Regardless of how the Dallas leaders do on Thanksgiving, it will be time to replace Ron Rivera

Regardless of how the Dallas leaders do on Thanksgiving, it will be time to replace Ron Rivera

LANDOVER, Md. – Almost complete meltdown, Josh Harris has to put Ron Rivera out of his misery after the Washington leaders’ near-miss was bombed by the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving afternoon outside Dallas. Or after the leaders’ closer-than-expected loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving afternoon outside Dallas. Or after the Leaders’ upset win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving afternoon outside Dallas. It no longer matters what happens outside of Dallas.

Harris has Rivera to thank for trying to reset what was a broken culture under Jay Gruden, for keeping Washington competitive through COVID-19 and through some truly unfortunate injuries (not that every team doesn’t go through injuries), and for keeping Life – The on-field product was palatable through most of the end of the Dan Snyder era. He has him, and the front office, to thank for helping prepare the team’s financial books for a potential big free-agent spend next offseason, and for biting the bullet now to put down a deposit for the future with the Chase Young and Montez Sweat trades — which will give Washington a real chance to fortify the team. Quickly, with five picks among the top 100 teams in next year’s draft.

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Most importantly, Harris has Rivera to thank for taking Sam Howell in the fifth round of the 2022 draft and giving a beleaguered fan base some real hope for the first time in a generation that Washington has its quarterback of the future.

But this must end. It’s time for this franchise to move on.

Leaders midfielder Sam Howell scores as Micah McFadden (right) and Xavier McKennie (29) go close in the second quarter. (Jeff Burke/USA Today)

This is written without joy or anger on the radio. It’s mathematics. The Leaders are 4-7 after being swept in the regular season, once again, by the New York Giants, following Sunday’s 31-19 loss at FedEx. They have yet to play the Cowboys twice, the Miami Dolphins, and the San Francisco 49ers. There will be no late-season Riviera Run this year, meaning Washington will almost certainly finish a fourth straight season without a win under its head coach. Therefore, there is no logical reason to keep him on the sidelines for any longer than necessary.

Rivera is in his tenure here, and the same things that always happen when his team has a chance to take a step forward continue. More explosive plays allowed by one of the league’s worst defenses; More turnovers and sacks allowed by an offense that can never get the ball to its best players very often. Most damning: More inexplicable performances against substandard opponents. On Sunday, Howell threw three interceptions against a beaten New York defense, Logan Thomas and Chris Rodriguez killed off two more shots by fumbling, and Byron Pringle fumbled on the end of his return to start the second half.

On the other side of the field, Tommy DeVito, the Giants’ third-string quarterback, certainly took a beating, taking nine sacks. He also went 18 of 26 for 246 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and left town with a rating of 137.7.

The lack of hot water in the locker rooms in both Washington and New York was a ridiculously apt metaphor for how leaders go awry, and what changes need to be made.

“It goes back and forth,” Jonathan Allen said. “One game the offense is going to play well, the next game the defense is going to play well. Until we play together, this result is what’s going to keep happening. It sucks. You don’t really have much to say.”

Washington plays again in 96 hours. He will fly to Dallas on Wednesday. There’s not enough time to change training before the Türkiye Day celebration. So wait until the team returns from Texas, with a mini-bye week in the near future, and do what needs to be done. Because leaders have to start as early as possible to figure out where they are going to be next, and they have to be able to go after who they think best reflects the vision of ownership. And we must begin expanding the clutches of the league’s top assistant coaches as soon as possible.

You might want to make the change at the same moment, after Sunday, when the home team’s offense and special teams committed nearly as many turnovers (six) as its defense had quarterback sacks. (If there’s no more stats than that, man.) The final turnover came when Howell, who was trying to pull off a miracle, winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes, got pressure and tried to throw the ball out of bounds. However, he only got the ball as far as it reached the hands of Giants linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who intercepted it and returned the ball 54 yards down the sideline for the final score.

“The most disappointing part is I think we have a really good football team,” Howell said. “We have a lot of potential in that locker room. That’s the disappointing thing, is that we’re not getting the results that we feel we’re definitely capable of getting…and that’s definitely not where we thought we’d be. We know we’re a better team than we showed.” this year.”

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But that’s it. Leaders are not a good team. They have talent on both sides of the ball. But they don’t show up on Sundays, not enough.

Whether players aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, or coaches aren’t putting them in the best positions to succeed, the leaders have never come close to playing 60 minutes of complementary football regularly this season. Amazingly, this team lost twice to a Giants team that was quarterbacked by Tyrod Taylor and DeVito, respectively. It’s ironic that this team was beaten so hard around its home stadium by the struggling Chicago Bears.

Rivera insisted his team is ready to play on Sunday. On the fourth offensive snap, Howell threw a catch to Deami Brown in coverage that was picked off by cornerback Nick McCloud. Midway through the first quarter, Saquon Barkley beat Jamin Davis for a 24-yard touchdown. Yes, the defense managed to keep Barkley in check on the floor for most of the day. They also had second-half rushes of 36 and 31 yards. The Chiefs also gave up a 40-yard score from DeVito to a wide-open Darius Slayton on another blown coverage.

I then asked Rivera if someone needed to be benched as a result of a larger defensive lapse.

“There are things we have to look at, continue to discuss, and go from there,” Rivera said.

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Owners are generally reluctant to make in-season changes, mostly because they never work. (There’s also the issue of promoting an assistant coach from the current staff to the head coaching position, which almost always means a raise in the new head coach’s salary during the season.) But no one should expect any late-season continuation. It’s about finishing this season as quickly as possible and moving on to the next season. And – I mean this – I thank Rivera for the work he did here. It was difficult and necessary. But it’s time to turn the page.

An hour after the game, in the empty stadium, the public address system suddenly came alive, with the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” theme playing – I swear – as a message played over the music over and over again: 1st and 10 at 44… 1st and 10 at 44… 1st and 10 at 44… 1st and 10 at 44…

Metaphors of failure flowed through FedEx, but hot water did not.

(Top image: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(tags for translation) Washington leaders

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