Rivera in Win Now Mode But.....
Washington Football Head Coach Ron Rivera has fully transitioned his focus from preserving and developing his young players to a win-now mindset. Winning now is perfectly fine and should be accepted by everyone in a competitive environment such as professional football. At the same time, context is essential, as well as situational awareness. Rivera's team has entered a free fall, losers of five-straight, and the most recent loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday.
A winnable game.
Furthermore, his offense is 31st in the NFL, and his defense, albeit sixth in yards per game, has given up quite a few explosive plays and are 18th in points allowed. Before the season, there was hardly any expectations of winning outside of the organization. However, as the season moves on, and knowing Ron's focus has shifted, Rivera should now be judged on winning.
There is no need to draw any conclusions on Rivera after one season, regardless of the outcome. He deserves at least three seasons to shape the team and culture the way he envisioned it. But the Dallas Cowboys are up next, who are in their free fall (like the rest of the NFC East), so Rivera's opportunities for taking control of the division is right now. Already 1-1 in the division, the next two games for Washington are against the Cowboys and Giants, respectively.
Never forget what Rivera said following his explanation behind benching quarterback Dwayne Haskins. "You look at where everybody else is in our division: 1-2-1, 1-3, 1-3 and 0-4, we haven't been as successful as I like to be in those four games, and I haven't seen the growth that I was looking for in those four games. So, to continue to do that with a chance to step up in the division, I think I'd be wrong to continue to try to do the same thing. If we come out of this having won three of the four, we're right in the middle of it. OK? Right now is the chance that I think is the time to take the shot to see."
Washington has not won a game since those comments and is 1-1 in a terrible NFC East.
While Rivera's optimistic "look-ahead" backs his point that the opportunity to win exist, to what degree can that mindset improve the team's offensive talent while also keeping opposing teams out of the endzone? Based on Rivera's comments and mindset, he is primarily accountable for the outcomes of the next two games because losing to New York and Dallas will become an indictment of so many things wrong with the team's decision-making to this point.
Jamual Forrest has been a freelance sports journalist for four years, covering the Washington Football Team and can be heard as a co-host on The Hog Sty Network's "The Hog Sty" podcast. Additionally, Jamual contributes to The Hog Sty Network and SB Nation's Hogs Haven. You can follow Jamual on Twitter at @LetMualTellit and see his Washington Football Team film breakdowns here