Grading new NFL head coach hires: Why Ron Rivera gets high marks



Russini: Ron Rivera hire smart but not sexy by Redskins (2:03)

Dianna Russini explains why hiring Ron Rivera to be the Redskins’ head coach is a smart move by Dan Snyder. (2:03)

Jan 1, 2020
  • Dan Graziano

    ESPN Staff Writer
    • Joined ESPN in 2011
    • New Jersey native and author of two published novels
  • Jeremy Fowler

    ESPN Staff Writer
    • ESPN staff writer
    • Previously a college football reporter for
    • University of Florida graduate

The Washington Redskins made the first hire of the 2020 NFL head-coaching carousel, bringing on Ron Rivera, who was let go by the Carolina Panthers in early December. Washington also moved on from longtime team president Bruce Allen.

That still leaves open three head-coaching jobs with the Panthers, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants, with potentially more on the way.

We asked ESPN national NFL writers Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler to discuss the Rivera hiring and give their grades on Washington’s move. Come back throughout the month to see their grades for the rest of the new hires.

Read more:

Coach firings, hirings and openings

Tannenbaum: Inside a coaching hunt

Washington Redskins hire Ron Rivera

Rivera’s background: Nine seasons as coach of the Panthers (76-63-1 from 2011 to 2019); six seasons as defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers (2008-10) and Chicago Bears (2004-06)

Graziano: I actually think this is a better hire than Washington deserves, and I hope he knows what he’s getting into. This has not been a place that puts coaches in the best possible position to succeed. And while the removal of team president Bruce Allen is encouraging, there’s still a lot of funky infrastructure with this team that involves the owner and the way he operates. Rivera is going to need a good personnel guy in the front office. Who can they get for that?

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