Opinion: Ron Rivera Might Not Know What His Job Is

I like Ron Rivera, I really do, but this is a bad look. The Washington head coach actually admitted to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated that he didn’t know how good Sam Howell was until their last game of the regular season a year ago. This comment also comes after Rivera had to backtrack public statements he made about player concerns over OC Eric Bieniemy. It might be worth asking if Rivera really knows what his job as the head man in DC really is.

Had Howell come out of college his junior year, he would have likely gone in the top ten of the draft; no lower than the first round at least. After spending another year at North Carolina, losing a ton of the talent around him and having a coach seems to be avoiding putting together a competent defense, Howell dropped to the 5th round. If we took Howell and replaced him with Trevor Lawrence that season, the team would’ve likely struggled the same way.

Lawrence is a phenomenal talent at quarterback, but his teams at Clemson were loaded with other talent around him throughout his whole tenure. Once he hit the NFL and was saddled with a sad excuse for a head coach and chaos everywhere you looked around the team’s facility, he struggled. The Jaguars focused on putting talent around Lawrence, solidifying their defense (it’s not great, but it’s competent enough for what they need) and brought in Doug Pederson, an undeniably huge upgrade as head coach.

We all assumed Trevor Lawrence would be good because he was the number one overall pick; but he never had to struggle much in college which made his rookie season such a shocker. Howell did struggle his senior year, but he didn’t lose any of his own talent. His head coach should be a good enough talent evaluator to know what’s in front of him and be able to determine just how good it is. Rivera admitting that he didn’t know is flat out embarrassing.

Washington doesn’t need Howell to be a top five QB in the league. What that franchise needs, for now, is quality and stability. Oddly enough… they kind of need a Kirk Cousins type of QB. If Howell turns out to be more than that we can consider the franchise to have struck gold. However, the only way we’ll know if he’s better than that is if the coaching staff is capable of recognizing how good the QB is and maximizing his strengths and minimizing his deficiencies. Creating a game plan around the idea that your quarterback isn’t as capable limits what the team can do and causes more harm than good. So Rivera might want to reevaluate his focus on evaluation.

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