RICHMOND- The Redskins recently signed TE Marcus Baugh. Um…..ok what does that mean?
It is worth noting that Baugh was recently a member of the Carolina Panthers.
Wait, wasn’t new head coach Ron Rivera the same guy who coached as the head man in Carolina? The same guy who took the Panthers to Super Bowl 50?
Yes indeed. In fact, Rivera has brought a lot of his former staff and a few of his current players, including Baugh and linebacker Jared Norris to Washington.
Offensive line coach John Matsko and former wide receivers coach Jim Hostler have both been in the same positions they held in Carolina.
The same goes for Carolina’s long-time athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion, assistant special teams coach and former backup linebacker Ben Jacobs, and linebackers coach Steve Russ.
This isn’t the first time that connections have played a big role in being hired or signed in the NFL. However, when players get involved in the mix, especially if they turn out to be big names, it comes back to one hire above all.
If you are an Eagles fan, you had best look away because yes, I am talking about the era of Chip Kelly.
How can I compare those two considering the issues that Kelly had with him in both San Francisco and in Philadelphia and how Rivera has had nothing?
Please understand that Rivera is far greater than Kelly can ever hope to be. His resume and his character say it all. But Kelly’s moves have provided warnings to all NFL teams and their general managers as how to not run a team.
Hiring the people you know can be beneficial for communication and relationship purposes, but sometimes hearing what you want to hear versus what you need to hear plays a key role in success.
In the case of Chip Kelly, all you need to look at is how his tenure was in Philadelphia which told you that the 49ers job was a total mess. Not the case in Rivera.
But hold on a second, Chip Kelly was the coach at Oregon and actually was successful there, even leading the team to the National Championship before falling to Auburn in the waning seconds.
Since that time, Kelly was never the same despite other success at Oregon The list of mistakes that he committed in Philadelphia is large and the results from it resemble a water bottle that has been left in the desert.
Letting go of Desean Jackson, who ironically signed with the Redskins. Jeremy Maclin ended up in Kansas City and was used well there. Above all however……was RB LeSean McCoy.
McCoy, a current Super Bowl Champion, was shipped from Philadelphia to Buffalo for LB Kiko Alonso, who in some ways pairs up with Vontaze Burfict as a “dirty player”.
The Eagles’ acquisition of Alonso from the Bills gave them nine Oregon alums on its roster. That was the most from one school on any current NFL roster at the time.
What stung most was that he kept Riley Cooper, who later proceeded to utter a racial slur at a security worker during a concert. Kelly released three stars but kept Cooper?
That did no favors whatsoever and ever since then, the drop was larger than the Intimidator Roller Coaster at Kings Dominion.
Would Rivera ever let go of his star players for practically nothing in return? Not a chance.
In fact, it doesn’t look like he is going down that road. Instead, he’s preaching a better culture with his team and better fundamentals which are what a good coach does.
Players respect a coach who cares about his team but also about winning. Rivera checks both those boxes and success might not be far away
However, his staff hirings might bring up the past of how bad things could go. With Daniel Synder as your owner, bad has been the case….but there is hope that a new leaf will be overturned.
Bruce Allen is gone, the cap space is there and free agency is available. Go ahead and sign some former players if you want. But you have to understand that fresh blood is vital to the team.
The right mix of relaitonships and talents can produce a champion and Rivera wants to win that. He has one as a player, but he lost as a head coach. Winning as a head coach would be remarkable.
Advice to give Rivera. Don’t trade all your stars and get nothing in return. It failed last time and as we all know, history can repeat itself.
All the best to Coach Rivera and the Washington Redskins for the 2020 NFL Season.