The Redskins have long been in the running for the most embarrassing, putrid, and poorly-run franchise in sports. While that reputation will take years, maybe decades, to change from a football perspective, the team is now seemingly on the right track. The Redskins have started their offseason by hiring Ron Rivera as the head coach, and are looking to add Jack Del Rio with him on the coaching staff. In addition, Rivera's new squad is set to draft second overall in 2020.
Drafting second this year doesn't come with much suspense. Barring a monumental shock, it will be Ohio State's Chase Young. Even as a rookie, it's expected Young will instantly wreck offensives. Young will not be an average highly-drafted rookie asked to make an impact. He's a game-changing talent. NFL draft guru Todd McShay describes the Heisman Trophy runner-up as "better" when compared to the Bosa brothers.
The team got the coach right, finally. Rivera is a leader and will change the culture of this football team. Josh Norman, who played for Rivera in Carolina, said the results of Rivera in Washington would be "night and day" culturally. Norman isn't the only player who played for Rivera who has spoken glowingly about him. Gerald McCoy says he would characterize a Rivera hire to the Redskins' players as "the greatest thing in their careers."
The doubts about Rivera's coaching were quickly evaporated after seeing what became of the Panthers once he was gone.Rivera is exactly what the team needs to turn the organization around inside and out.
Del Rio coming in as defensive coordinator would be impactful, as well. As Adam Schefter pointed out, "Del Rio took over the league’s worst defense in Carolina and turned it into the NFL’s second-ranked unit; in 2012 he took Broncos from 20th-ranked defense to second. "
The Redskins are desperately in need of defensive minds after ranking 27th in yards allowed this season. That would be expected to improve with Rivera, Del Rio, and Young together.
Offensively, there are still question marks, particularly at the quarterback position. Later in the season, Dwayne Haskins showed signs of potential, but not nearly enough to convince anyone he is the answer moving forward. He has the talent and a change of atmosphere could be what will elevate him. Plus, in the NFC East, Haskins doesn't need to become a superstar overnight. But questions remain.
The 3-13 Redskins do not project to join the NFL's elite next season. But these are signs they should be one of the most improved teams. And that is only in the first year of this new era.
Now, the Redskins' ceiling may be somewhat limited as Daniel Snyder remains the owner. But, it's baby steps and they are about to take the first few.