Washinton Redskins to Name Ron Rivera the Team’s New Head Coach

Ron Riverahas a hot job prospect…

The Washington Redskins are expected to hire the 57-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American former Carolina Panthers coach as their next head coach, barring unforeseen developments, according to ESPN.

Ron Rivera

The news comes on the same day that Washington parted ways with team president Bruce Allen.

The Redskins hope the moves can revive a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in 14 seasons and faces plummeting attendance.

Rivera would become the seventh head coach hired by owner Dan Snyder. Because Rivera is a minority candidate, the Redskins could fulfill the Rooney Ruleimmediately.

Carolina fired Rivera on December 3with a 5-7 record, and he was viewed as a strong candidate for any opening.

The Redskins fired Jay Gruden after an 0-5 startin his sixth season. Some players bemoaned a lack of discipline, something interim coach Bill Callahan said he wanted to correct.

Allen was the primary voice in Washington’s football matters since the firing of coach Mike Shanahan in 2013. The Redskins hired Scot McCloughan as general manager after the 2014 season, but he was fired after the 2016 season, and Allen regained control. Snyder had hired Allen to be his top executive late in the 2009 season.

The team released a statement from Snyder on Monday morning regarding Allen’s ouster:

“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as President of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization. Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process of winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington D.C.”

Now the team turns to Rivera. He’ll try to revive a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015 and hasn’t won a postseason game since 2005. Attendance at Washington home games has plummeted, and opposing fans often outnumber Redskins fans. Washington ranked 19th in the NFL in attendance and 30th in percentage of seats used this season.

Rivera quickly turned around the Panthers, who went 2-14 in 2010, the season before he took over. Three seasons later, they went 12-4. In 2015, they were 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl. Rivera compiled a 76-63-1 record with Carolina, although the Panthers had only three winning seasons in his eight full years. They reached the playoffs four times, including in 2014 with a 7-8-1 record, and won the NFC South three seasons in a row.

“He gets the best out of players,” said cornerback Josh Norman, who played for Rivera in Carolina. “And not just players, but men. He builds men and guys and also builds character.”

Norman said the Redskins’ culture would be entirely different with Rivera as head coach. It has been an issue with Allen in charge, and even quarterback Case Keenum on Monday said of the organization, “I think there are some cultural things that need to be addressed.”

Washington, meanwhile, has had quite a fall from grace for a franchise that played in five Super Bowls — and won three — between 1972 and 1991.

The franchise has been beset by conflicts; one former member of the Redskins’ football department said the team would win again when the “non-football people stop making football decisions.” Players have often complained about the overall culture at Redskins Parkoutside of the locker room. Among other things, they point to a facility that lags behind most in the NFL despite having been updated in recent years.

This season, a key storyline involved the holdout by seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams. Allen didn’t trade him by the October 29 deadline, prompting Williams to report to the team — but also to rip the franchiseover a loss of trust stemming from medical issues. Williams later said he would not have said anything had the Redskins traded him; he had strong support from teammates.

It adds up to why the Redskins needed change. Sources said the Redskins knew they needed a strong leader, someone with previous head-coaching experience — and who has had success.

Rivera had a reputation in Carolina for being firm with players but also for getting to know them beyond the field.

Rivera also was Chicago’s defensive coordinator in 2006 when the Bears reached the Super Bowl. He served in the same role from 2008 to 2010 with the San Diego Chargers. Carolina hired him as its head coach in January 2011. With the Panthers, Rivera earned a reputation in his first two seasons for being conservative. But in 2013, he changed tactics and became known as “Riverboat Ron” for what others called gambling on specific playcalls; he referred to the decisions as “calculated risks.”

In Washington, he’ll inherit a team with plenty of young players, including quarterback Dwayne Haskins. By season’s end, partly because of injuries, the Redskins had used 12 players age 25 or younger as consistent starters. Washington also owns the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Allen had a legacy with the franchise. His father, George, coached the Redskins from 1971 to 1977, guiding the team to its first Super Bowl, where it lost to Miami. He had turned around a franchise that had floundered throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

But his son could not duplicate that success from an executive position. Bruce Allen became a divisive figure for the fans. During his 10-year tenure, the Redskins won the NFC East twice but finished with double-digit losses five times and never won more than 10 games. They made just two playoff appearances, losing in the first round each time. The Redskins were 62-97-1 under Allen. After a four-year stretch in which they were a combined 31-32-1 with two injury-filled seasons, they plummeted to new lows in 2019. The Redskins’ 3-13 record this season included eight losses by 10 or more points.

Allen was named the 2002 Sporting News Executive of the Year while with the Oakland Raiders. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 as a general manager but was fired after the 2008 season.

Bufoni to Appear at the 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

Leticia Bufoni is ready to Kid around…

The 23-year-old Brazilian professional street skateboarder is among several top athletes who’ve signed on to take part in the 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.

Leticia Bufoni

Bufoni, who became the only female athlete to win three X Games gold medals in the same year back in 2013, is nominated in the Queen of Swag category.

In addition to Bufoni, other top athletes set to participate include Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

In addition, Nickelodeon has lined up Nick Cannon, along with several other top athletes, to hit the stage at UCLA‘s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Also taking part are Curry’s Warriors teammate Klay Thompson and fellow NBA pro Iman Shumper (Cleveland Cavaliers); NFL players Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Von Miller (Denver Broncos); MLB player Prince Fielder (Texas Rangers); NHL player Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles Kings); Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza (American Pharoah); professional snowboarder Jamie Anderson; and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.

The awards show is set to tape Thursday and will air from 8:00-9:30 pm ET/PT on July 17.

Seattle Seahawks two-time Super Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson will return as host, and retired NBA star Kobe Bryant is set to receive the Legend Award.

Aguayo Drafted in the Second Round of the NFL Draft

Roberto Aguayo is headed to the National Football League

The 21-year-old Latino kicker, who played for Florida State, was picked in the second round of the NFL draft.

Roberto Aguayo

Aguayo, the 59th pick overall, was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the highest-drafted kicker since Mike Nugent in 2005.

The NFL’s lengthened extra point has put new emphasis on the play, now effectively a 33-yard attempt. Aguayo was perfect on his 198 PATs in college. More pertinent, the 2013 Lou Groza Award winner was 69-for-78 (88.5%) on field-goal tries and didn’t miss on any of his 49 attempts inside 40 yards.

Aguayo, quarterback Jameis Winston‘s teammate at FSU, expressed a desire to play for the Bucs and seems likely to hold the job for years to come.

But Aguayo wasn’t the only Latino footballer picked during this year’s NFL draft…

Blake Martinez is headed to the Green Bay Packers

The Packers selected the Latino inside from Stanford with the 131st pick, which arrived late in the fourth round, and contained a bit of a premonition from his mother, Carrisa Martinez.

“The funny part of it was, (my mom) was always telling me throughout the process, she was like, ‘I believe you’re going to end up at the Packers,'” Martinez said on a conference call. “And obviously it was just a lucky guess type of thing, but it’s just funny. My mom said right after, ‘Moms are always right.’ And I’ll take it.”

When his moment arrived, Martinez donned a green Packers hat and matching gray T-shirt, and immediately posted a family photo on social media. His father, Marc, had bought the gear in a pre-draft shopping spree that accumulated gear from all 32 teams — just in case.

Martinez, who stands 6 feet 1 1/2 inches and weighs 240 pounds, earned All-American honors in 2015 and was also named first-team all-Pac-12.

He recorded a team-high 141 tackles last season, and his 10.1 tackles per game led the conference.

The Packers, according to director of football operations Eliot Wolf, were enamored of Martinez’s all-around game. He flashed the ability to blitz, evidenced by 13 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks over the last two years. He expressed confidence in his ability to cover, and Martinez said he served as the main coverage linebacker in nickel and dime packages last season. His 40-yard dash time of 4.67 seconds is far from blazing, but Wolf said the Packers have no qualms about his mobility or range.

“I felt like this last year I improved tremendously on that,” Martinez said. “I feel 100% confident to go out there and cover whoever I need to cover.”

Oklahoma’s Zack Sanchez was picked in Round 5 by the Carolina Panthers.

The 21-year-old Latino cornerback, picked 141st overall, is a ball-hawk who intercepted 13 passes over the past two seasons. His seven picks in 2015 tied for fifth nationally. Sanchez was not afraid to gamble, and sometimes paid for his mistakes. During his career at Oklahoma, he also recorded 134 tackles and three touchdowns.

“He’s instinctive. I think when you get into the fourth or fifth rounds, and find a cornerback with some instincts, this is a great pick,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.

Thomas Duarte is switching coasts…

The 21-year-old half-Mexican American receiver, who played for UCLA, was picked in the seventh round by the Miami Dolphins.

The 231st pick overall, the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Duarte was drafted as a tight end.

Duarte turned pro with a season of eligibility remaining. He ranked second on the Bruins last season with 53 receptions for 872 yards and a team-best 10 touchdown receptions.

Rivera to Return as Carolina Panthers Head Coach

It’s official… Ron Rivera won’t be leaving Panther Nation just yet…

The 51-year-old half-Puerto Rican/half-Mexican American NFL football coach will be back at the helm as head coach of the Carolina Panthers for the 2013, according to a team spokesperson.

Ron Rivera II

Rivera and team owner Jerry Richardson have agreed to keep working together for a third season, said Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton., after a meeting between the two.
The head coach is “going about normal preparations for next season,” said Dayton.

Rivera’s fate was up in the air after the Panthers went 7-9 this season, but Richardson decided the head coach had done a good job with the team.

Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney after the Panthers got off to a 1-5 start. The Panthers went 6-4 from that point out, including four straight wins to close the season.

Rivera, the only Latino head coach in the NFL, has two years left on his contract.