Rivera – ‘It’s not going to happen overnight’

RickSnider

The Redskins are taking the slow and steady road to rebuilding, which is nice until the owner tires of it and blows the bridge. Still, coach Ron Rivera seems in no hurry to quickly revamp with cheap wins and 6-10 seasons.

“Well, I think the truth of the matter is there is no time frame, there really isn’t” he said via teleconference on Tuesday. “But, I do know that it’s got to happen soon, I can tell you that much. I understand. I get that part of it. But it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Indeed, the offseason roster changes so far are underwhelming aside adding cornerback Kendall Fuller and safety Sean Davis. The coming draft looks more like “Chase Young and the Afterthoughts.” It’s not the big move fans expected after a 3-13 season. Indeed, one sports linesmaker projects the Redskins will only be favored twice this fall.

Still, Rivera is not flinching. His first move is getting everyone moving together, including fans. Patience from a country already on lockdown will be needed this fall, too.

“What we need is we need everybody to come in and understand what the vision is,” he said, “and they’ve got to buy in to what the vision is going to be. Once they’ve done that, it gives us an opportunity to be successful. We also need to have the fans get behind us. It’s one of the things that I was very fortunate to happen for us when we were in Carolina. Our first two years we showed promise. We gave fans a reason to come out and cheer for us. And then by our third season things turned around and really were headed in the right direction.”

But what direction is that – a bunch of no names that hopefully play better as a group than individually? It’s why Rivera signed a 37-year-old linebacker who can lead the system. Why he re-signed a middle linebacker that can rally teammates. It’s a movement more than talent until the team can truly find better players in coming years.

“What we were looking to do was fill needs,” Rivera said. “You look at the things and the guys that we have, and I can show you simple examples: Bringing in a guy like Thomas Davis. I felt like there was a need for a guy that understands the culture that I wanted to develop up here. Thomas fit that, but Thomas is also very productive. I know him personally because he was on my football team in Carolina for eight seasons. . . . I thought he’d come in and help out with a little bit of that veteran leadership on the defensive side. They are a very young group of guys. But more so, more importantly for me is a guy that can help share my ideas, what my belief in culture is, and I think that can help get the message across.

“We felt Jon Bostic was a guy we wanted to bring him back because he’s a guy that helped lead the defense. He was the MIKE linebacker for these guys for the most part. I believe he has the kind of tools to help lead that group. He’s a very popular player amongst his teammates, so there’s a guy that’s going to add some continued leadership.”

Rivera also signed several free agents to one-year deals that are basically show-me situations. He didn’t want fat-cat veterans who would stunt the team’s hunger like so many overpriced players earlier in owner Dan Snyder’s tenure.

“A lot of these guys want to come in and say, ‘Hey give me an opportunity to compete, let me prove myself,” Rivera said. “I love that guys are betting on themselves, that they’re going to come in and prove that they belong, that they deserve an extensive contract.”

But it’s still going to be a frustrating fall when the offense still doesn’t know who is its left tackle, has a potential starting quarterback competition and lacks a dominant tight end or second receiver.

If Washington falls short regularly in low-scoring games, fans’ patience will be strained. It may be 2021 before Rivera really makes a move to improve the roster. For now, it’s looking like another so-so-season.

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Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Redskins in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide. Follow Rick on Twitter at @Snide_Remarks.

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