Ron Rivera

2024 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

After a crowded carousel previously stopped, the 49ers opened their defensive coordinator position. Here is how the NFC champions’ search looks:

Updated 3-2-24 (10:00am CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dave Ragone)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Ken Dorsey)

  • Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (Bills): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Carolina Panthers (Out: Thomas Brown)

  • Marcus Brady, senior offensive assistant (Eagles): Interview requested
  • Brad Idzik, wide receivers coach (Buccaneers): Hired

Chicago Bears (Out: Luke Getsy)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Brian Callahan)

  • Andy Dickerson, offensive line coach (Seahawks): To interview
  • Dan Pitcher, quarterbacks coach (Bengals): Promoted

Cleveland Browns (Out: Alex Van Pelt)

Las Vegas Raiders (Out: Mick Lombardi)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Kellen Moore)

New England Patriots (Out: Bill O’Brien)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Pete Carmichael)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Brian Johnson)

  • Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interviewed
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Interviewed 1/23
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): Hired

Pittsburgh Steelers (Out: Matt Canada)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Shane Waldron)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Dave Canales)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Tim Kelly)

  • Nick Holz, passing game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Eric Studesville, associate head coach/running backs coach (Dolphins): Interview requested

Washington Commanders (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Chip Kelly, former head coach (Eagles/49ers): On team’s radar
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Hired

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Ryan Nielsen)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Mike Macdonald)

  • Zach Orr, inside linebackers coach (Ravens): Promoted

Buffalo Bills

  • Bobby Babich, linebackers coach (Bills): Promoted
  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Sean Desai, former defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview

Chicago Bears (Out: Alan Williams)

  • Joe Barry, former defensive coordinator (Packers): To interview 1/27
  • Chris Harris, secondary coach (Titans): To interview
  • Eric Washington, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Bills): Hired
  • Terrell Williams, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Titans): To interview

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Dan Quinn)

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Barry)

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Mike Caldwell)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Derrick Ansley)

  • Jesse Minter, defensive coordinator (Michigan): Hired

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Raheem Morris)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Vic Fangio)

New England Patriots

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Promoted
  • Michael Hodges, linebackers coach (Saints): To interview
  • Tem Lukabu, outside linebackers coach (Panthers): To interview
  • Christian Parker, defensive backs coach (Broncos): Interviewed

New York Giants (Out: Don Martindale)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Sean Desai)

  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Vic Fangio, former defensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
  • Ron Rivera, former head coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/22

San Francisco 49ers (Out: Steve Wilks)

  • Gerald Alexander, safeties coach (Raiders): Interviewed 3/1
  • Daniel Bullocks, defensive backs coach (49ers): Interviewed 2/28
  • David Merritt, defensive backs coach (Chiefs): To interview
  • Nick Sorensen, defensive passing game specialist (49ers): Promoted
  • Brandon Staley, former head coach (Chargers): Interviewed

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Clint Hurtt)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Shane Bowen)

  • Brandon Lynch, cornerbacks coach (Browns): Interviewed 1/30
  • Dennard Wilson, defensive backs coach (Ravens): Hired

Washington Commanders (Out: Jack Del Rio)

  • Joe Cullen, defensive line coach (Chiefs): Considered a candidate
  • Joe Whitt, defensive backs coach (Cowboys): Hired

Latest On Joe Whitt; Cowboys Eyeing Ron Rivera?

We heard earlier today that Cowboys secondary coach Joe Whitt has emerged as the lead candidate to take over as his team’s defensive coordinator. At the same time, it sounded like the coach he’d be replacing in Dallas, Dan Quinn, still loomed as a suitor in Washington. We haven’t gotten any more clarity since then, but the sweepstakes continue to get more interesting.

[RELATED: Cowboys Aiming To Hire Joe Whitt As DC]

Earlier this evening, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reported that Quinn and the Commanders were expected to hire Whitt as their defensive coordinator. However, Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes Whitt-to-Washington isn’t a done deal, and the Cowboys continue to be in play. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News adds that the Commanders are simply working on scheduling an interview with Whitt.

The long-time coach would be a logical candidate for both roles. Whitt had a long stint working alongside Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, and the two teamed up again in Dallas. Whitt also worked alongside Quinn in both Dallas and Atlanta, so it’s natural that both head coaches are pursuing a familiar face for their respective coordinator vacancies.

Whitt has been with the Cowboys since 2021, serving as the team’s secondary coach and pass game coordinator. Under his tutelage, both Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland have earned first-team All-Pro nods, and he’s also helped guide a formidable safeties corps that features the likes of Jayron Kearse, Donovan Wilson, and Malik Hooker. The 45-year-old has served as the defensive pass game coordinator in Dallas, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Green Bay, so it’d be a natural progression for him to earn a promotion to defensive coordinator.

While the Cowboys continue to be in the running, it sounds like the team is expanding their list of coordinator candidates. According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Ron Rivera is slated to interview for the Cowboys DC job next week, perhaps a hint that Dallas isn’t confident about their ability to retain Whitt.

Rivera was fired by the Commanders last month, but he’s since become a popular coordinator candidate. He earned interviews with both the Rams and Eagles, but both organizations decided to go in different directions. He sounds like he could now be a fallback option for the Cowboys, who are now in the market for a defensive coordinator with Quinn having been named Washington’s new head coach.

Watkins passes along another potential name to watch for the Cowboys DC job: Mike Zimmer. The former Vikings head coach is interested in the job, a source told Watkins, although it’s uncertain if that interest has been reciprocated.

Zimmer spent more than a decade in Dallas, ultimately serving as the team’s defensive coordinator. He had the same job with the Falcons and Bengals before being named the Vikings head coach in 2014. He lasted eight seasons in Minnesota, earning three playoff appearances. After he was fired following the 2021 campaign, he spent a season as a consultant at Jackson State.

Ron Rivera On Cowboys’ Radar

Dan Quinn is still in the mix for the two remaining HC positions, putting the Cowboys — once again — in jeopardy of losing their defensive coordinator. The former Falcons head coach has been selective about his destinations, but the Cowboys have identified at least one contingency plan in the event their defensive play-caller bolts.

The team has interest in Ron Rivera as a Quinn backup plan, according to’s Ian Rapoport. Rivera interviewed for the Eagles’ DC job, but the team quickly pivoted to Vic Fangio once the Dolphins let him out of his contract. This marks Rivera’s first non-Philly connection during this year’s hiring period.

[RELATED: 2024 Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Rivera, however, said he had spoken with multiple teams following his Black Monday firing. The Commanders canned Rivera after four seasons. With Josh Harris buying the team (and playing a central role in it trading both Montez Sweat and Chase Young on deadline day), Rivera’s firing — which came after an eight-game losing streak — was one of the most anticipated ousters in recent NFL history. The expected ouster assuredly allowed Rivera to chart potential options for the 2024 season.

Rivera, 62, has not been a coordinator since a stay as the Chargers’ DC vaulted him onto the HC radar. The former Super Bowl HC spent nine seasons leading the Panthers and the past four in Washington. The 2010 Bolts’ defense ranked first in yards allowed, leading Rivera to Charlotte. Rivera also served as a Super Bowl DC, residing in that post for the 2006 Bears — a team whose defense became rather important, as Rex Grossman was at quarterback. The Bears ranked first and third in scoring defense, respectively, in 2005 and ’06.

Jack Del Rio‘s firing led to Rivera calling plays to close out the 2023 season. Washington’s defense struggled throughout, bottoming out following the Sweat and Young trades. The end result: last-place rankings in scoring and yardage. But the Cowboys have enjoyed steady success after giving Quinn a rebound opportunity.

If Quinn is to replace Rivera in Washington or succeed ex-boss Pete Carroll in Seattle, Rivera should be expected to become a candidate for the Dallas DC post. Quinn will go through a second interview for the Washington job Tuesday. The Seahawks probably represent Quinn’s best chance, however; Lions OC Ben Johnson still looks like the favorite to land the Commanders’ HC gig.

Eagles Likely To Retain Nick Sirianni; Team Arranges DC Interviews With Ron Rivera, Mike Caldwell

Since the Eagles’ last-season collapse was punctuated by a lopsided wild-card loss, questions have emerged regarding the job security of the team’s coaching staff. Head coach Nick Sirianni has been the subject of speculation, but he appears to be safe.

Sirianni will take part in a press conference with general manager Howie Roseman on Wednesday, as noted by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. The former’s participation in that media availability seems to put to rest any remaining questions about his status in the organization. Sirianni recently met with owner Jeffrey Lurie to discuss his future and his plans for a new set of coordinators.

As expected, Sean Desai is out after an underwhelming tenure as defensive coordinator, one which did not last the entire season. His replacement in that capacity, Matt Patricia, is likewise not in line to return. OC Brian Johnson also faces an uncertain future, though his departure could come about as a result of a head coaching opportunity. In any case, changes were needed after the manner in which a 10-1 start to Philadelphia’s season ended with the team losing six of its last seven games.

A report from earlier this month suggested Sirianni would be safe, although more recent signs pointed to some members of the organization at least preparing for the third-year coach to be let go. Instead, Sirianni is now in line to carry on with a re-vamped staff as he looks to lead the team to the postseason for a fourth straight campaign.

The Eagles are moving quickly in their bid to find a new defensive coordinator, and their first interviewee is a high-profile target. Philadelphia is set to interview Ron Rivera for the position, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. Rivera’s tenure in charge of the Commanders came to an expected end on Black Monday, leaving him free to pursue other openings. The 62-year-old recently made it clear he intends to continue his coaching career, even though doing so would require taking a coordinator posting.

Rivera added that he has spoken with multiple teams, and the Eagles are clearly one of them. Philadelphia would be highly familiar with Rivera given his time in the NFC East with Washington, and he is still regarded as one of the league’s top defensive minds. His last DC posting came with the Chargers from 2008-10, and in the final year of that stretch the team ranked first in total defense and 10th in points allowed.

In addition to Rivera, the Eagles have an interview lined up with ex-Jaguars DC Mike Caldwell, Fowler adds. Caldwell was one of several defensive staffers fired at the end of the season after Jacksonville underwhelmed in a number of capacities. He played for the Eagles from 1998-2001, so a deal allowing him to join Sirianni’s staff would represent a reunion.

Plenty of questions – particularly at the coordinator spots – have yet to be answered in Philadelphia. More clarity will likely emerge in the coming days, though, and at a minimum the matter of Sirianni’s future is no longer in doubt.

Teams Interested In Ron Rivera; Two-Time HC Not Intending To Retire

Ron Rivera‘s second coaching stint did not go as well as his first. Washington did not finish over .500 in any of his four seasons, and the well-liked HC once again found himself on the outs after a new owner took over.

The former Panthers HC became one of the easiest firings to predict in many years, with Josh Harris allowing him to fire DC Jack Del Rio and coach out the season. Unlike Frank Reich, who is likely to retire, Rivera wants to coach again. After spending the past 13 seasons as a head coach, Rivera said he has options for 2024.

An HC path does not appear to exist for Rivera, but the 62-year-old coach said (via’s John Keim) he has “several opportunities” but is determining the right one. Rivera confirmed he has spoken with multiple teams, but with seven clubs still searching for head coaches, it is still early in terms of staff openings. No HC or coordinator interview requests have come in for Rivera yet, but plenty of opportunities will soon open up. A senior defensive assistant-type role also could be in the cards.

Before Rivera became a head coach, he spent time as a defensive coordinator. He attracted HC interest after overseeing the Chargers’ defense from 2008-10; the ’10 unit ranked first overall. An ex-Bears linebacker, Rivera worked as Lovie Smith‘s DC from 2004-06, finishing out his second Chicago tenure in Super Bowl XLI. Rivera has been an NFL coach since 1997, beginning his run as a position coach in Andy Reid‘s first Eagles season (1999). Ex-Rivera coordinators Sean McDermott and Steve Wilks reside in prominent positions as well, forming potential landing spots.

Rivera received considerable power in Washington. The team gave him personnel authority to start his tenure, not hiring a GM for a year after its HC hire. Del Rio called defensive signals throughout his tenure, however, leaving Rivera as a CEO coach. Washington has since proceeded to prioritize its president of football operations position, which went to Adam Peters. Rivera prefers the GM-centric model Harris and Co. have launched.

I would’ve loved a different model just because, in hindsight, now you really see how much more time you spend on personnel and as a coach, that’s not necessarily what you want to do,” Rivera said, via Keim. “What I really enjoyed more than anything else the last five weeks was just being right in the middle of everything. Now your only focus is just that one thing. That’s what you do; you want to teach.”

Regarding the Commanders’ on-field approach, Rivera second-guessed his Sam Howell strategy. The Commanders heaped praise upon the 2022 fifth-round pick during the ’23 offseason, starting it last January. Rivera proceeded this way despite the North Carolina alum effectively redshirting as a rookie before playing in the season finale. While Rivera still views Howell as a starter-caliber QB, he regrets anointing him early. That made it rather easy to predict the winner of the faux competition that formed between Howell and free agent pickup Jacoby Brissett.

I took a big gamble. I put a lot on Sam, and I probably shouldn’t have put as much pressure on him, and I think that was probably one of the mistakes I made this year,” Rivera said. “He didn’t deserve to have that put on him. He’s a good young quarterback, has some talent and some ability and I think that’s something I should have backed off on.

I should have kept emphasizing he was going to be the guy that got the first opportunity … just phrasing it that way would’ve taken a lot of pressure off of him, just kind of that he hadn’t been anointed.”

Howell’s starter season produced Washington’s first wire-to-wire QB starter since Kirk Cousins in 2017, but a lengthy losing streak secured the 4-13 Commanders the No. 2 overall pick. It should be expected the team will look closely into this year’s QB class, with mock drafts already sending Howell’s Tar Heels successor — Drake Maye — to the nation’s capital.

Commanders Fire Ron Rivera; Bob Myers, Rick Spielman Added As Advisors

Black Monday has seen the next head coach dismissed in the NFL. As expected, the Commanders have parted ways with Ron Rivera, marking an end to his four-year run with the team.

Owner Josh Harris has taken a unique approach to begin the process of finding Rivera’s replacement. Former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers as well as former Vikings GM Rick Spielman have been hired as advisors to assist in the search, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski.

A house cleaning on the sidelines in particular has been expected for some time now, and Harris has indeed followed through with the expected move of dismissing Rivera. The latter posted a 4-13 record this season, the worst in his career. As a result of the team’s losing skid to close out the campaign, Rivera’s overall mark in the nation’s capital stands at 26-40-1. None of his four seasons at the helm resulted in a winning campaign, although that stretch did include a playoff appearance in 2020.

General manager Martin Mayhew – himself listed as a hot seat occupant – along with executive VP of football/player personnel Marty Hurney will remain in place for at least the time being, per the team. They will assist in the search process for Rivera’s successor as well as a new head of football operations. The latter position points to an organizational restructuring compared to how the franchise operated under former owner Dan Snyder. The fate of Mayhew and Hurney will be decided after the new hires are in place, per the ESPN report.

Rivera took the Washington posting after eight-plus years with the Panthers. His time in Carolina included a Super Bowl appearance and aided his reputation as a top defensive mind. However, struggles on both sides of the ball limited the Commanders’ ability to contend during his time at the helm, and the team’s actions around the 2023 deadline pointed to major changes being forthcoming. Edge rushers (and pending free agents) Montez Sweat and Chase Young were dealt at the deadline, even though Rivera and then-defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio preferred to retain the former.

After a lopsided loss on Thanksgiving, Rivera fired Del Rio. That move came as little surprise given the lack of success on defense the team had with that pair on the sidelines despite the presence of four former first-rounders along the defensive line. Issues on that side of the ball, along with inconsistent play from first-year starting quarterback Sam Howell, led to an eight-game losing streak to close out the season. Major changes throughout the organization are due to take place as a result.

As CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reports, Harris is believed to be seeking a culture-builder allowing the Commanders to emulate teams such as the Patriots, Chiefs and Ravens. An emphasis on analytics has been mentioned as a factor to watch amidst the remolding of the franchise, including the appointment of a president of football ops. To no surprise, Harris’ effort on that front will include assistance from the NBA world; in addition to the Commanders, Harris owns the Philadelphia 76ers as well as the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Myers served as general manager of the Warriors beginning in 2012 and he held the post through this past season. In his tenure, Golden State built one of the NBA’s modern dynasties, winning four championships. Myers was named Executive of the Year twice, and he currently works as an analyst with ESPN.

Spielman had a nine-year run with the Vikings which ended in 2021. He was linked to a high-ranking post with the Jaguars in the 2022 offseason, but this temporary appointment will be his first in the NFL since the end of his Minnesota tenure. Spielman has more than 30 years of experience in the league, something which will be leaned on in the coming weeks. Minority owners Magic JohnsonMitch Rales and David Blitzer will also participate in the search process.

The Commanders currently lead the NFL in projected cap space, and the results of Week 18’s matchups has left the team with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. With plenty of roster flexibility, the Washington opening could be an attractive one to interested candidates. Regardless of which changes are made to the front office and on the sidelines, a quarterback capable of at least competing with Howell for the starting role is also expected to be added.

“Today, we made the decision to part ways with Ron Rivera,” a statement from Harris reads in part. “I want to thank Ron and his wife Stephanie for all they did for the Commanders and DMV community, especially during the ownership transition. Ron helped navigate this organization through some challenging times. He is a good man and thoughtful leader who has positively contributed to this organization and the NFL. I wish the Rivera family nothing but the best moving forward.”

NFL Coaching Rumors: Harbaugh, Eberflus, Rivera

The rumors have not slowed down linking University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL. Harbaugh has been continuously mentioned as a candidate for any open head coaching position in the last few years, and his latest move is only adding fuel to the fire. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Harbaugh has hired a new agent in Don Yee, a longtime agent with such notable clients as Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

Harbaugh is currently in a complicated position. As NFL teams have begun parting ways with coaches or making their intentions for the future clear, Harbaugh still has to deal with his current position. The top-ranked Wolverines are one of four college football teams in the country with something still to play for. Tomorrow afternoon, Michigan will face off against the 4-seed Crimson Tide for a chance to play in the National Championship the following Monday. In addition to being in contention to win it all at the college level, Harbaugh has also been in major discussions for an extension to remain at Michigan.

The possibility of an extension is one likely reason for Yee’s hiring. Entering complicated contract negotiations that have been rumored to include a clause restricting Harbaugh’s ability to leave for an NFL job is reason enough to bring in representation. That being said, Yee’s NFL ties are not easy to ignore. The obvious tie with Yee comes from his relationship with Brady. Brady has been rumored as a potential candidate for partial ownership in the Raiders, who recently parted ways with head coach Josh McDaniels. Interim head coach Antonio Pierce has been making a strong case to hold on to the permanent position with a 4-3 record since taking over, but we saw a similar interim situation not pan out for the incumbent coach in Carolina last year, so anything is still possible.

Here are a few other coaching rumors from around the NFL:

  • In a report last night, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport delivered an update on Bears head coach Matt Eberflus. Entering the 2023 season on a 10-game losing streak after having gone 3-14 in his first season as head coach, patience for Eberflus in Chicago seemed to be wearing thin. After the team finally ended the skid at 14 games, Eberflus has led the Bears to a 6-5 record since, keeping the team improbably in the playoff race. The Bears are playing winning football recently, with even their most recent two losses coming in one-score games against playoff teams from Detroit and Cleveland. At this point, Rapoport claims that he would be surprised to not see Eberflus back for the 2024 season. Additionally, Eberflus has been handling defensive coordinator duties since the untimely resignation of Alan Williams at the start of the season, a role he also may retain going into next year.
  • On the other hand, Rapoport wasn’t nearly as optimistic about the prospects for current Commanders head coach Ron Rivera. With new owner Josh Harris in the building, it was expected that Rivera would at least be granted the opportunity to make a case to retain his position. After a six-game losing streak that has eliminated Washington from playoff contention, Rivera’s audition is not going well. Spelling further possible doom for Rivera, after putting all of his eggs in the Sam Howell-basket, hoping to develop the young gunslinger into a franchise passer, Rivera has been forced to bench Howell in each of the team’s last two losses in favor of Jacoby Brissett. Nothing seems to have been decided quite yet, but things aren’t looking promising for Rivera and company in Washington.

Ron Rivera, Jack Del Rio Wanted Commanders To Retain Montez Sweat

As the Commanders completed what looked on the surface to be a reluctant sell-off at the trade deadline, Ron Rivera said all parties were onboard with the trades of Montez Sweat and Chase Young. A virtual meeting with new owner Josh Harris appears to have provided the final push for the Commanders to trade their defensive ends, though other factors were part of the equation.

It looks like the Washington coaching staff was readier to trade Young than Sweat. Rivera, DC Jack Del Rio and others wanted to make it past the deadline with Sweat still on the roster, according to’s John Keim and Jeremy Fowler. But two second-round offers came in for the contract-year edge rusher — from the Bears and Falcons — leading the team to complete the first of its two deadline-day deals.

Following the Commanders’ Week 8 loss to the Eagles, calls came in on the DEs and other players, per Fowler and Keim. While the Commanders had done legwork on trades involving Sweat and Young for more than a week going into the deadline, it was not known until hours before the Oct. 31 trade endpoint how Harris felt.

The Dan Snyder successor expressed an openness to trade the defensive ends and acquire draft capital, and while Fowler and Keim do not describe the meeting as Harris mandating both be traded, the owner leaning in that direction looks to have provided the biggest difference in Washington making the surprising call to trade both Sweat and Young. Both players were gone hours after the meeting.

Young’s propensity to freelance within Del Rio’s scheme looks to have made the Commanders more amenable to trading the former No. 2 overall pick, and the team dropped its asking price to move on. It took only a third-round compensatory pick for the 49ers to acquire the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Sweat had been more consistent, but with the Commanders expecting both players to cost near-top-market money, they decided to cut bait. As should be expected, the extensions given to Jonathan Allen (in 2021) and Daron Payne (in March) played a role, along with the defensive line’s early-season struggles, in the Commanders determining they would not be in position to extend Sweat or Young.

Rivera wanting to keep his top sack artist in the fold makes sense, as he entered this season on a hot seat. The fourth-year Washington HC had hoped to retain enough pieces to salvage this season, a sentiment some in the front office shared as well; losing Sweat, who has since signed a high-end Bears extension, did not help matters. The 2019 first-round pick is closing in on his first double-digit sack season, collecting 6.5 of his nine QB drops in Washington. Without Sweat and Young, the Commanders are close to starting over at defensive end.

While Washington had regressed on defense even with its two walk-year sack artists, the team has cratered on that side of the ball without them. The Commanders have allowed back-to-back 45-point games, the second coming after Rivera — after a morning conversation with Harris — fired Del Rio and defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer.

Harris and Rivera have retained a solid relationship, per ESPN, but the writing has been on the wall for the well-liked sideline bastion for a while. The Commanders are also more likely than not to clean house in the front office, with ex-Panthers execs Marty Hurney and Eric Stokes joining GM Martin Mayhew as staffers in play to follow Rivera in being ousted. It is unknown what type of coach and leadership structure Harris will prefer in 2024, but he effectively asked a lame-duck staff to trade draft capital it most likely will not be in position to use come April.

Rivera, 61, is on track to be fired by a new owner for a second time. David Tepper canned the former NFC champion HC during the 2019 season, the Panthers owner’s second on the job. This has been Mayhew’s second crack at a GM job. The former Washington Super Bowl-winning cornerback, who is 58, served as Lions GM from 2008-15.

Commanders Could Part Ways With GM Martin Mayhew

It appears to be a foregone conclusion that the Commanders will fire head coach Ron Rivera at season’s end. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports echoes that sentiment and adds that general manager Martin Mayhew could also be on the chopping block.

That is hardly surprising. While it made sense for new owner Josh Harris, who purchased the club in July, to give the power brokers that he inherited a fair evaluation period and to avoid a major shakeup less than two months before the start of the 2023 regular season, it likewise stands to reason that Harris would want to start afresh with his own choices at the HC and GM positions (especially in the wake of what is shaping up to be a sub-.500 campaign).

Our own Sam Robinson recently suggested as much, and a source told Tony Pauline of that Harris wants to “get rid of the Daniel Snyder stench,” which would entail a total purge of both the front office and coaching staff. Harris, who is also the managing partner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, has reportedly expressed an interest in structuring the Commanders like an NBA team and has consulted with Sixers GM Elton Brand on the matter. Such a setup would apparently include, among other things, the possibility of giving the players a say in decision-making.

Mayhew, 58, enjoyed a long stint as the Lions’ general manager from 2008-15 and subsequently held high-level executive positions with the Giants and 49ers before joining Washington in 2021 (one year after Rivera). Despite Mayhew’s GM title, Rivera has always had final say over personnel matters, and Jones suggests that if Mayhew is relieved of his duties after the season, Harris may opt for a hierarchy wherein the head coach reports to the general manager, who in turn reports to ownership.

The good news for Commanders fans is that the presence of Harris, along with a healthy salary cap situation and an ample supply of draft capital, have made the team’s HC and GM posts very desirable. As one executive told Jones, “everyone’s shooting for Washington,” and that should allow Harris to choose from the best available talent in the upcoming hiring cycle. Although Jones does not say so, it could also mean that Washington’s faith in second-year quarterback Sam Howell is shared by top head coach and general manager candidates.

There are several additional notes from the above reports worth passing along. We already knew that Harris drove the recent deadline trades of defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young, and that the club dropped its asking price on Young before sending him to the 49ers. According to Pauline, the team was especially motivated to move Young because it had grown weary of his propensity to improvise and freelance rather than operate within the defensive scheme.

With respect to the Commanders’ possible GM search, Jones says that an analytically-minded candidate could be particularly appealing to Harris. Indeed, as ESPN’s Seth Walder writes in a thread on X, it had been speculated that Harris would want more of a quantitative approach to personnel decisions, and to that end, the team has hired Eugene Shen as its Senior VP of Football Strategy.

Shen, who has previously worked for the Ravens and Dolphins and who served as the Jaguars’ VP of Football Analytics before leaving the team in 2022 to work in finance, will oversee all analytics and software development on the football side of the operation.

Commanders Fire DC Jack Del Rio

The Commanders have not yet fired their head coach, and plans do not appear in place for that to happen during the season. But the team is moving on from one of its coordinators. After a one-sided Thanksgiving loss in Dallas, Washington will fire DC Jack Del Rio,’s Ian Rapoport reports.

A former Jaguars and Raiders head coach, Del Rio had been with Washington throughout Ron Rivera‘s four-year tenure. But the veteran HC/assistant’s defense has struggled this season. Following the Cowboys’ 45-10 romp, the Commanders will make a significant change. Rivera will now call the Commanders’ defensive plays, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. The Commanders have since announced Del Rio’s ouster.

In addition to the Del Rio move, the Commanders are also firing defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer,’s Tom Pelissero tweets. Like Del Rio, Vieselmeyer had been on Washington’s defensive staff since 2020. He served as a Raiders assistant during Del Rio’s three-year Oakland tenure. Cristian Garcia will take over as Washington’s DBs coach, Jhabvala adds, with safeties coach Richard Rodgers assisting Rivera with game-planning.

Although Commanders ownership playing the lead role in the team trading top defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young has factored into the team’s defensive unraveling, Del Rio’s unit was not thriving before the deadline deals. The Commanders allowed at least 33 points five times between Weeks 2-8, with both Young and Sweat being in the lineup in each of those contests. Following the Cowboys’ demolition, the Commanders rank last in points allowed, 29th in total defense and 30th in defensive DVOA.

Del Rio received this opportunity after not coaching for two years. The Raiders fired Del Rio following his third season, despite the team going 12-4 a year prior, to give Jon Gruden a 10-year contract. The 60-year-old coach did not have an NFL gig during the 2018 and ’19 seasons. His Washington tenure produced a mixed bag. The team ranked fourth in points allowed in 2020 and seventh in this area last season, though the 2021 campaign produced a 25th-place result. While this Commanders edition saw its edge-rushing muscle stripped away, ownership will sign off on Rivera making an in-season change.

Giving Rivera a green light to make these moves would point to ownership being committed to the veteran HC through season’s end. Rivera appears a likely chopping-block candidate in January, but Del Rio served as one of the Commanders’ interim HC options in the event Josh Harris axed Rivera during the season. OC Eric Bieniemy resides as an interim option as well, but the team would not have much in the way of defensive leadership in the wake of Friday morning’s dismissals. This appears likely to end with Rivera and potentially Bieniemy being gone as well, as Harris remodels the organization he recently acquired, but the fourth-year HC remains in place for now. A Harris statement indicates Rivera recommended the changes.

In the Rivera-Del Rio partnership’s first season, Washington won the NFC East — albeit with a 7-9 record — after forming a stacked defensive line by drafting Young second overall. Young paired with former first-rounders Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan to form a strong pass rush. This unit helped cover for a QB situation that featured a struggling Dwayne Haskins and a limited Alex Smith, and Washington accounted itself well in a close wild-card loss to Tampa Bay. But the team is headed toward a fourth straight .500-or-worse season under Rivera. Del Rio’s role in that will cost him his job early.

The Del Rio-Rivera defense fared well despite Young barely playing in 2022, with the unit also withstanding the free agency miss on William Jackson, whom the team benched early last season and sent to the Steelers for a low-end return. This year brought a regression on most fronts, even with Young returning to full strength following his November 2021 knee injury. High-powered offenses like the Bills and Eagles ran out to 30-plus points against the Commanders, but the Bears and Broncos also combined for 73 points during the season’s first half. Although a six-turnover effort hamstrung the Commanders in the Giants rematch, Del Rio’s unit allowed rookie UDFA Tommy DeVito to throw three touchdown passes in New York’s two-score Week 11 win (as a two-score underdog).

A former linebacker, Del Rio has been an NFL staffer since 1997. Vieselmeyer has only served as an NFL coach under Del Rio. Primarily vacillating between the high school level and a Del Rio assistant (with a few college seasons mixed in), Vieselmeyer was on the Raiders’ staff throughout Del Rio’s three-year tenure. Washington hired him as its assistant secondary coach in 2020. Following Chris Harris‘ defection to the Titans this offseason, Vieselmeyer moved up to DBs coach. The Commanders exit Week 12 having allowed an NFL-most 49 pass plays of at least 20 yards, per’s John Keim. Washington has not intercepted a pass in six games.