Ron Rivera is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Washington Commanders. In addition to his role as head coach, Rivera is also the General Manager of the Commanders in what is essentially a “coach-centric model”.
Last week, Washington added several new players in free agency and made its biggest move of the offseason by re-signing defensive tackle Daron Payne to a new four-year deal.
The Commanders also signed veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett is expected to compete/push/mentor with Sam Howell, who is entering his second NFL season. Brissett had a quality season for the Browns last season, until the return of Deshaun Watson forced him to the bench. He gives Washington a solid backup plan in case Howell doesn’t win the job outright. If Howell plays, struggles and is exposed, Brissett may even keep the Commanders in the playoff race.
It’s Brissett and Howell at quarterback for Washington in 2023. While the Commanders could add another in the NFL draft, it would not be a high pick. If Brissett starts a game for Washington next season, he will become the ninth quarterback to start at least one game for Rivera during his four seasons.
This type of instability prompted a CBS writer to label Rivera a “loser” midway through the first week of free agency, due to the Commanders lack of ability to find a franchise passer.
You might have swapped Commanders QB Sam Howell in place of Rivera here, given that Jacoby Brissett’s arrival via free agency could end Howell’s tenure as starting QB1 before Is. But the real loser has to be the man at the top, who — barring a blockbuster move for a QB in the draft — will enter his fourth season as Washington’s coach only extending marriages to veteran signal-callers. From Alex Smith to Ryan Fitzpatrick to Carson Wentz to Taylor Heinicke, Rivera has never fielded a consistent winner under center, and that trend seems destined to continue, even if the team wisely Added Chiefs tackle Andrew Wylie to better safety.
There will be a lot of pressure on Rivera to win in 2023. Or will Howl prove to be the answer?