SNIDER: Are Redskins any closer to a Super Bowl?

Rick Snider
April 02, 2020 - 4:36 pm
Are Redskins any closer to a Super Bowl?

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

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Kendall Fuller's two-year exile from the Redskins worked out pretty well. The corner grew under a great organization complete with a Super Bowl victory parade in Kansas City.

"We gotta get one to D.C.," he told Redskins media in a teleconference on Wednesday.

And that prompts the thought – how much closer are the Redskins to a championship parade after changing coaches, front office and probably half the roster following a 3-13 season? How long before the Redskins join the Nationals and Capitals with a victory parade down Constitution Ave.? (The Mystics, too, once the pandemic ends.)

Maybe closer than you think in a league where awful-to-awesome are sometimes just a few seasons apart.

The key for the Redskins is coach Ron Rivera's style. In particular, his practices. Rivera's past Carolina days when ramping the Panthers into a Super Bowl 50 team have shown the coach to be brutally honest in the film room with players when missing assignments. Like six-time champion Bill Belichick with the Patriots, they are simply not punishing players for mistakes with ridicule, but trying to create teachable moments.

Rivera is a classic one-minute manager much like late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. The Squire would brutally criticize a staffer for 30 seconds over something as trivial as not using both sides of a paper to save money, but then inspire them by saying he knows they can do better. Assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell used to say he'd go to war for Cooke after those talks.

Rivera needs to inspire players by tapping into their desire to do better. It's something several incoming free agents said earlier this week on why they want to play for a no-nonsense coach.

"He's not a coach that beats you when you're down," said linebacker Thomas Davis, who played under Rivera in Carolina from 2011-18. "He's not a coach that if you make a mistake or if you go out and you don't have a particularly good game, he's not that coach that's going to be the guy that cusses you. He's going to do whatever he can to lift your spirits and make sure that he motivates you to be better the next game."

Next is a sense of urgency during practices. When Norv Turner arrived in Washington in 1994 after winning two straight Super Bowls as Dallas' offensive coordinator, he often screamed at the offense to get back into the huddle quickly after messing up a play. Fuller echoed several teammates that winning is done during midweek, not Sundays.

"Really just that mindset and that work ethic, day in and day out," Fuller said. "I think my two years in Kansas City, it was almost like we felt like we put way too much work in day in and day out, starting from OTAs to that. It wasn't an option."

"We can't do OTAs right now, but I think from day one when we're in the building it's that mindset, that work ethic, just everybody helping each other. Everybody becoming one, everybody being a leader, everybody pushing everybody, everybody teaching everybody and everybody just coming together as one."

And then everyone come together to celebrate like the Redskins glory days under coach Joe Gibbs, rather than constant offseason turnover over nearly 30 years.

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

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