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Can Bye Week Resurrect Washington's Season?

Do Rivera’s teams do better in the back half of the season, and will this Washington Football Team follow the path of 2020?

The Washington Football Team is going to come out of its Week 9 bye looking to turn around a disappointing start to the 2021 season. 

At 2-6 going into the bye week, nobody is happy. Not in the organization, and certainly not the team's fan base. 

On Monday, head coach Ron Rivera was asked about his squads being able to perform better in the second half of seasons. 

"I'd like to believe that as we progress through the year ... a lot of things seem to come together," Rivera responded. "I kind of feel with last year things kind of came to go at the right time for us. I like to believe we are on the same path."

Halfway through 2020, Washington held the same 2-6 record after losing 23-20 to the New York Giants in Week 9.

A 5-3 finish didn't knock anyone's socks off, but a four-game winning streak including a win over the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers certainly drew some attention. The 7-9 finish was enough to win the NFC East, and earned the team's first playoff appearance since the 2015 NFL Season. 

While Washington's roster performed better in the second half of the 2020 NFL season, recent history doesn't actually support the claim Rivera's team will do any better in the next nine games than it did in the first eight. 

Looking at the previous five seasons, Rivera’s teams are a combined 21-19 in the first half, and 15-22 in the second.

The 2019 Carolina Panthers finished the season on an eight game losing streak after starting 5-3, but Rivera was fired after the first four in that streak.

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Of course, Rivera has been a head coach longer than the previous five seasons. Recent history, however, arguably carries more weight as the game continues to evolve within the league as a whole. 

Coaching approaches have come into question this season, with several wondering whether or not Rivera's coordinators Scott Turner and Jack Del Rio are fully tuned in to what their squads are capable of, and how to best attack opponents on a weekly basis. 

The scheme usage of safety/linebacker Landon Collins is one prime example. Many in and around the media landscape presented the idea Collins may be suited best for a linebacker role in the defense with the player himself and Del Rio dismissing the idea. 

At one point Del Rio even mocked the idea of 'social media experts' when asked about outside opinions. 

Two weeks into Rivera seemingly forcing the move, Collins is playing better than he has in the past two seasons. 

Not to suggest the social media masses or media members are more knowledgeable of NFL defenses or offenses than the two coordinators, but the idea one or both might not be on the pulse of what's happening isn't without merit. 

Regardless of opinion, and recent history versus career marks, the Washington Football Team has gone from being viewed as a legitimate playoff contender, to one some are discussing NFL Draft strategies for. And we still have half the season remaining, with an extra game thrown in for good measure. 

If things don't 'come together' as Rivera mentioned happening in the past, the questions surrounding draft strategies are going to be coupled with coaching futures, a lot more than anyone inside the building will be comfortable with.