Coming into Sunday’s game versus the New York Giants the Washington Commanders’ playoff chances were already teetering on dead.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance in an ugly 31-19 loss to their division rival, many are calling for the team’s new ownership group to fire head coach Ron Rivera and make first-year offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Ron Rivera Underachieving With Commanders
After watching the team, not just this season but in Rivera’s three-plus losing seasons (26-34-1), one thing that’s been noticeable is how unprepared and unfocused his team has often been.
Two losses to a now-3-8 Giants team this season that played their second and third-string QBs is unacceptable. And who can forget that Week 5 Thursday night debacle against the previously winless Chicago Bears where the now-4-7 Commanders gave up 40 points in a 40-20 loss.
Following Sunday’s loss all Rivera could say to reporters was, “It’s a low point, that’s for sure. We suck, that’s the truth of the matter.”
His face and words looked and sounded like someone who knows he’s a lame duck coach at this point.
Commanders Need To Make Bieniemy Interim Coach
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has had his ups and downs in his first season calling plays, and Sunday wasn’t one of his best. The former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, who didn’t call plays there, has struggled to find a balance between the running and passing game. Coming into Sunday no team in the NFL passed more, and after second-year QB Sam Howell attempted 45 more passes, it’s highly unlikely that changes.
But the Commanders need to make a change, and that means moving on from Rivera and his defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio whose defense has ranked in the bottom two to three all season. And that was with edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat, whom the team dealt at the trade deadline.
Why Make Eric Bieniemy Head Coach Now?
Promoting Bieniemy to the interim role would allow the new ownership to see how he functions in that capacity. A test run that could lead to Bieniemy being the permanent replacement.
Per Rivera, Bieniemy has been handling the day-to-day operations since he arrived. Earlier this season, Rivera told reporters players came to him complaining about Bieniemy’s hard-nosed approach, which is something he should’ve been applauding and not revealing to anyone.
While Rivera attempted to walk the comments back, it was too late. The damage had already been done.
Rivera Will Be Safe Until Thanksgiving
Rivera is the last remnant from the cantankerous Daniel Snyder era, and while he did some good things as pertains to the team’s culture, it’s time for him to go. The team needs a new voice, and that’s something Bieniemy is, and not just for the offense.
With the Dallas Cowboys on deck for Thanksgiving, it’s unlikely ownership moves on from Rivera in a short week, but based on the mood and atmosphere at FedEx Field on Sunday, it shouldn’t be long after that he’s shown the door.