In a recent media session, Washington cornerback Kendall Fuller discussed what head coach Ron Rivera has brought to the organization so far. Fuller, who had been in Washington during Jay Gruden's tenure in 2016 and 2017, harped on the importance of the culture being reset and the trust Rivera is instilling with every member of the franchise.
"Coach Rivera wants to trust us, and we want to trust him," Fuller said. "That's what we've got to build and that's what we're working on."
Fuller used the word "culture" numerous times, something that stuck out to Team980 radio host Kevin Sheehan. To him, the importance of fixing more than just the play on the field is something that is a crucial aspect of Rivera's job and he's glad to see that the head coach understands that.
“This is a good sign, because Rivera has come into this organization eyes wide open," Sheehan said on Washington Football Talk and Friends."He’s not naive"
“He wasn’t inheriting a team, he was inheriting an organization that needed a major culture change. We’ve heard him say it from day one and he’s gotta reshape a culture, not just a roster," Sheehan said.
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Addressing the problems that take place throughout the organization is something Sheehan believes past coaches have failed to do. Over the years, Washington has proven to be a franchise in need of a revitalization both on and off the field. Before Rivera, the people in power were not right for the job, according to Sheehan, because they were unaware that those fixes needed to be made.
"[Jay] Gruden didn’t care, he just wanted a job. I think Mike [Shanahan], and I love Mike, took big money and wanted to get back into coaching and didn't really know what he was getting into," Sheehan said. "I think Rivera knows he’s coming into an organization that has been as bad as any in sports with an owner that is really the issue. But I think he has come in eyes wide open.”
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With Rivera, a difference can already be seen. Since he signed on in January, the job has been anything but a smooth course. A name change and sexual harassment allegations have put Washington in the spotlight of the public eye for all the wrong reasons. While Rivera has stated he has no regrets joining the franchise, he's been asked to do a lot more than just help the team win a few more games.
Yet through it all, Rivera has helped try and solve any problem thrown his way. He was instrumental in the name change, and has vowed to fix the culture within the organization. He's not satisfied with just finding success on the field, as he wants the franchise as a whole to improve.
To Sheehan, that is exactly what the newest head coach in Washington needed to do, as it signifies a step toward consistency for the organization that runs deeper than just a record. In the end, that's what he believes Washington should be striving for.
"Every NFL team can win and have a good season. The league is designed for that," Sheehan said. "But the best organizations have a culture that leads to sustained competitiveness and I think he recognizes that.”
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