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Volume 27 No. 10
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Snyder Changing Redskins' Power Structure With Rivera As Lead Voice

Snyder and Rivera met three times for a total of 35 hours during the hiring process
Photo: getty images
Snyder and Rivera met three times for a total of 35 hours during the hiring process
Photo: getty images
Snyder and Rivera met three times for a total of 35 hours during the hiring process
Photo: getty images

Redskins Owner Dan Snyder during his introduction of new coach Ron Rivera said that he was "changing the way the team has been run," as power "would no longer come from the team owner, president or general manager," according to Carpenter & Allen of the WASHINGTON POST. Snyder on Thursday said, "We're going to have one voice and one voice alone, and that's going to be the coach's." Rivera said that Snyder told him in meetings over the past few weeks that he "wanted the Redskins to be more like" the Patriots, Chiefs and Seahawks, franchises where the coach has "much of the final say about which players to sign, draft, cut and play." Carpenter & Allen note it is "clear" Snyder hired Rivera to be the "most powerful person in the team's facility." Snyder decided that the new culture of the franchise "starts and ends with our head coach." However, left "unclear was how the new structure would work." Rivera said that he "wants to meet with current football executives," including Senior VP/Player Personnel & GM Doug Williams, Senior VP/Football Operations & General Counsel Eric Schaffer, the primary negotiator and salary cap expert, as well as Dir of College Scouting Kyle Smith and Dir of Pro Personnel Alex Santos, to "see how they will fit together." Rivera and Snyder "did not say whether Snyder would hire" a GM to fill the role played by former President Bruce Allen (WASHINGTON POST, 1/3). Asked if he has the final say on personnel control, Rivera said he and the front office will "collaborate" on decisions (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/3).

CLEAR TARGET: ESPN.com's John Keim noted Snyder "became interested in Rivera almost immediately after he was fired by the Panthers two days after the Redskins won at Carolina." A source said that former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs "told Snyder: Go get Rivera." Snyder contacted Rivera's agent, Sun West Sports' Frank Bauer, "within a day or two after the firing" and "spoke on three consecutive days." Rivera also met with Gibbs, who one source said had a "tremendous influence" on the hiring process. Six days after he was fired, Rivera "spoke with Snyder for 40 minutes on the phone, and then the next day for 20 more minutes." They "met in person shortly thereafter." After that meeting, Rivera "met with Gibbs." Overall, Snyder and Rivera "met three times at undisclosed locations, for a total of 35 hours" (ESPN.com, 1/2).

TREADING CAREFULLY: In DC, Barry Svrluga writes a "clear vision" of how this new power structure will work "wasn't really in the offing, at least in part because Snyder didn't take a question about that." But "considered another way, Snyder's statement reads like the owner passing the responsibility for the results on to the coach, absolving himself in the process." In most other franchises, that is "reasonable, and it's what we have wanted here for decades: an owner who steps aside to let football people do football things." The Redskins fan base "already approaches its franchise with suspicion." While Rivera is "rightly hailed as a proper choice, a skeptical fan base might want its new leader to understand the pratfalls he's about to encounter" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/3). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes Rivera is "solid" as a coach, and an organization he runs "also will be" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/3).