Ron Rivera called his shot in early December and sank it before the end of the month.
Rivera, who was fired in early December by the Carolina Panthers and told reporters before he left "I will coach again," landed his next head coaching job about as soon as possible, becoming the latest in charge of the Washington Redskins. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Michael Silver reported Rivera's deal is for five years.
The Redskins officially named Rivera their head coach on Wednesday, and an introductory press conference is scheduled for Thursday.
Rivera's eight and a half-season tenure with the Carolina Panthers came to an end at the start of 2019's final month. The decision was a result of an underperforming Panthers team that appeared rudderless without the services of Cam Newton, who was sidelined for the season due to injury, leaving Carolina to put its hopes and dreams on the arm of Kyle Allen. The Panthers saw positive results initially, but as the season took a turn for the worst, a coaching change under fairly new owner David Tepper became inevitable.
That opened a door into a vast expanse of opportunity for Rivera, whose name was mentioned as a possible candidate for most head coaching vacancies across the league. Redskins owner Dan Snyder moved quickly, though, ensuring the other clubs competing for the services of Rivera wouldn't even get an interview with him by bringing him in on the first day after the conclusion of the 2019 season and securing his signature before leaving their meeting.
The Rivera hire follows a day of change in the nation's capital that saw Redskins president and general manager Bruce Allen fired after 10 seasons spent in the team's front office. Combined with Rivera's arrival, Allen's removal creates intrigue in regards to the organizational hierarchy in this new era of Redskins football. Rivera did not own control of the team's roster while in Carolina, but could in Washington in a setup somewhat similar to that of Mike Shanahan, who came on board shortly after Allen was hired in late 2009.
One former Panther who saw his role in Washington greatly diminished in 2019 spoke highly of his former coach before he was officially hired. Josh Norman, who experienced his greatest success while playing cornerback for Rivera in Carolina, said the coach's hiring would create a "night and day" difference in culture, per ESPN. Veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who spent less than a full season playing under Rivera, provided a similarly glowing review of his former coach, telling Washington players "the greatest thing in their careers is about to happen" if Rivera was hired, per The Athletic.
That's the type of veteran support that makes a layup hiring into a slam dunk, at least initially, especially for a franchise that has lacked winning culture for some time.
Rivera's hire supplies Washington with an experienced head coach for a team dotted with young talent, starting with its quarterback, Dwayne Haskins. The Redskins will also have the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to spend on whatever need it deems most important. With Rivera's defensive background considered, perhaps Washington selects Ohio State havoc-wreaker Chase Young to add an injection of pass-rushing power to its bottom-10 defense.
Those decisions will come in late April. But the most important move was made quickly this week by Snyder, who has his coach in place with all of 2020 still ahead of his beleaguered franchise.