Ron Rivera is asked about coaching with your family

Ron Rivera talks about coaching with your family members.

On Friday, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera was asked about something that can be a very sticky issue.

Some were probably surprised to hear the question, but longtime ESPN Washington Insider John Keim has earned the right to inquire regarding some of the issues that can be difficult to discuss.

Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio both have family that are employees on the football staff. When family members are hired, “sometimes” events transpire bringing the charge of nepotism. As many are aware in their own workplace environments, nepotism can be quite disruptive to the morale in an organization.

Rivera’s nephew, Vincent Rivera enters his sixth NFL season and second as Washington’s defensive quality control/assistant linebackers coach in 2022. Del Rio’s son, Luke Del Rio is entering his third season coaching in the NFL, his third as Washington’s offensive quality control coach and his first as the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2022.

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Keim inquired, “You have a relative on the coaching staff. What are the benefits of coaching with family?”

“Yeah, there is. I mean, it’s that familiarity. It’s funny because if somebody’s gonna tell me something I need to hear, it’s him. He’s not gonna shy away from it. And I could say the same thing for a couple of coaches that have been with me for a long, long time. [Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Richard Rodgers, [Offensive Line Coach] John Matsko, they’re gonna tell me what I need to know and what I need to hear. They’re not gonna candycoat or sugarcoat anything. They’re just gonna tell me, ‘Hey, this, that, and the other thing.’ That’s just the way it needs to be and that’s the way it should be. All my coaches should be able to do that. But when you have a relative on it, yeah, he’s my nephew, and he’s a young guy that started from the bottom and is gonna work his way up, and hopefully he’ll get the opportunities that I’ve had.”

Keim followed up, “There are some teams that may have a rule against having somebody in your family on staff. Obviously, you don’t have a problem with it. What do you think about teams that don’t? And why do you like or favor that?”

“Well, it’s not necessarily that I like it; it’s just that there’s the opportunity. If I’d been told I couldn’t hire a relative, I wouldn’t have hired a relative. You know what I’m saying? But again, he’s starting at the bottom, and from that point, wherever he goes, he goes. I made it very clear cut that if anybody’s gonna have to do it the right way he is, just because of his last name. And I’ve been very clear with him and his parents. I told my brother, I said, just tell him don’t do anything that’s gonna make me fire him.”

I don’t think Keim was suggesting nepotism has been or is a current problem for the football staff. It being the third year, this has been the case; perhaps it was an appropriate and perceptive question for Keim to raise.

Rivera seemed to handle the question well, and even applied it directly to his own individual family situation.

Commanders new coach Ryan Kerrigan: ‘It’s about the players’

Ryan Kerrigan speaks to the media on the same day he becomes a full-time NFL coach.

Upon being named the new assistant defensive line coach, Ryan Kerrigan spoke with the media Monday.

Kerrigan, who recorded 95.5 career sacks — the most in Washington’s franchise history — opened by saying that having his competitive aspect fueled is good for him.

When asked about the defensive line being undisciplined and not maintaining rushing lanes, Kerrigan responded, “You don’t want guys to rush cautiously, but you do want them to be aware,” he answered. “You gotta be aware of where the quarterback is. That has to be at the forefront of your mind when you’re rushing because a defensive end can’t turn it at 12 yards and expect the quarterback to be sitting there. That will create a massive B-gap window, so that is something we’re definitely going to have to emphasize and work on so that we can get better pressure on quarterbacks.”

“They (current linemen) are all hard workers; they all do what they are asked to do. So I don’t anticipate having to do that (get on them). From my vantage point, having played with these guys a couple of years ago, it’s an awesome situation for me personally. I really want these guys to succeed. I’m just hopeful I can impact them in a positive way, help them find success, and then ultimately, our team finds success.”

“As long as you can be critical of the performance and not the person, I think that is the best way to go about it. You can say, ‘Here is where you need to be better’ as long as you are not being disrespectful to them.”

“It is interesting how your mindset shifts. Seeing the schedule from a different lens (coach rather than player) has been the biggest thing for me, and you kind of look at the game differently now as a coach.”

“I didn’t anticipate an opportunity would come so quick, being that it was in late July (Kerrigan retired). I’m really thankful Coach Rivera gave me this opportunity. I’m just hoping to prove him right.”

“The time I will be able to put in watching each guy will allow me to give them better feedback because as a player I was watching mostly myself. It’s all about them. It’s not about me anymore. When I initially met with Coach Rivera he said (in coaching) you’re serving the players.”

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Remember when Washington traded 2 3rd-round choices in 2001?

Remember when Washington traded multiple picks for Marty Schottenheimer?

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This 2022 offseason the Washington Commanders have traded two third-round draft choices (one most likely to become a second-round choice) to the Indianapolis Colts for quarterback Carson Wentz.

Another time Washington traded for a big name, also giving up two third-round choices was in 2001. That was so long ago, I was still in my late 20’s.

To launch the new year (2001), owner Daniel Snyder had a big announcement for January 3. Sure enough, Washington had traded two third-round choices to the Kansas City Chiefs. Whom did Washington get in return? 57-year-old new head coach, Marty Schottenheimer.

After leading the Cleveland Browns to consecutive AFC Championship game losses in the 1986 and ’87 seasons, Schottenheimer coached the Chiefs (1989-1998), leading the Chiefs to the AFC Playoffs 7 times and the AFC Championship Game once (1993). His last season as head coach of the Chiefs was 1998 when he resigned after going 7-9 (his only losing season in KC).

The next two NFL seasons found Schottenheimer at ESPN providing NFL commentary. When Washington owner Daniel Snyder came calling, to hire his new head coach, Kansas City was owed compensation, so Washington sent its 2001 and 2002 third-round picks to the Chiefs.

The Chiefs selected Marvin “Snoop” Minnis (77 overall) in 2001 and traded the pick which became Lamar Gordon (84 overall) in 2002 to the Cardinals. Minnis a receiver out of Florida State only experienced the NFL for two seasons, catching 34 passes and one touchdown. Gordon bounced around playing on four teams in five NFL seasons, starting only 15 games while rushing for three touchdowns.

Schottenheimer came in running a tight ship, a grueling training camp and several veterans were not pleased, Jeff George seemed to provide no team leadership, the team started 0-5 and Marty abruptly cut George.

Washington rebounded winning 8 of their final 11 games, finishing 8-8. What had started as a disaster ended well. Or did it? Snyder then determined he needed to hire a GM to handle personnel and limit Marty to coaching the football team. Marty and Snyder did not agree on this, and Marty was fired after only one season in Washington.

 

 

53 years ago today: Washington head coach Vince Lombardi

On this day, 53 years ago, Vince Lombardi made history.

It was 53 years ago today in Washington football history Vince Lombardi appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated March 3, 1969.

Lombardi appearing in coat and tie, the cover read, “Vince Lombardi Puts a Legend on the Line.”

Lombardi in Green Bay had turned things around instantly with a 7-5, 1959 team, the first winning Packers team since Curly Lambeau’s 1947 (6-5-1) team. All Lombardi accomplished in his nine seasons with Green Bay was a winning season each year, an 89-29-4 regular-season record, 3 NFL Championships, and the first two Super Bowl Championships.

Retiring on top, following 1967 season, Lombardi was an executive with the Packers in 1968 and miserable.

Hired by the Redskins in 1969, Lombardi at his first press conference proclaimed, “Gentlemen, it is not true that I can walk across the Potomac River—not even when it is frozen.”

Washington had been 5-9 in 1968, and had last enjoyed a winning season in 1955 (8-4), long before any of the Redskins Lombardi inherited. There were however three future Hall of Famers: Sonny Jurgensen, Charley Taylor and Chris Hanburger.

Sam Huff returned for the 1969 season, having come out of retirement to play one season under Lombardi. Lombardi promised in that first press conference, “We’re going to have a winner the first year!”

Indeed Lombardi was a winner, leading Washington to a 7-5-2 record in his only season in Washington. He was diagnosed with colon cancer June, 1970, and died September 3, 1970, only age 57.

A few more excerpts quoting Lombardi in the SI issue:

“I’m not a legend, because I don’t want to be a legend. One main reason I came back to coaching is that I didn’t want to be regarded as a legend…I’m too young to be a legend.”

“Now a good coach is a good coach. Right? If you take all 26 coaches in pro football and look at their football knowledge, you’d find almost no difference. So if the knowledge isn’t different, what’s different? The coach’s personality. See?” He paused, then laughed—arararararargh!—and said, “Now how am I supposed to explain my own personality? What am I supposed to say? That I’m a great leader? A mental powerhouse? That I’ve got charisma?”

“You cannot be successful in football—or in any organization—unless you have people who bend to your personality. They must bend or already be molded to your personality.”

“I believe a man should be on time—not a minute late, not 10 seconds late—but on time for things. I believe that a man who’s late for meetings or for the bus won’t run his pass routes right. He’ll be sloppy.”

“I just heard the other day about a kid I used to coach in high school. I heard he’s in trouble. I heard he’s drinking, doing a lot of heavy drinking… Lombardi rubbed the three-diamond setting in his huge Super Bowl ring and he said, “It’s corny and it’ll sound awful in writing, but you just feel bad when you know you couldn’t get through to a kid like that.”

 

Commanders TE Coach Juan Castillo meets the media

New Washington tight ends coach Juan Castillo met with the media this week, and we learned a lot about the veteran coach.

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Replacing a successful predecessor is not an easy task. Juan Castillo’s calling now is to replace former Washington TE coach Pete Hoener who retired last week at the age of 70.

Castillo met with the media via Zoom and as always, there were some interesting tidbits that were revealed.

Castillo began in the NFL with the Eagles in 1995 as a quality control coach. He studied under offensive coordinator Jon Gruden.

Next Castillo was promoted to TE Coach w/Eagles in 1997

Castillo moved back to offensive line w/Eagles from 1998-2010.

Castillo was with current Washington tight end Logan Thomas in Buffalo (2017-18) coaching the offensive line and as running game coordinator. He noticed Thomas’ hard work and talent when Thomas was transitioning to TE from QB.

Castillo has coached 27 years in the NFL —only one coaching tight ends.

Brian Mitchell and Castillo were together with the Eagles (2000-02).

Darrell Green and Castillo were college teammates at Texas A&I, now Texas A&M Kingsville.

Ron Rivera and Castillo met in 1999 coaching the Eagles.

Castillo is aware that he’s the only new coach this season and believes he is to earn the respect of his fellow coaches and players by working hard, not by vocally demanding their respect.

Spanish being his first language, he and Sammis Reyes met and conversed via Spanish.

Castillo has watched some tape and noticed TE John Bates really worked at his blocking.

Castillo has a son in Arlington, employed by the Department of Commerce, and another son who earned a full scholarship to law school at the University of Maryland.

Andy Reid, Ray Rhodes, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Matt Nagy and now Ron Rivera are NFL head coaches who hired Castillo to their coaching staffs.

Castillo has not coached TE specifically since 1997 with the Eagles.

 

Washington Football Team makes another significant hire

The Washington Football Team made another historic hire on Wednesday when the team announced it had hired Natalia Dorantes as the

The Washington Football Team made another historic hire on Wednesday when the team announced it had hired Natalia Dorantes as the coordinator of football programs.

Dorantes will report directly to head coach Ron Rivera and work with the coaching staff and the front office in a chief-of-staff role.

Dorantes originally connected with Rivera in February when she messaged him during the annual NFL’s annual women’s forum to introduce herself and thank him for his support of women in the NFL.

The 26-year-old worked with Texas A&M before coming to Washington as a director of recruiting. Rivera said he spoke with Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and NFL senior director Sam Rapaport before hiring Dorantes.

“This is kind of new ground for us because I’ve never had a ‘chief of staff,'” Rivera said, per Washington’s official website. “So I needed a person that’s gonna be able to interact with coaches, with coordinators and may have to say, quite honestly, ‘No, I don’t think Coach wants that,’ or ‘No, Coach doesn’t want that,’ you know what I mean?”

Before going to Texas A&M, Dorantes worked for the NFL.

Dorantes is the first Latina in NFL history to serve in this capacity. In her new role, she will handle several roles from scheduling practices to personnel meetings, among other things.

Redskins coach Ron Rivera discusses NFL Draft, Amari Cooper and QB competition

Rivera hopped on a video call with media members on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming draft, free agency moves, and much more.

Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera sat down on a video conference call with media members in Washington, discussing his time so far this offseason after joining the Redskins. During the call, Rivera discussed the challenges he’s faced so far due to the coronavirus pandemic, and how the team will best navigate the road ahead as they get ready for an unprecedented virtual NFL Draft.

Rivera also discussed the several free-agent signings that the Redskins made, including one they didn’t make, in Amari Cooper. For all of the best sound bites and quotes from Rivera’s press conference, follow along below.

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Former Redskins coach Greg Manusky lands college job as quality control assistant

Manusky has landed a small-time job in college after being fired as the defensive coordinator for the Redskins.

Many of the former Washington Redskins coaches have been forced to look for work in the past few months, as a new coaching staff followed Ron Rivera to the nation’s capital.

We’ve seen people like Jay Gruden, Kevin O’Connell, and Bill Callahan land safely with other NFL teams, but not everyone was able to find such a nice position after being fired by the Redskins. Former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has finally found work, but it’s no longer in the NFL, and no longer as a DC.

According to NBC Sports Washington, Manusky has agreed to become the next defensive quality control assistant at the University of Kentucky. This is a head-scratcher, as that position is usually held by a young coaching prospect who is looking to make his way up the coaching ladder, not a former NFL player and coordinator who has spent years in the big leagues.

There were certainly strong arguments to be made against Manusky finding another NFL job, as his defense ranked in the bottom five of the league when it came to points and yards allowed in 2019. The Redskins since overhauled their defensive staff and are looking for a better outcome in 2020.

As for Manusky, it looks like he will have to prove himself at the college level once again before he gets any serious looks from an NFL team.

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Redskins officially hire Jennifer King as offensive coaching intern

The Redskins have officially made Jennifer King the first full-time African-American female coach in the NFL.

The Washington Redskins have officially hired Jennifer King as a coaching intern, set to work with the offensive staff through the offseason and into the fall.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, King will specifically assist Randy Jordan, the RBs coach, and work with the likes of Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, and Bryce Love.

The Washington Redskins are making history in the NFL with the hiring of King. She worked as a coaching intern under Ron Rivera in 2017 with the Carolina Panthers and is now the first full-time African American female coach in the league and the fourth woman overall.

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Report: Redskins to hire first black female assistant coach in NFL history

King spent time with Ron Rivera as a coaching intern with the Panthers in 2017, and she could find a way onto the Redskins staff in 2020.

The Washington Redskins could be making history in the NFL, as a report has surfaced that they plan to hire Jennifer King to the coaching staff. King, who worked as a coaching intern under Ron Rivera in 2017 with the Carolina Panthers, would be the first full-time African American female coach in the league, and the fourth woman overall.

According to The Athletic‘s Rhiannon Walker, two sources have said that King will be joining the Redskins coaching staff this year after spending 2019 as an offensive assistant with Dartmouth College.

King’s first chance to coach at the NFL level came during the 2017 Pro Bowl, when Rivera, the Carolina Panthers coach, met her and brought her on as a coaching intern from rookie minicamp in May to preseason games in August.

Hines Ward, head of football development for in the Alliance of American Football, brought her to the Arizona Hotshots as the assistant wide receivers coach. She was the third female coach in the league and the only one on the offense.

It’s unclear what position King would coach in Washington, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see her assume the role of an offensive assistant under Scott Turner’s lead.

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