Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon's All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here's his review of episode one, "Sweet Carolina."
NFL teams often take on the personalities of their coaches. If that happens with the Redskins and Ron Rivera, the Burgundy and Gold will be better for it.
One of the main storylines in the debut of the Panthers-focused season of All Or Nothing — which is worth rewatching now because it'll provide tons of insight into Rivera and a host of other then-Carolina, now-Washington personnel — is Greg Olsen's importance to the offense.
Olsen's 2017 campaign (the one preceding All Or Nothing) was marred by foot trouble, but by the time Amazon's cameras descended upon Charlotte, he and the team were both very optimistic about his health and ability to contribute to what was a franchise with Super Bowl visions. He mattered to their success. A lot.
In the Panthers' Week 1 matchup with the Cowboys, however, Olsen re-aggravated his foot injury on the final play of the first quarter. During the pause in the game, the tight end pulled himself from the lineup, informed the medical staff he felt like he broke his foot yet again and was taken in for X-rays.
Soon after Olsen departed, Rivera was informed about the X-ray. Eventually, head trainer Ryan Vermillion pulled Rivera aside, telling him he didn't like the looks of what he saw and that the problem area was at the same site of Olsen's 2017 injury. Lastly, Rivera shares a moment with tight ends coach Pete Hoener, where Hoener lets Rivera know Olsen believed it was broken.
Think about the weight of these conversations. Here is someone Rivera, the offense and the organization were all counting on in a major way. So much of their plan for that year hinged on Olsen's availability. And after just 15 minutes of action, he was out of the picture for the foreseeable future.
You wouldn't know it from how Rivera reacted, though. The most emotion he showed throughout this part of the episode was one shake of the head. He didn't curse. He didn't throw his hands up. He didn't even sigh.
Rivera received this news — devastating news, and news that could affect the direction of the entire season he was just embarking on — quickly processed it and zeroed back in on the task at hand: beating the Cowboys.
Of course, Rivera's no doubt been hardened by decades in the NFL and has been in countless scenarios like this one before. But still, it was a remarkable display of calmness in the face of unforeseen adversity. He essentially acted like he had just been told his prescription was ready to be picked up at the pharmacy, not that one of his stars suffered a huge setback.
This level of leadership will surely benefit the Redskins moving forward. Pro football is full of complications and hitches; injuries, faulty replay reviews, fluky plays and other things can swing an entire team's mood on game days, not to mention all of the complications that happen outside of the stadium that can influence much more.
And all too often in the recent past, it felt like the Redskins had trouble recovering from those kinds of hardships. With Rivera now at the helm, hopefully they'll be mentally strong enough to move on. He'll set a solid example, one that they'd be wise to follow.
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