The 2023 season is a very important one for the Washington Commanders. They are under new ownership with Josh Harris, a lot could change within the organization in the coming months as he looks to distance himself from the Daniel Snyder era.
People will be playing and coaching for their jobs, including head coach Ron Rivera. While Harris has been happy with what he has seen from Rivera in their first few months working together, he needs to start seeing some results on the field.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know coach Rivera,” Harris said on Wednesday, via ESPN’s John Keim. “He’s a good man; he’s done a great job in terms of where the team is relative to where it was when he got here and relative to a lot of the distractions going on.
“He has a very capable front office. We’re getting up to speed; we want to hear how you want to learn, how you make decisions. It’s going really well. … Ultimately we have to deliver wins on the field. You don’t need to say anything. It’s just out there. So far, so good.”
Delivering on the field is something that Rivera has not been able to do consistently with the Commanders. Heading into Year 4 with the franchise, he has yet to oversee a winning campaign.
The 2022 season was the closest the team has gotten, as the Commanders went 8-8-1. Prior to that, the team had back-to-back seven-win seasons, losing nine times in 2020 and 10 times in 2021.
A big reason for their struggles and inconsistencies has been the quarterback position. The player the Commanders entered Week 1 with as their starter has been different in every season with Rivera at the helm and that streak will continue in 2023.
Sam Howell, a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is set to take over as the starter. In 2022 it was Carson Wentz in the lineup in Week 1 before injuries pushed Taylor Heinicke into the lineup. The year before Heinicke was the main starter once again, but only after Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured in the season opener.
Not only does Rivera have a new quarterback under center again, but he is also working with a new offensive coordinator. Eric Bieniemy came over from the Kansas City Chiefs, looking to prove himself as a viable head coaching candidate. He is looking to prove he can get the job done without Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes involved.
A lot of pressure will be on the duo of Bieniemy and Rivera this season. If the Commanders fail to put together a winning season in 2023, they could be on the lookout for a new head coach during the offseason.
The onus will fall on Rivera and his staff to get the job done, as Harris had no input on the 53-man roster, leaving that up to the football professionals in place. He left it up to them who they wanted on the team and it will be their responsibility to get the most out of their handpicked roster.