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Ron Rivera spent several hours with Joe Gibbs before accepting Redskins job

Ron Rivera spent several hours with Joe Gibbs before accepting Redskins job

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera certainly knows who to seek advice from.

Before Rivera accepted the head coach position, he spent several hours with the most successful head coach in the franchise's history, Joe Gibbs. 

"I took it upon myself to reach out to Coach [Joe] Gibbs, who was tremendous," Rivera told Larry Michael, the Voice of the Redskins. "He gave me at least 25-30 minutes on the phone, and we talked and we talked."

In his first tenure with the Redskins, Gibbs won three Super Bowls and turned Washington into one of the most respected franchises in the NFL during the 1980s and early 1990s. He returned to Washington as head coach in 2004 and led the Redskins to two playoff berths in his four years at the helm. He retired for good following the 2007 season. The Redskins have been to the playoffs just twice since then, with zero playoff wins.

Now, Rivera has the task that Gibbs once had: turning around one of the most losing franchises in recent memory.

As to what stood out to Rivera the most when speaking with Gibbs, the newly hired head coach said the organization's commitment to turning the franchise around.

"Probably the biggest thing, more than anything else, is Mr. Snyder wants to win," Rivera told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay. "He wants to win, he's going to do what he can to support you."

Rivera also mentioned that Snyder plans to cater to the head coach, and give him all the needs necessary to bring winning football back to the nation's capital.

"They talked about that coach-centric approach, that everything being that is being decided is really towards the coach, giving him the tools he needs to put a winning team on the field," Rivera said. "That was one of the things Joe told me that was very important. Making sure that everybody understands the decisions we make are to give the coach the tools he needs to win."

Rivera mentioned he spent 30-35 hours with Snyder prior to accepting the job, where the owner fully opened up about every aspect of the organization to Rivera.

After talking to Snyder, Rivera reached out to Gibbs once again, where the Super Bowl-winning head coach invited Rivera to his home.

"We spent a good afternoon going over a lot of stuff. Coach gave me so much insight, it was amazing," Rivera told Michael. "To be able to go into his home and spend time with him, that was cool...Probably one of the coolest things that happened was he started drawing plays up. We started talking about how he did it and how he looked at things."

Both Snyder and Gibbs were willing to pull out all the strings to get Rivera to become the next head coach of the Washington Redskins. And it worked.

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Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

There was little doubt, but Adrian Peterson is officially returning to the Washington Redskins in 2020.

Washington officially exercised Peterson's team option on his contract on Wednesday, keeping the 35-year-old under contract through next season.

"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," head coach Ron Rivera said in the team's statement. "Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."

The seven-time Pro Bowler has led Washington in rushing yards the last two seasons. A year ago, he was named a team captain for the Burgundy and Gold and led the team in rushing touchdowns and carries in addition to rushing yards. In 2018, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the team.

The future Hall of Famer has continued to climb in the record books during his time in Washington. Last season, he passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdowns list and eclipsed 14,000 yards on the ground. Entering 2020, he remains 1,054 yards away from passing Lions' legend Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in rushing yards.

Peterson's return to Washington was expected, especially considering the many question marks surrounding the rest of the position group.

If the Redskins had let Peterson become a free agent, Washington's top two running backs under contract would have been third-year pro Derrius Guice and sophomore Bryce Love, both who have a laundry list of injury concerns. The team's top pass-catching back, Chris Thompson, is a free agent.

"It’s a blessing to be back and I look forward to continue leading and inspiring those around me to be great and think outside the box!" Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "Not only am I appreciative to the organization for having faith in me but also love how the Redskins nation has embraced, showered me with love. I’ll continue to pour my heart and soul into winning a championship! The best is yet to come!"

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Redskins free agent targets: James Bradberry

Redskins free agent targets: James Bradberry

NBC Sports Washington is taking a long look at potential free agents that could help the Redskins in 2020. 

Carolina Panthers CB James Bradberry
2016 second-round pick by Carolina
Unrestricted free agent
6-foot-1 | 212 lbs. | 26 years old

Ron Rivera has brought a lot with him from Carolina to Washington. Most notably, the Redskins new coach has hired someone with ties to the Panthers to run, among other things, his new team's offense, training staff, player negotiations/salary cap dealings and a handful of positions on both sides of the ball.

It's safe to bet that trend will continue to some extent once free agency commences, with Greg Olsen visiting the Redskins before signing with the Seahawks Tuesday. Safety Tre Boston is slated to hit the open market as well.

If Rivera wants to get really aggressive, however, and poach who should be the top available Panther, he'll pursue cornerback James Bradberry.

Bradberry doesn't carry the same name recognition that Josh Norman did four offseasons ago, but don't overlook him. He's a legit cover guy in the NFL. 

The 26-year-old has started 47 of the last 48 games — the majority of which happened with Rivera on the sidelines — and is coming off a year where he notched three picks and defended 12 passes.

Bradberry will be one of the three premium available options at his position come March, thanks to his durability, age and steady improvement as a pro. And because of those factors, he's going to command a serious contract, likely somewhere north of $10 million per season.

Now, during Super Bowl week in Miami, Bradberry told the Redskins Talk podcast that his "dream scenario" would be to return to the Panthers and continue his career there. He did admit, though, he's enticed by the idea of re-joining Rivera, a person whom Bradberry described as a "great man and a great coach."

If Bradberry can't come to an agreement with the organization that drafted him, the Redskins should make a concerted effort to land him. Cornerback is a place of need for Rivera, Jack Del Rio and Co., and it's unlikely they'll be able to reinforce it with a high draft pick considering the team is without a second-rounder and is currently poised to take Chase Young second overall.

Therefore, free agency appears to be Washington's best path for addressing the outside of their secondary, and Bradberry very well could be the best choice on that path. 

Yes, the last time the Redskins went all-in on a defensive back from the Panthers who wore No. 24, it failed. That shouldn't dissuade them this time around. Bradberry will be expensive, sure, but he also could be very, very good for quite a while.

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