Ron Rivera Reflects on Four Years with Commanders: ‘I Believe We’ve Made Progress’

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There is just one week remaining of the 2023 NFL regular season and many coaches will soon face the music, as changes are coming to many teams. One head coach in a vulnerable spot is Washington Commanders’ Ron Rivera, who has a 26-39-1 record since joining the club in 2020.

His time in Washington has been far from perfect, his record proves just that, but there were some bright spots during his tenure. In his first season with the team, Rivera lead them to a division title. The other side of that coin is that the team was 7-9 and earning the NFC East crown was thanks to a very mediocre division.

When asked how he feels his time in Washington went, Rivera remained positive, saying he feels he has helped the Commanders become a better team.

“Well, I’d like to think we’re in a better place, probably a fair way to say it,” Rivera said, (via the team’s official transcript). “I most certainly do appreciate my time here, and we’ll see what happens.”

Their regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys is likely also his finale with the Commanders, but for now he is not focusing on the upcoming game, rather than his fate with the team.

“… again, we’ll focus in on what’s coming first on Sunday, and that’s getting ready for Dallas,” the head coach said.

The Commanders dealt with many off the field issues during Rivera’s time, including disgraced former owner Dan Snyder, who was fined $60 million by the league following an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct and financial improprieties.

While the on-field production may not have been there all the time, Rivera noted that changing the environment was one highlight during his four seasons.

“What we’ve done with the culture. I think that was one of the things that somebody asked me the same question, I said, the biggest thing more so than anything else I think is I kind of like where we are,” he said. “Obviously, it’s not where we want to be, but that’s just the nature of this game sometimes.”

The Commanders currently stand at 4-12, last in the NFC East and any playoff hopes were gone weeks ago. They are on a seven-game losing streak, with their last win coming in a close 20-17 battle against a struggling New England Patriots team on Nov. 5.

As underdogs against the 11-5 Cowboys, there is a good chance Rivera’s final season in D.C. ends with a loss to cap off an eight-game losing streak.

When asked how he would describe this season, he said “grinding” was a good word for it. 

“… because the way these guys have played the last few weeks, they’ve been very gritty, they’ve fought, they’ve played to the end,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things that’s gratifying as far as being a coach is concerned is having guys that just fight. They’re rugged, they don’t back down from anybody. And sure, obviously we had expectations, higher expectations than where we are, but heck, there’s not much more you can do than just keep showing up and playing hard.”

Rivera began his head coaching career with the Carolina Panthers, where he was for nine seasons, making it to the Super Bowl once. In his entire head coaching career, he has a record of 102-102-2 and is 3-5 in the postseason.

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