SNIDER: Rivera keeps remaking Washington Football Team in his image


Club Jay membership is getting pretty exclusive.

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera has dispersed predecessor Jay Gruden's roster and that's a good thing, given the latter was only 3-13 in 2019. Only 16 players were Redskins before Rivera's Jan. 2020 arrival.

No need to worry about buying a current jersey cause chances are your favorite player won't be here long. Rivera has a get-better-or-get-out policy without malice. Upgrading the roster means saying goodbye to players who were good enough to play on past teams, but not on an improving one this season.

Rivera is not sentimental or Cam Newton would have signed in Washington last year, much less now that he's a free agent once more. Rivera is a realist that doesn't invest in past success, but in future wins.

Jimmy Moreland, Antonio-Gandy Golden, Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon and Danny Johnson were among recent cuts as Washington reached its 53-player limit on Tuesday. Who knows – there may be a few more moves as Washington scans the waiver wire for upgrades.

Rivera bolstered the defense by adding Chase Young, Jamin Davis, Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III, but this unit was largely inherited thanks to three recent first-round picks on the line. It's the offense that Rivera remade. It's no longer receiver Terry McLaurin and dump-off passes. Rivera has a new cast of targets, new backfield and three quarterbacks.

Forgive Rivera for keeping a developmental player in Sammis Reyes, a Chilean basketball player who never played in a football game until Aug. 12. The prospect of a 6-feet-7, 240-pound blocking tight end was too enticing for Rivera, despite needing a couple years of practices before truly contributing.

Rivera also chose undrafted rookie running back Jaret Patterson over veteran Peyton Barber despite wildly different styles. Rivera's not just investing in a feel-good story of a local player, but rather viewed Barber as a declining asset.

Keeping Troy Apke was social media fire and the corner was a Gruden player. He's not supposed to be a defensive regular, but injuries forced him to play too often over the past two seasons. Apke was retained more for special teams than defense, but Twitter trolls wanted him driven from the lands. Good thing for Apke that Rivera doesn't coach by polls.

Rivera's turnover isn't that different than most coaches, who typically change one-third of the players over each of the first two years. By next season, nearly half the carryovers could leave as free agents or cuts.

And then Club Jay will be as scarce as Members Only jackets.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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