In Ron Rivera's short time as the head coach of the Redskins, plenty of moves have been made. An overhaul of the coaching staff, along with changes in the front office, have shown that Rivera is determined to switch things up in Washington.
Yet while the first few weeks of the offseason have been filled with transactions and movement, one important position remains open: General Manager.
Bruce Allen, former Redskins Team President, had been acting as the general manager prior to his removal following the end of the 2019 season. With Allen now out, the plan is for the Redskins to bring in a general manager to work with Rivera. However, reports have suggested that this move may not be made until after the 2020 NFL Draft in April. Part of the reasoning could stem from the fact that a lot of the pre-draft work has already been done at this point in the year.
But with Rivera and the Redskins about to enter an important stretch as they look to shift the culture and direction of the team, is it really beneficial to do it without the general manager that will presumably come aboard to help do just that? According to NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers' reporter Matt Maiocco, it is not.
"I think that's a mistake," Maiocco told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay on the Redskins Talk Podcast, when referring to the Redskins potentially waiting on a new general manager.
Part of Maiocco's reasoning is because of the sheer importance of what will be done over the next couple of months. Not only is the NFL Draft the Redskins' Super Bowl this year, as Maiocco says, but free agency begins in March as well. Waiting until after the draft to hire a general manager would mean missing out on key moments to bring in veteran players.
In addition, Maiocco believes that the Redskins new coach-centered approach with Rivera calls for a new general manager now. He believes that having a general manager that can connect and grow with the head coach is essential if Washington really wants things to change.
"I think it's ill-timed [to wait]. It doesn't matter what the scouting department has done as far as the lead up to this. You still need to bring in somebody who you see eye-to-eye with, that you trust and you make decisions together," Maiocco said. "You don't make decisions with a short time, somebody who's not going to be invested in the project. Somebody who doesn't know what their future is."
For Maiocco, the ideal scenario would be to bring in a general manager on the same terms as Rivera, whose contract is reportedly for five years. Therefore, the two become linked.
"Hire a general manager who's on a five-year contract. Tie those guys at the hip, so that Ron Rivera's success is also he GM's success, and the GM's failures are also Ron Rivera's failures," Maiocco said. "That's the way you get things done."
Why exactly does Maiocco believe this is the right decision for the Redskins? Because he has seen it first-hand while covering the San Francisco 49ers.
From the days where Bill Walsh had the reigns up until the current tenure in which Kyle Shanahan selected GM John Lynch to work with him, Maiocco has seen San Francisco feature teams that were coach-centered and others that weren't. It's the former approach that has seen more success.
"I think they've had more success when they've had it that way. With the head coach kind of being the central figure of the organization," Maiocco said.
A major factor contributing to the good years, including 2019, has been the ability for the head coach and general manager to work together in order to help the team improve. Maiocco recalled talking to Lynch earlier this year and asking him about whether he scouts during the season. Lynch surprisingly said he hadn't much, because Shanahan liked to have him nearby to talk to and bounce ideas off of.
That formula has clearly worked for the 49ers this season, as the team enters the Divisional round as the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Maiocco believes that isn't luck, but rather a demonstration of the importance of having a coach and general manager on the same page.
"The key is always to have cohesion between the front office and the coaching staff," he said.
Maiocco likes the Rivera hire and the direction the Redskins are heading in. But with what he's seen in his years covering the NFL and similar situations like the 49ers, he believes that Redskins would be better off finding a general manager before they are on the clock in April.
"Based on everything that I've seen through the years and what I've witnessed and my personal beliefs, he should get his guy," Maiocco said. "And he should get his guy before the draft."
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