After the Redskins' disastrous 3-13 campaign in 2019, the organization underwent major turnover. Washington hired Ron Rivera in an attempt to change the culture at Redskins Park, and the well-respected head coach formed almost an entirely new staff alongside him.
However, Rivera chose to keep a pair of coaches from the old regime, with special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor being one of them. It didn't take long for Kaczor to immediately believe in his new boss.
"When I met him for the first time I really, really respected him and I do not say those words lightly," Kaczor told the local media on Tuesday via Zoom. "I was very impressed and I am happy to be here."
Rivera's authentic personality and consistency were two things that specifically stood out to Kaczor, and were two of the biggest reasons he immediately got behind the head coach.
"To my point, he’s so consistent," Kaczor said. "What you see, I believe this is how everybody -- whether it’s the media working with Coach [Rivera], or his coaching staff, or his players, people in the building. When he is so consistent and the sincerity -- whether it’s something you want to hear or something you don’t want to hear -- when it’s authentic, and I’m going to throw out so many terms that get overused, he is such an authentic, real, sincere person with just a great background that covers a lot of different areas.
"When you meet him, you’re not surprised that he meets that consistency because that’s just the way he is. He’s just a rock."
Once the new staff was finalized, one of the first meetings they had together was to identify the core players on the roster.
Kaczor was blown away by Rivera's demeanor during that meeting. While the special teams coordinator explained it was clear who was in charge, he was impressed that Rivera let everyone on his staff voice their own opinion.
"When coach Rivera got here and I was asked to be a part of the new staff ... immediately we were in alignment," Kaczor said. "There was no question who was in charge and the chain of command. That being said, when we met as a building, more emphasis on the coaching and personnel department and this is being well documented by you in the media very well, the 'core of the roster' meeting that you have talked about ... we all got to talk."
Kaczor was able to explain the certain traits that he looks for in players during that meeting, and he believes that his opinion carried over into some of the decisions the team made on draft day.
"What we were looking for in that meeting obviously continued through the draft," he said. "You may say that you really like the fastest linebackers we can get. It may get to a point where, [fifth-round pick] Khaleke Hudson, wow this guy is fast. He is not a big, imposing linebacker in terms of positioning, but he is fast and explosive. Just using him as an example. The trades that we are after and looking for continued to come up after coach Rivera, with the rest of the building, set the core of what we are looking for."
The first few months of Rivera's tenure in Washington have not been the easiest to navigate by any means.
The pandemic has eliminated all in-person offseason activities, and the team had to conduct both free agency and the draft from the comfort of their own homes.
Doing so was difficult for every franchise, but more so a team like Washington, whose staff was really still all getting to know one another.
Despite the fact that all of Kaczor's contact with Rivera has been virtual for the past two months, he's been blown away by the leadership the new Redskins head coach has demonstrated this far.
"I’ve seen him lead already because we haven’t been through the most normal of times," Kaczor said. "Obviously when you go through the season, emotions and feelings get amplified but he’s an impressive person behind the scenes as he is out in front of the camera where you see him mostly. Very consistent, very authentic, very strong."
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