The Washington Football Team was dealt a blow last week when Ron Rivera announced he had been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of his neck. While the 58-year-old still plans on coaching this season, he's expected to miss time at points while undergoing treatment.
During his absence, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been tabbed to take over head coaching duties for Rivera. When asked by JP Finlay on the Washington Football Talk Podcast whether there'd be a drop-off with Del Rio, Rivera assured us of his confidence in his defensive coordinator leading the team.
"Jack's had a tremendous amount of success in this league, he has his own style and personality, but one thing we do share is we share a lot of core values and we believe in the same thing," Rivera said. "That's why I'm very, very comfortable and confident in who Jack is and what his abilities are."
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW
Del Rio has no shortage of NFL experience. He spent 10 years as a player and has been in coaching 1997. He's served as a head coach on two separate occasions and won the Coach of the Year award in 2016 with the Raiders
While the experience should help Washington stay on schedule on the practice/playing field with Rivera out, it's Del Rio's coaching style that makes Rivera comfortable with his supposed interim head coach.
"If Jack's gotta put a little flair to it then so be it, but the point is we both believe in one thing and that's to do things the right way," Rivera. "That's what we expect our players to do and that's to do things the right way."
Simply put, there's no replacing Ron Rivera on the sidelines. He was chosen to build a culture in Washington and his treatment presents an obstacle to getting where he wants the franchise to go. Del Rio's ability to carry on Rivera's message will be crucial to the team's success this season, so it's a good sign to see the head coach's confidence in his temporary replacement.
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