Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera stands on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Ron Rivera interviews with Rams for DC opening

The Los Angeles Rams interviewed former Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera for their recently vacated defensive coordinator position over the weekend, CBS Sports reported Monday.

The Rams are interviewing to replace Raheem Morris, who was named head coach of the Atlanta Falcons last week. The Rams have also interviewed or have interviews set up with Brandon Staley, Aden Durde and Dennard Wilson. Staley served as the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2020.

Rivera also reportedly interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles last week before they landed on Vic Fangio.

Rivera, 62, last served as a DC on Norv Turner’s staff with the then-San Diego Chargers from 2008-10. The 2010 squad finished first in the NFL in total defense and second in scoring defense.

Rivera is 102-103-2 as a head coach with the Commanders (2020-23) and Carolina Panthers (2011-19). He also has been a defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears (2004-06) and has experience in Philadelphia as Andy Reid’s linebackers coach for five seasons from 1999-2003.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera (L) shakes hands with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni (R) during warmup prior to their game at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Eagles interviewing Ron Rivera about DC opening

The Philadelphia Eagles are interviewing former Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera for their recently vacated defensive coordinator position, ESPN reported Monday.

The Eagles reportedly parted ways with defensive coordinator Sean Desai on Sunday.

Rivera, 62, last served as a DC on Norv Turner’s staff with the then-San Diego Chargers from 2008-10. The 2010 squad finished first in the NFL in total defense and second in scoring defense.

Rivera is 102-103-2 as a head coach with the Commanders (2020-23) and Carolina Panthers (2011-19). He also has been a defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears (2004-06) and has experience in Philadelphia as Andy Reid’s linebackers coach for five seasons from 1999-2003.

Desai, 40, was demoted by head coach Nick Sirianni after lopsided defeats to the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys in December, with Matt Patricia taking over the play-calling duties. The switch to Patricia didn’t help as the defense continued to struggle, particularly in the Eagles’ 32-9 wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 15.

Desai, who took over in February when Jonathan Gannon left to become the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach, oversaw a defensive unit that allowed 35 passing touchdowns (second in the NFL) and ranked 30th in red zone and third-down defense in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera wants to keep coaching

Former Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he wants to continue coaching in the NFL, even if it’s as an assistant coach.

Rivera, fired by new Commanders owner Josh Harris on Jan. 8, made the remarks in an interview with ESPN in his first public comments since his exit.

“I have several opportunities right now,” Rivera told ESPN. “I just want to make sure it’s the right one.”

Rivera, 62, went 26-40-1 in four seasons as head coach of the Commanders. Rivera is 102-103-2 in 13 seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers (2011-19) and Commanders.

“Sometimes you do have to take a step back,” Rivera said. “You take a step back, you learn and grow from it. It’s like I told other players, if you look at this year as a lost year, you’re (hurting) yourself.

“You should look at it as a year to learn and understand why things happen. This was probably the greatest learning experience I’ve had in a while this year.”

Rivera last served as defensive coordinator with the then-San Diego Chargers from 2008-10. He was also the DC in Chicago from 2004-06.

The Commanders are one step closer to finding a new head coach after naming Adam Peters general manager Monday.

Peters will join a coaching search committee guided by executives Bob Myers and Rick Spielman, both hired the day after the 2023 season ended, and limited partners Earvin “Magic” Johnson, David Blitzer and Mitch Rales.

All five have been involved in the interview process with coaching candidates, the Commanders said.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera stands on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders fire Ron Rivera after four seasons

The Washington Commanders fired head coach Ron Rivera on Monday and hired two prominent front-office executives — including a former NBA general manager — to lead the search process for a new coach.

Rivera is done after a 4-13 season and a four-year mark of 26-40-1, one playoff appearance, which came from winning the NFC East in 2020 with a 7-9 mark.

New Commanders owner Josh Harris waited until the day after Rivera’s 62nd birthday to make the move that was widely expected.

Further, Harris announced that he has hired former Golden State Warriors executive Bob Myers and former Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman to assist with the search process for a new coach and head of football operations.

Myers, who led the Warriors to four NBA titles, stepped down in June and will take the lead role in identifying and coordinating interviews with candidates, ESPN reported Monday. Myers has a longstanding relationship with Harris, who also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

“This is a crucial offseason for us, and we won’t shy away from the work needed to get back to a place where we can deliver a winning culture top to bottom,” Harris said in a statement shared with ESPN. “… I’ve known Bob a long time and watched him construct four championship teams and a highly successful organization in Golden State. … He is innovative, thoughtful, well-connected across sports and understands what it takes to solidify and sustain championship infrastructure. I think he’s going to be incredibly additive.”

Myers will also continue in his role as a studio and game analyst for ESPN.

ESPN reported that Commanders GM Martin Mayhew and executive VP of player personnel Marty Hurney will remain on staff through the process, with the new hires to determine their long-term futures.

Rivera is 102-103-2 in 13 seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers (2011-19) and Commanders.

Spielman was GM of the Vikings from 2012-21 and GM of the Dolphins in 2004. He has more than 30 years of front office experience.

–Field Level Media

Feb 23, 2023; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; Eric Bieniemy (M) poses with Washington Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew (L) and Commanders head coach Ron Rivera (R) after being introduced as the new Commanders offensive coordinator and assistant head coach during an introductory press conference at Commanders Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera on Eric Bieniemy comments: ‘I put my foot in my mouth’

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera apologized Wednesday morning for his comments on the approach of new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Rivera led off his opening statement to his press conference by noting that his comments a day earlier “took on a different life.” He also noted that he spoke directly to Bieniemy to clear the air.

“I basically told him I put my foot in my mouth,” Rivera said. “I think what I said wasn’t as clear as it needed to be. I think the understanding of it is just the fact that I think everybody’s making, in my opinion, a little bit more than needs to be made of this. Because again, the results are what you’re looking for on the field, and so far, the last couple days have been outstanding. I think Eric has done a great job of communicating his message now that guys have opened up, talked with him, he’s opened up to them. It’s been a great bit of growth the last couple of days that guys are starting to have the a-ha moments.”

The story took a different turn than Rivera intended on Tuesday when he said players were “a little concerned” about Bieniemy’s level of intensity in regard to his coaching style.

“As I’ve said many times since I’ve hired Eric, I love the overall message that he gave to the team his first day, and that was basically we’ve got to learn to be comfortable when we’re uncomfortable,” Rivera said. “And I think what’s happened is for those guys on that side of the ball, things are uncomfortable. There’s been a lot of change, and the entire way of doing things has changed on the offensive side. Change is hard, and I’ve always encouraged our players to have great dialogue and build relationships with our staff.”

Bieniemy, 53, spent five seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator and won two Super Bowls before coach Andy Reid allowed him to exit for a play-calling role with Rivera and the Commanders. Rivera and Reid are close friends.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2023; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (R) jokes with Commanders defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina (L) during warmup on day three of Commanders training camp at OrthoVirginia Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera: Commanders players ‘a little concerned’ by Eric Bieniemy’s intensity

A new level of intensity from the new commander over the Washington offense has players “a little concerned,” according to Commanders head coach Ron Rivera.

Rather than discuss their questions with Bieniemy, a vocal and fiery leader hired away from the Kansas City Chiefs, players have taken their issues to Rivera early in training camp.

His advice?

“I said, ‘Hey, just go talk to him,’” Rivera recounted Tuesday. “‘Understand what he’s trying to get across to you.’”

Rivera said he doesn’t expect Bieniemy to tone down the level of intensity because he had success with his coaching style with championship results with the Chiefs.

“It’s not going to change because he believes in it,” Rivera said. “(Defensive coordinator) Jack (Del Rio) has his approach. Having been a head coach, I think Jack has a tendency to try to figure guys out a little bit more as opposed to, ‘Hey, this is it, this is the way it’s going to be.’ That type of stuff. Eric hasn’t had that experience yet.”

Bieniemy was a candidate for multiple head coaching positions in recent years but didn’t land of the NFL’s top 32 jobs.

Rivera said the other side of the equation with coach-player relationships is “young guys, they do struggle with certain things and a lot of it — is from where they’ve been.”

NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes described Bieniemy as “always on” and said he “sets the standard at the highest level” for players.

That doesn’t mean they were always in lockstep. Entering the halftime locker room of an eventual loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season, Mahomes and Bieniemy had an on-field shouting match that both dismissed as frustration.

Bieniemy spent five seasons with the Chiefs before coach Andy Reid allowed him to exit for a play-calling role with Rivera and the Commanders. Rivera and Reid are close friends.

“This is his now,” Reid said of why it made sense for Bieniemy to go to Washington. “He’s working for Ron Rivera, who’s a dear friend, and more of a defensive head coach than offensive head coach, so this allows EB to do his thing, and I’m happy for him.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 8, 2023; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera (L) talks with Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (R) on day three of minicamp at OrthoVirginia Training Center at Commanders Park, held inside the training bubble due to poor air quality from Canadian wildfire smoke in Ashburn. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders call off final day of OTAs

The Washington Commanders called off their final day of organized team activities (OTAs) scheduled for Tuesday, with head coach Ron Rivera and his coordinators happy with how the spring went for their club.

The Commanders instead will have meetings and a light workout Tuesday to conclude their offseason program. The team held a minicamp last week.

Washington will reconvene for training camp next month, when Sam Howell will make his bid to be the 2023 starting quarterback. Veteran Jacoby Brissett remains in the mix for QB1.

The Commanders finished last in the NFC East last season with an 8-8-1 record. They haven’t had a winning record since 2016 but did make the playoffs in 2020 with a 7-9 mark.

Jack Del Rio is the defensive coordinator and Eric Bieniemy is entering his first season as offensive coordinator.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) passes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera: Sam Howell is Commanders QB1 entering offseason

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Sam Howell — who has thrown 19 passes in the NFL — will enter the offseason as the team’s first-string quarterback.

Further, Rivera said the Commanders are not interested in signing — or trading for — one of the veteran quarterbacks expected to be available this offseason.

Rivera made the comments during three separate interviews Wednesday after being named the recipient of the 2022 Salute to Service Award.

“The biggest thing we decided is he will start out as QB1,” Rivera told PFT Live. “He will most certainly get the first opportunity. We go into OTAs and minicamp, he’ll be QB1. He’ll fight for that position. We’ll give him every opportunity to earn it, and we’ll see what happens when we get into training camp and through it.”

As for pursuing Derek Carr via trade or signing free agent Jimmy Garoppolo?

“No,” Rivera said. “I think the biggest thing is we have to find a guy to come in that’s going to compete, but in terms of finding a guy you’re going to have to spend a lot of capital on, no.”

A fifth-round draft pick in 2022, Howell started the final game of his rookie season and completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 26-6 win against the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys.

“It’s his opportunity,” Rivera told reporters in a separate interview, where he said Howell is “more than likely” going to be QB1.

“This is a challenge to him. If he comes out and does the things that he’s capable of — we believe he’s capable of — he can most certainly be our guy. But we’ll find out,” Rivera added. “Again, that’s what competition’s going to do. It’s going to bring the best out in all our guys.”

The Commanders, who alternated quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke for the first 16 games, let go of offensive coordinator Scott Turner after finishing the season at 8-8-1.

The Commanders are still interviewing candidates to replace Turner.

Howell, 22, was inactive for nine games and did not play in the other seven games in which he was active in 2022.

The Commanders are expected to release Wentz before the league year begins in March. They acquired him from the Indianapolis Colts in an offseason trade and he finished 2-5 as the starter with 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

Heinicke took over when Wentz got hurt and compiled a 5-3-1 record, completing 62.2 percent of his passes for a team-high 1,859 yards with 12 TDs and six picks.

If Howell is tabbed the Week 1 starter, he would make the Commanders’ seventh different starter in seven years.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (left) talks with offensive coordinator Scott Turner (right) before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders fire offensive coordinator Scott Turner

The Washington Commanders fired Scott Turner on Tuesday after three seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Turner, 40, reunited with head coach Ron Rivera in Washington in 2020 after the former spent two seasons as the Carolina Panthers’ quarterbacks coach.

While with the Commanders, Turner dealt with eight different starting quarterbacks under center.

“I met with Coach Turner today and informed him that we will be moving in another direction going forward with the offensive coordinator position,” Rivera said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we did not live up to the expectations and standard that I expected to see from our offensive unit. I felt it was best for a fresh start at the coordinator position heading into next year.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Scott and thanked him for his three years of service to our organization. I wish Scott and his family all the best in the future.”

Washington (8-8-1) posted a 1-3-1 record over its final five games of the season to fall out of playoff contention. The Commanders ranked 24th in the NFL in average points per game (18.9), 21st in passing yards (204.2) and 20th in total yards (330.3).

Washington finished 29th in the league in 2020 and 21st in 2021 in terms of total offense.

Turner is the son of former Washington coach Norv Turner.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera greets quarterback Carson Wentz (11) before the game between the Washington Commanders and the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera blows up at Carson Wentz question after win

Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera delivered a profanity-laced answer to a question implying that it was owner Dan Snyder – not Rivera – who orchestrated the trade for Carson Wentz in the offseason.

The comments came after Washington’s 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. Wentz threw for 99 yards without a touchdown or interception in the low-scoring win over the Bears.

An ESPN investigative report earlier in the day that centered on Snyder said the owner wanted Wentz as a way to mask the issues within his organization.

Rivera’s blow-up also came at the end of a week in which he felt compelled to apologize to Wentz about his own comment about why the Commanders were 1-4.

“Everyone keeps on saying I wanted nothing to do with Carson,” Rivera said Thursday, denying it with a profanity. “I’m the (expletive deleted) guy that pulled out the sheets of paper and looked at the analytics and watched the tape in freaking Indianapolis, OK? And that’s what pisses me off. The young man doesn’t deserve to have that all the time.”

A source told ESPN that the trade for Wentz was “100 percent a Dan move,” which also would be problematic given that Snyder made an agreement with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hand over operational control of the team to his wife, Tanya.

Rivera has said all along that he brought the idea of the trade to ownership.

Earlier this week, Rivera apologized to Wentz after suggesting the quarterback was the reason the team wasn’t leading the NFC East this season.

“I actually talked to Carson this morning,” Rivera said Tuesday. “In fact, I talked to the whole team. I had a mea culpa moment and that I should know better. I created a little bit of a distraction, and that’s one thing that I try not to do, and it’s one thing that I’m very aware of.”

–Field Level Media