Jonathan Allen understands why Ron Rivera is taking heat right now.
He also thinks the underperformance of players shouldn’t be ignored.
Allen and the Washington Commanders sit at 1-3 on the season, their lone win coming against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1. In the weeks since, they’ve proven that at present they simply aren’t capable of hanging around with the best teams in the conference – losing to the Lions, Eagles and Cowboys.
With that has come a rise in calls for the Commanders to fire their head coach. Sportsbooks already had Rivera as one of the favorites to be the first coach canned this season, and the Commanders’ performance out of the gate has lent credence to the belief that Washington might have to move on in-season.
During his weekly interview on “The Sports Junkies”, Allen gave his thoughts on that chatter.
"I think Coach Rivera is a great leader of men,” Allen said Tuesday. “I feel like any great head coach has to be that, and I think that’s what makes (Nick) Saban such a great coach, getting all these 18-19-year-old five-stars to buy into one principal. I think coach Rivera is really good at doing that.
Then came the caveat.
“The problem is, in college that’s enough to beat a lot of teams when you have more talent. In the NFL, just having everybody bought in isn't enough, players still got to go out there and execute.”
And while Allen is more of an example of a positive with the Commanders right now, thus far the players as a whole haven’t held up on their end of the bargain. That’s what Allen is focusing on.
“Me, personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘coaches are doing this, the coaches are doing that,’ because at the end of the day I’m the one who has to go out there and execute. My coaches aren’t out there playing the double-teams, I’m the one playing them.
“Players, we’ve just got to do better. Everybody has to do better. I don’t think it’s fair to put it on one guy, but him being the head coach, he’s going to take most of the criticism.”
The Commanders will look to get back on track Sunday when they host the Tennessee Titans at FedExField.