He was suspended late in the 2018 season after being arrested in a bar fight. What's worse? He wasn't suspended last season after a young woman died of a drug overdose in his home. He played the following Sunday. Police said Nicholson had nothing to do with the incident, but still, with that much off-field drama and a litany of dumb penalties on the field, it was well past time to move on. 

Rivera claims to be a man that won't suffer fools and to do so meant releasing Nicholson. Now, it's done. 

The Dunbar trade was the biggest move. After all, he's the best player of the three. Rivera traded away Dunbar for a fifth-round pick, and being perfectly honest, the 27-year-old cornerback is worth more than a fifth-rounder. 

But here's the problem - Rivera has made clear he will only tolerate players that are all in on his methodology. 

"If they're not all in, if they're not willing to do it your way, it's time to f----- get rid of those guys," Rivera famously said in a December story on NFL.com, just days before taking over as the Redskins head coach.

Well, they might call him Riverboat Ron, but he wasn't bluffing with that message. 

Dunbar wanted out. Now he's out.

He was unhappy with his contract and felt disrespected by his role with the new organization, and now he can talk with Seahawks management about his deal. Could the Redskins have gotten more in a trade for a quality corner? Maybe. Keep in mind, however, Dunbar has just one year left on his contract and some injury history. When he's on the field he's been good, but teams aren't always paying for past performance.

Again, it's important for Redskins fans to understand that sending Dunbar as far away as possible wasn't just about the trade compensation. Rivera is working on a building a new culture at Redskins Park based on accountability and honesty. Dunbar didn't feel like that was attainable, so Rivera sent him away. 

Culture change isn't easy. It's going to have cuts, scrapes and some bruises. Rivera has said repeatedly it will take time to build things right in Washington, and Monday's moves were part of a long-term rebuild. 

But having a bad culture is far worse. Look at the Redskins results the last decade with Bruce Allen at the helm. The goal was to "win" every transaction, to hold out until the last possible second to possibly maximize a situation. Only it didn't work too often, and sometimes, it backfired in terrible ways. The Kirk Cousins mess. The Su'a Cravens mess. The Trent Williams mess. 

Rivera doesn't do messes. Things get cleaned up. 

That does leave one last piece of business to tend to: Trent Williams. He wants out, but depending which side is talking, the markets aren't bearing fruit. Williams wants a new deal with significant guaranteed cash, and the Redskins want fair draft compensation in return. 

This trade can't be as much of a GTHO move as Rivera pulled with Dunbar. Williams is more established and much better - a seven-time Pro Bowler. But if Monday taught us anything, Rivera isn't going to wait around to get these deals done either. 

Riverboat Ron might be a gambler, but it looks like he is done bluffing. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

Report: Officials say RFK site not an option for Redskins unless team changes name

Report: Officials say RFK site not an option for Redskins unless team changes name

As the Redskins search for a new football home in the future, the RFK Stadium site is one that is at the top of the list. However, unless the team is willing to change its name, the area becoming their new field is a non-starter, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday

Speaking with several government officials, a similar message was shared throughout. The federally owned land will not be given to the franchise if the name remains what it is today.

“I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital,” D.C.'s nonvoting delegate to the House of Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said. “He has got a problem he can’t get around -- and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”

“There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name," D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said.

Washington's name has been a topic of debate for years but has recently received major pushback over the past month as the nation yearns for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.

It was also reported on Wednesday that investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion have asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the Washington Redskins unless the team agrees to change its name.

The Redskins have expressed interest in playing on the grounds of RFK after a bill was introduced in 2019 calling for the federal government to sell the area to the city. However, the bill won't pass through Congress unless the land is used for the team under a different name. U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, referred to the current name as a "racist nickname."

RELATED ARTICLE: RON RIVERA MAKES FIRST PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING REDSKINS' NAME

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stated in the past that he is not open to a name change, as he considers it to be an act of honor toward Native Americans. 

Washington currently plays its games at FedEx Fied in Landover, Md. Both sides would like to see the team return to the District, but for as long as they are called the Redskins, it won't happen.

“The time has ended,” Grijalva said. “There is no way to justify it. You either step into this century or you don’t. It’s up to the owner of the team to do that.”

“The city obviously would like the team back,” Norton said. “But it’s important that [Falcicchio] used the word ‘federally’ -- meaning that they now recognize that there is no hope unless this name is changed.”

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE TEAM NEWS

Quick Links

Jeff Bostic shares hilarious story of Joe Bugel blaming him for a missed block that wasn't his doing

Jeff Bostic shares hilarious story of Joe Bugel blaming him for a missed block that wasn't his doing

Former Redskins coach Joe Bugel, who died on Sunday at the age of 80, impacted numerous players throughout his time in the NFL. Specifically, from 1981-89 he helped members of  "The Hogs" offensive line in Washington become one of the greatest units ever assembled.

However, for as much as Bugel loved his players and his players loved him back, the two sides were prone to some arguments. Bugel's fiery passion for the game led to some outbursts that no one was immune to. From Joe Gibbs to Russ Grimm, plenty got an earful.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

That includes former Redskins offensive lineman Jeff Bostic, who was alongside Bugel during his nine seasons in Washington. On the latest Redskins Inside Look, Bostic joined former Redskins teammate and legendary running back John Riggins to share one of his most memorable stories of Bugel.

It all started when Mark May, another member of the offensive line, didn't want to hear Bugel yell at him.

“You know the biggest whiner in Redskins history is Mark May. He had missed the block and Buges was on the staff," Bostic said. "Well, May is over there telling him I missed the block."

So, with that information to go off of, Bugel prepared to shame Bostic for the failed play. As Bostic jogged to the sideline following a field goal attempt, he couldn't understand why his name was being called.

“I’m coming off the field and I hear Buges yelling ‘He kicked your a--.’ And I’m like ‘who is he talking to?’" Bostic said. "And then he said it again. I said ‘who are you talking to?' He said, 'I’m talking to you.'”

RELATED: MORE REDSKINS INSIDE LOOK

That led to Bostic showing his frustrations and sending his helmet hurdling through the air.

“I unbuttoned my helmet and threw it at him from about 15 yards away," Bostic said. "And I just left my helmet and went over and sat on the bench.”

Following the heated back-and-forth, Bugel quickly displayed the other side of his personality -- the one that cared for his players and just wanted to see them succeed. Heading over to Bostic, he wanted him to know there were no hard feelings, it was just the emotion of football getting the best of him.

"He said, ‘Hey horse you know I love you.'”

Because Bostic -- like so many other Redskins -- had a deep love and respect for Bugel, it was easy for him to take the apology and move on. However, he did want his coach to know that all the yelling was actually done for no reason because he was not the one to blame.

"I said 'You got a strange way of showing love. What you’re gonna do is when you watch the film tomorrow you’re gonna owe me an apology,'" Bostic said.

Stay connected to the Redskins with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS