What were Ron Rivera’s 2 biggest errors with the Commanders?

Ron Rivera was praised by players and Josh Harris as someone who was professional to the very end of his tenure.

Yet, the question can also rightly (and fairly) be asked, What were Rivera’s biggest mistakes during his four-year coach-centric term?

In Rivera’s case, two errors clearly outshine the others.

Parting ways with Kyle Smith

In the 2019 Redskins draft room, Kyle Smith (director of college scouting) asked the room whom they were going to draft at No. 15? Sources have agreed there was silence, and one voice finally answered: the owner himself. The choice was going to be Dwayne Haskins.

Smith reportedly proceeded to implore the room to please consider drafting one of three players. But the owner had spoken.

Rivera was hired the following January. Smith basically constructed the draft board and led the room through the draft. Rivera was pleased and publicly praised Smith for his leadership in that draft.

But in later months of that 2020 season, Rivera grew cold toward Smith; not praising him, nor even mentioning him. Rivera determined instead to hire Marty Hurney and Martin Mayhew.

Yes, Rivera got what he wanted, but he also lost what he had. In Smith, he had a young man, full of energy and a voracious work ethic. He also possessed, in Smith, the one man who carried courage in the organization to tell Rivera and Snyder what they needed to hear.

Smith understandably departed following the 2020 season. In all three drafts (2021-23) Smith would clearly not have drafted as Rivera and the Marty’s did. Do you think Smith would have reached on Jamin Davis at No.19? Valuing draft choices, can you even imagine Smith trading up for a long snapper (Camaron Cheeseman)?

Drafting Chase Young in the 2020 NFL Draft

The previous owner, having laid down his law in the previous draft, Washington had been stuck with Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 overall.

As the 2020 draft arrived, Washington owned the No. 2 overall selection. Haskins, during his rookie season, had displayed an alarming immaturity, playing on a cell phone with fans in the stands prior to an NFL game’s conclusion.

Two quarterbacks (following Joe Burrow) were projected to be top-10 picks. Rivera could have approached Snyder expressing those two were far ahead of Haskins. He could have then stressed that when you are selecting No. 2 and you don’t have a quarterback, you should take a top-10 projected quarterback because he might be your guy for the next decade.

But Rivera wanted Chase Young and left Tua Tagovailoa (chosen 5th) and Justin Herbert (chosen 6th). Young disappointed tremendously and was traded in 2023.

Rivera spent his next three seasons attempting to find a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz, Jacoby Brissett and Sam Howell.

Rivera earned a 26-40-1 .396 record because these were the two biggest errors of his Washington tenure.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire