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

Nov 11, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown hosts (from left) Suzy Kolber, Steve Young, Randy Moss, Louis Riddick and Adam Schefter on the set before the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Lions to interview ESPN’s Riddick for GM post

Louis Riddick will interview to become general manager of the Detroit Lions on Friday, according to NFL Network.

Riddick, who calls “Monday Night Football” games for ESPN, is among the candidates the team will vet to replace Bob Quinn. Quinn spent five years as GM of the Lions and was fired along with head coach Matt Patricia.

Riddick, a former player and NFL scout, would be the latest booth-to-personnel boss in the league, following 49ers GM John Lynch and Raiders GM Mike Mayock.

The Lions didn’t fare well the last time the franchise plucked a former player from the broadcast booth to run the personnel department. Matt Millen held the role for seven years after a run at FOX Sports in the NFL broadcast booth. On Millen’s watch, the Lions produced an 0-16 season in 2008.

Already the Lions have turned back to the TV booth in their current search, naming former Lions linebacker Chris Spielman as a special assistant.

Team president Rod Wood said Tuesday that Spielman will be involved “in every interview” for the GM and coaching positions.

“That was why it was so critical to get him involved early because I wouldn’t want to bring him in after we’ve hired a general manager or after we’ve hired a coach and have them wonder what his role is,” Wood said. “That will be very clear to them while we’re interviewing the candidates, and he’s part of the process of hiring them, so he’s going to be invested in their success. And he’s going to be available to them as a resource however they choose to use him in the best possible way.”

Per multiple reports, the Lions also are set to speak with former Texans general manager Rick Smith about the opening.

–Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (98) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings GM senses turnaround coming

No offseason and another coaching staff change put the Minnesota Vikings behind the 8-ball.

That’s the estimation of general manager Rick Spielman, who said he senses Minnesota is close to turning around an 0-3 start into winning football.

“We’re improving each week,” Spielman said. “We have a lot of new faces, a lot of new starters on the defense. Coach (Mike Zimmer) and the players down in the locker room have a very strong belief that we’re going to get this turned around.”

The Vikings travel to Houston on Sunday. Minnesota’s defense-first approach hasn’t materialized quickly with injuries and opt outs impacting plans on the defensive line and a young cornerback crew wobbling without a pass rush. The Vikings are allowing 440 yards and 34 points per game, which is second-to-last in the NFL.

“It’s taken a little longer,” said Zimmer, who signed a three-year contract extension in July. “You anticipate that you can get everybody in line and understand everything that you’re trying to do with them pretty quickly, but with some of the young guys that we have this year, it’s taken a little bit of time.”

One of the team’s first-round picks, wide receiver Justin Jefferson, caught seven passes for 175 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. If he emerges to balance the offense opposite Adam Thielen, the Vikings could be ready to match points with teams they can’t keep off the scoreboard.

“He’s ready to play; he’s ready to play at a high level and be a full-time starter in this league,” Thielen said. “Obviously, with the game he had and the things he was able to do against some good corners that have had a lot of experience in this league shows that he’s ready to have his number called. He’s ready to be a big contributor in this offense, and that’s exciting for us as an offense moving forward.”

–Field Level Media