With a simple, one-paragraph statement, Redskins fans' decade-long nightmare was over.
Rome was not built in a day and Ashburn will not be rebuilt in one, but this was a first step that means an attempt is legitimately underway. The Redskins have tried half-steps before, like bringing in people around Allen like Scot McCloughan and Brian Lafemina, but those attempts have resulted in high-profile firings and Allen getting more power.
Rivera and Allen are polar opposites. Those that know him describe Rivera as warm, empathetic and caring to a fault. His office in Carolina sat right outside the locker room. He set high standards and held players to them, but he did it through showing how much he cared.
Friendliness with the media does not inherently mean someone is a good or bad person, nor does it mean a football coach or executive is good or bad at their job. However, interacting honestly and often with the media is part of the job and it speaks to someone's belief in transparency in a profession that is reliant on fan support.
If I sit down with Rivera tomorrow (or Thursday or whenever he is introduced), I will have sat down with him as many times as I did Allen. I’ve covered the Redskins since 2015.
Sitting down with Allen was no treat. He ducked and dodged questions in interviews of all forms, deflecting blame to anyone but himself.
Rivera is relentlessly positive and even self-deprecating. He left his final press conference in Carolina by holding up a “missed opportunities” T-shirt.
The first part of that quote is telling coming from a veteran player who has seen a lot in the NFL and showed enough immediate leadership to be named a captain in August. It is why Snyder believes Rivera is the right coach at the right time.
Defensively, Rivera brings a flexible identity that he will try and match to the talented personnel that so desperately underachieved in 2019. The Redskins have drafted flexible talent over the last few years that can work in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Rivera has run both, though the prevailing thought is a switch to a 4-3 front is on the way.
Those details are for later. The Redskins won’t play another football game for nine months. For now, Step 1 has been taken. Bruce Allen is gone. Step 2 is quite literally on the way.
What’s next is anyone’s guess, but the road to a rebuild can only be taken one step at a time.