With the start of the 2022 NFL season just over two months away, all 32 teams are looking to make their mark across the league’s landscape.
Having already assembled the majority of their respective 90-man rosters, the process for teams’ determining which players will be chosen to represent each franchise for the upcoming season is about to begin; as training camps are set to open in late July.
Though the players on the field ultimately make or break the plays, they are most often put in the position to either succeed or fail by their head coach. Strategies, schemes and decisions can sometimes be the difference between victory and defeat. Unsurprisingly, teams with the right coach for the job are almost always the most successful.
In an effort to evaluate which of the NFL’s 32 teams are best positioned for coaching success, CBS Sports submitted their pre-season rankings for each of the league’s head coaches. Their assessment was divided into four tiers and each coach was ranked from worst to first based on how they would "draft" them for this season. CBS based their evaluation on the criteria of both trust, and positioning for success.
For the Washington Commanders, coach Ron Rivera ranked 19th on their list.
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CBS Sports’ Assessment on Rivera:
19. Ron Rivera (Commanders)
Season: 3rd with Commanders, 12th as HC
Career record: 90-82-1 (.523) | Playoffs: 3-5 (0-1 in Super Bowls)
Rivera's had a heck of a career, taking the Panthers to the playoffs four times in a five-year span, but those days are gone. Since 2015, when he advanced to the Super Bowl, he's eclipsed seven wins exactly one time. The consistency is there, both in his conduct and defensive prowess. But it's hard to expect much more than scrappiness from his teams anymore, unless his latest QB gamble, Carson Wentz, suddenly returns to MVP form.
Following his leading Washington to the playoffs in his first season on the bench with the team, Rivera faced an uphill battle in trying to equal their success in the 2021 season. Washington finished last season with a 7-9 record, falling to third place in the NFC East and missing the playoffs.
Though injury and personnel changes throughout its roster played a notable role in the team’s decline, Rivera’s coaching abilities should keep them in the discussion for the top spot in the division. As noted above, the addition of quarterback Carson Wentz has an equal possibility of ‘sink or swim.’ Still, Rivera is confident in the team’s returning nucleus being able to keep the team in contention for 2022. Shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 season, he referenced their four-game winning streak (Tampa Bay, Carolina, Seattle, Las Vegas) as evidence of what the team was capable of achieving. Still, he realized that their record is an accurate depiction of their performance.
“I am not satisfied with it (2021 season); I’m even disappointed, to be honest”, said Rivera during an appearance on the “Kevin Sheehan Show” on The Team 980. “We had some opportunities and the unfortunate circumstances derailed what we had built and put ourselves in place to try and accomplish. But there were some moments that I found to be positive, really truly positive.”
As the Washington Commanders begin a new era in 2022, Rivera will need to pull upon his experience, his prowess and his confidence to keep the team afloat in a stacked NFC East.