Throughout Redskins head coach Ron Rivera's both playing and coaching career, he's established himself as one of the best leaders in the sport.
The two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year spoke about the topic on Thursday during the first-ever Loudoun Chamber Virtual Leadership Conference. Towards the end of the luncheon, fans were able to ask the new Redskins coach questions, and the first one Rivera was asked was "What is the first question he asks draft prospects during a pre-draft meeting?"
Rivera's answer was very telling about the person and type of coach he is.
"I think one of the things I like asking is 'Who mentors you? Who did you get your upbringing from? Who's been an influence in your life?" Rivera said. "Those are things I love asking guys. It's really neat, because you watch their eyes light up when they talk about somebody that really truly impacted them. Then they'll talk about that person for a long time. That to me is really cool."
Seeing players talk about their mentors is certainly something that sticks out to the Redskins head coach. Part of the reason why is that it may remind him a little bit of himself.
Minutes earlier in the session, Rivera spent a lengthy amount of time thanking all the coaches he has played for and worked under -- such as Mike Ditka, Andy Reid, Norv Turner, and Lovie Smith -- throughout the three-plus decades he's been a part of the NFL.
"I took something from all those guys," he said. "Everyone that impacts you, everyone that mentors you, you're going to take something from them."
Rivera explained that regardless of how successful anyone may get, you always need people around you that you can rely on and count on. The head coach pointed to his first two seasons as the Carolina Panthers head coach as an example.
"My first original staff, that's one of the mistakes I made," he said. "I didn't have a former head coach on my original staff to help me. My first two years, I made a lot of mistakes because I didn't have someone to fall to and ask questions."
In Washington, Rivera's first hire since taking the Redskins job was defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who has over a decade of being a head coach under his belt. Although Rivera now has plenty of head coaching experience in his own right, he now has the ability to seek Del Rio for any guidance or questions if need be.
"Make sure you have somebody around you that you trust and believe in that can help mentor you as you go through the beginning of your career," he said.
Rivera was also asked about what stands out in pre-draft meetings from a football standpoint, and his response fell completely in line with what he has preached since coming to Washington: accountability.
"As we're watching the tape unfold, we're asking them specific questions about those things," Rivera said. "We'll ask 'What happened?' and sometimes guys will step up and say 'That's on me. I did this. I know he did that over there.' When a guy takes responsibility, that's what you get excited about. Because a guy is not afraid of it."
Players that own up to their mistakes and hold others accountable are exactly those that Rivera wants to bring into Washington as he hopes to turn the culture in Redskins Park around. Those that deflect the blame are not the type of teammates Rivera wants.
"But when a guy sits there and says 'I can't believe my teammate did this.' now he's looking to place blame," Rivera said. "Those are guys you worry about."
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