The Washington Commanders suffered a humiliating 40-20 defeat to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, putting more pressure on head coach Ron Rivera, who is already on the hot seat. The Commanders, who were expected to contend for the NFC East title this season, fell to 2-3 and looked listless and uninspired in the first half, trailing 27-3 at the break.
Magic Johnson questions Commanders’ effort and intensity
One of the most vocal critics of the Commanders’ performance was co-owner Magic Johnson, who took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the team’s lack of fire and intensity. Johnson, who bought a minority stake in the team in August 2023, is known for his high standards and competitive spirit as a former NBA star and executive.
“Tonight the Commanders played with no intensity or fire. We didn’t compete in the first half and got down 27-3 heading into halftime. It was too big of a hole to climb out of and that is why we ended up losing 40-20,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson’s tweet seemed to be a direct indictment of Rivera’s coaching ability, as he questioned the team’s motivation and readiness to play. While Johnson did not mention Rivera by name, it was clear that he was not happy with the direction of the team under his leadership.
Rivera admits team needs to improve in all areas
Rivera, who is in his third season as the Commanders’ head coach, did not shy away from the criticism and admitted that his team needs to improve in all areas. He said that he was disappointed with the team’s execution and discipline, especially on defense, where they allowed Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields to have a career day with 312 passing yards and four touchdowns.
“We have to be better. We have to coach better, we have to play better, we have to do things better as a football team,” Rivera said in his postgame press conference. “We’re not playing smart, we’re not playing disciplined, we’re not playing consistent.”
Rivera also said that he was not concerned about his job security and that he was focused on finding solutions to turn the team around. He said that he still believes in his players and his staff, and that he will not panic or overreact after one bad game.
“I’m not worried about anything other than trying to get this football team headed in the right direction,” Rivera said. “I’m not going to sit here and make excuses or point fingers or anything like that. I’m going to take responsibility for it because it’s my football team.”
Bieniemy could be a potential replacement for Rivera
While Rivera may not be worried about his future, there are some who believe that he could be on his way out if the Commanders continue to struggle this season. One of the names that has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Rivera is offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who joined the team this offseason after serving as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for four years.
Bieniemy is widely regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the league and has been instrumental in developing Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes into a superstar. He has also been linked to several head coaching vacancies in the past few years, but has been passed over for unknown reasons.
Some analysts think that Bieniemy could be the perfect fit for the Commanders, who have a young and talented quarterback in Dwayne Haskins Jr., who was drafted with the second overall pick in 2022. Bieniemy could help Haskins reach his full potential and revamp the Commanders’ offense, which has been stagnant and predictable under Rivera.
However, Bieniemy may not be interested in leaving his current position with the Chiefs, who are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. He may also have other options if he decides to pursue a head coaching job elsewhere. Therefore, it is not certain that he would accept an offer from the Commanders if they decide to fire Rivera.