The Washington Commanders were blown out by the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving day as part of the NFL’s triple-header to open Week 12. The loss pushed Washington to 4-8 on the season and effectively ends their hopes for a playoff position this year. With rumors head coach Ron Rivera’s job could be on the line this season, the team has shaken up their coaching staff with the news that defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was fired Friday morning.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who first reported the move, indicated Rivera is expected to take over defensive play-calling duties. Rivera, the Carolina Panthers head coach from 2011-2019 before taking the Washington head coaching position in 2020, has previously served as a defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears (2004-2006) and San Diego Chargers (2008-2010).
The Commanders are 29th in the league in total defense this season, allowing 377.7 yards per game. They are 30th against the pass (264.6 yards allowed per game) and 19th against the run (113.1 yards per game). Washington is giving up the most points per game in the league, allowing an average of 29.2 this year.
Del Rio joined the Commanders in 2020 after having served as the Oakland Raiders’ head coach for 2015-2017. He was the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator from 2012-2014 after having been the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach from 2003-2011. He was the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator in 2002 and has also worked on the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints defensive coaching staffs.
He had an an 11-year NFL career, playing for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Minnesota Vikings from 1985-1995. In 1996, Del Rio signed with the Miami Dolphins but lost his roster spot during training camp when rookie linebacker Zach Thomas outplayed him, starting a Hall of Fame career.
The Commanders are scheduled to host the Dolphins in Week 13. The Dolphins have the league’s top-ranked offense heading into Week 12. They face the New York Jets on Friday before they turn their attention to the Commanders.
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