Redskins

Redskins

Ron Rivera sent his first real message to Redskins players on Thursday, and while it came through diplomacy and civil behavior, it was loud and clear. 

Trent Williams wants out? Then Trent Williams can get out. 

Last season when the news emerged that Williams wanted a new deal and was unhappy with the Redskins medical team, Washington allowed the bad situation to linger, fester, and eventually rot. Williams did not play a single snap in 2019 and the Redskins lost valuable trade capital in the process.

This season, with Rivera at the helm and Bruce Allen likely playing golf somewhere, the situation has unfolded quite differently. 

Nearly as soon as he took over the Redskins top job, Rivera openly talked about wanting to speak with Williams. Soon after, the two men met, and word was the conversation went well. Still, the damage was done, and Williams wanted a new deal. 

Fine. 

Want a new deal? Go find one. That's what Rivera and the Redskins told Williams and his representatives, and now they can pursue the best offers the market will bare. 

It's an open and transparent strategy. It's trying to do what's best for the player and the organization at the same time. It's refreshing because it's not how things had been run at Redskins Park for the last 10 years. 

It also sends a major message. 

Rivera won't keep players around that don't want to be a part of the Redskins. His Redskins. And he's made that clear.

 

In an NFL.com story from December, Rivera recounted a story about early in his time as Panthers head coach. Some players weren't buying into his vision, and the coach would not tolerate it. 

"I said, 'Let me tell you guys something, just so you f------ guys understand this. If you do things the way we ask, the way you're coached, the way it's planned, and it works, you guys will get all the kudos. If it fails it's on me, cause that's what I'm telling you. But if you go out and do your own damn thing and we f------ lose it is on you, and I will never fall on the sword for you again. That's f------ bulls----. Sit there and say that what we did last year worked? So 2-14 was f----- good enough for you guys? F--- you.' And I threw the paper down and walked out.

"I was very blunt about it. And that's it. 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. And that's what happened; we systematically got rid of guys that weren't doing it our way."

All in. It's a simple ask, but it's complicated too. 

Williams played in Washington for nine seasons and saw much more losing football than good. What's worse, he saw a bad football culture grow, linger and fester. It's understandable why he wanted out, even beyond a new contract and more guaranteed cash.

It also makes sense why Rivera gave Williams the chance to find his fresh start. Rivera wants guys that are all in, and because of the complicated and bizarre history with Williams and the Redskins, that wasn't just going to happen. 

For this round, for his start in Washington, Rivera chose diplomacy over bluntness, but the message remains the same.

Get all in, or get out. 

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