Ron Rivera is a football coach who embodies the “Old School” mentality.
He gained experience as a player for the famous “85 Bears” team, coached by the legendary Mike Ditka, alongside greats like Walter Payton, Ricard Dent, and Mike Singletary.
After almost two decades in coaching, Rivera secured his first head coaching position with the Carolina Panthers in 2011.
Leading the franchise to a Super Bowl appearance five years later, he understands the importance of hard work and attention to detail when it comes to transforming a team’s identity.
Currently, Rivera is in his third year as the head coach of the Washington Commanders, a team that has struggled to make the playoffs in recent years.
Recognizing the high demand for offensive-minded head coaches in the league, the Commanders recently hired Eric Bieniemy as their new offensive coordinator, luring him away from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Although Bieniemy was mentored by Andy Reid, known as one of the greatest offensive minds in NFL history, he was not offered a head coaching position by other teams.
Washington provides him with a fresh start and full control over the offense.
However, reports suggest that Bieniemy’s “Old School” communication style has caused tension among the players, prompting some to express their concerns to Coach Rivera.
“I had a number of guys come to me and I said, ‘Hey, just go talk to him.’ I said, ‘Understand what he’s trying to get across to you.’ I think as they go and they talk and they listen to him, it’s been enlightening for a lot of these guys,” Rivera said. “I mean, it’s a whole different approach. Again, you’re getting a different kind of player from the players back in the past, especially in light of how things are coming out of college football. So a lot of these young guys, they do struggle with certain things.”
Rivera encourages the players to understand Bieniemy’s message and approach.
While some of Bieniemy’s former players defend him, others, like LeSean McCoy, criticize his coaching style as being out of touch.
Both Rivera and Bieniemy, as Latino and Black coaches respectively, hold unique positions in a league where opportunities like these are not often afforded.
With the league leaning towards innovative offensive-minded coaches who can develop schemes for young quarterbacks, Rivera and Bieniemy must improve the Commanders’ performance soon to secure their positions.
Last year, Rivera led the team to an 8-8-1 record, showing improvement but still finishing last in the NFC East behind three playoff teams.
The addition of Bieniemy is hoped to bring new offensive schemes and firepower to the Commanders.
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