Rivera: No staff changes amid Commanders’ skid

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera said he would not make any staff changes, despite three consecutive losses and subpar play by the defense.

The Commanders (2-3) lost to the previously winless Chicago Bears, 40-20, Thursday — the fourth consecutive game Washington has allowed 30 or more points. It’s the first time that’s happened in franchise history.

“No, no,” Rivera said when asked about possible staff changes. “We’re, what, at Game 5; we’ve got 12 left to play. There’s plenty of football left.”

The Commanders rank 31st in points allowed per game and 25th in yards. Last season, they finished third in yards and seventh in points. But they also started slow in 2022 as well, ranking 18th in points and 19th in yards after six games before finishing strong.

They lost one starter, linebacker Cole Holcomb, to free agency and secondary coach Chris Harris left to become Tennessee’s defensive pass game coordinator and cornerbacks coach.

Washington’s defense includes six No. 1 draft picks, including all four starters on the line and struggling rookie corner Emmanuel Forbes, who was benched in the second half Thursday.

After the game, Rivera said having extra time before their Oct. 15 game at Atlanta will give them a chance to reevaluate what they’re doing. And, he said after the game, he would consider changes whether schematically or personnel.

“But we’ve got to go through this and we’ll take our time and really look at it,” he said.

It’s also a key year for Rivera, in his fourth year but with a new owner in Josh Harris. But Harris has said he wants to give everyone the season so he can fully evaluate their futures.

Thursday also represented Washington’s third consecutive sellout, having built momentum with the sale of the team to Harris and with two wins to open the season.

But Thursday’s loss has dulled a lot of the positive vibes surrounding the team. Even limited partner Magic Johnson tweeted after the game that the team lacked intensity and fire in the first half. Fans booed as the players headed to the locker room at halftime, trailing 27-3.

“I’m disappointed that we let them down and a lot of it begins with me,” Rivera said. “I got to make sure that we’re doing the things the way we need to get them done. And obviously we didn’t. That’s on me. We’ll get those things corrected. We have some young players that we’re trying to develop. Every time we play though, we’re going to play to win. Sometimes our best isn’t as good as it needs to be. We got to get those things corrected and that’s the truth of the matter.”

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