The regular season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its second season under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.
There are a lot of people Ron Rivera credits as influencing his coaching career. Kansas City Chief coach Andy Reid sits at the top of that list.
"Well, I think the biggest thing more so than anything else is he gave me my first opportunity as a positional coach," Rivera said Wednesday. "Then he helped train me, put me on the road to where I am today."
Rivera started his coaching career with the Chicago Bears as a defensive quality control coach in 1997, but it was Reid, then the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, who took a chance on Rivera two years later and hired him as his linebackers coach in 1999. Rivera was on Reid's coaching staff for five seasons, and during that time the Eagles went to four NFC Championship games.
It was that time with Reid that propelled Rivera to his first stint as a defensive coordinator with the Bears and his first opportunity as a head coach in 2011. Now, as Rivera prepares to face Reid ahead of the Washington Football Team's game against the Chiefs, he's reflected on how much Reid has meant to his career.
"I learned a lot of the things that I do today," Rivera said. "I try to mimic him to a degree and that's why he means so much to a lot of us."
The Washington Football Team prepares to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a Week 6 matchup. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)
Kendall Fuller will be in a unique position this week, because he's seen how both coaches operate. The similarities, he said, are clear to him. They both expect a lot out of their players, and there's always a quick and efficient tempo during practices.
Practice structure, as it turns out, is a big part of what Reid's style that Rivera has tried to replicate. The old ways of conditioning players are gone, Rivera said, so he and Reid try to get his players in shape during the reps.
"It's always about tempo and practicing fast and going and doing everything quickly," Rivera said. "That's what gets the heart rate going."
Mimicking game speed is difficult in practice, Rivera added, but that strategy gets his team about as close to it as it possibly can.
"Just getting everybody to understand the way we want to practice and the tempo in which we want to practice," Rivera said.
That speed will come in handy, especially against a Chiefs offense that has sat comfortably near the top of the league rankings since Patrick Mahomes became the starting quarterback. If teams come prepared and are "ready to roll," Rivera said it gives them a chance to win.
"Andy does a great job," Rivera said. "I was fortunate enough to have been with him for five seasons, see how he's done things and then coached against him. And, if we do things right, we give ourselves a chance."
Rivera hasn't had much of a chance to speak with Reid recently, but he has been a consistent fountain of knowledge that Rivera still goes back to whenever possible.
"He's been a guy that...a lot of coaches that worked for him are able to reach out to him and ask him questions and ask his advice," Rivera said. "He's been great about that. He really has."
On Sunday, Reid will get a chance to see his protege's squad in action two years into Rivera's journey to rebuild Washington into a contender. From what Reid has seen so far, he's on the right path.
"They're well coached," Reid said. "First of all, that defensive front is strong. That's a good group. Jack does a heck of a Job, and Ron, they're on the same page. They're aggressive, so we'll have to put together a good game plan to be sharp."