Ron Rivera will rely on an army of personnel spread throughout the country during his first NFL draft as coach of the Washington Redskins. But at home, he will need the help of two others to make it work: his wife and daughter.
Rivera’s wife, Stephanie, and daughter, Courtney, will play roles during the draft — allowing the coach to stay focused on the big-screen TVs and computers. His daughter, who works for the Redskins’ social media department, put together a video for USAA detailing Rivera’s home setup — and showing Stephanie keeping him fed with pancakes.
Their roles will be a little different Thursday night, however. They will take notes for Rivera during the draft and cross off names as they come off the board. Rivera also listed his wife’s cellphone number as an emergency contact number for the league.
“It’s teamwork, just like in the military,” Rivera said. “Everyone in the house will be doing something.”
You lead from the front and by example – lessons learned from my father’s experience in the @USArmy. It has guided me through life and to my job as new HC of the @redskins. Thanks to @USAA for sharing our behind-the-scenes look @ #NFLDraft prep #SaluteToService #HTTR #USAAPartner pic.twitter.com/KW4f4gkLeB
— Ron Rivera (@RiverboatRonHC) April 21, 2020
That includes his two dogs: a golden retriever named Tahoe and a rescue terrier lab mix named Sierra.
“Comfort support,” Rivera said.
It could be that kind of a night for everyone in the NFL, given the unprecedented nature of the event. The draft will be conducted remotely, instead of at one location, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Redskins have the No. 2 pick and are widely expected to draft Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, but Rivera said they have had conversations with teams about a possible trade.
League sources expect Washington to keep the pick, and a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Rivera and Young have had a one-on-one discussion in recent days that was very positive. Another source told ESPN that teams that have talked to the Redskins about a trade for the No. 2 pick lack the necessary assets to complete a deal. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Wednesday that one team already has laid out a “complete deal” for the selection.
“I always tell everybody, ‘You never know,'” Rivera said in a phone call Wednesday morning. “I do like where we are, I do like the circumstances, and I do like the players at that pick. With our first pick, it has to be an impact player.”
Rivera did say he would like to add picks in the middle rounds. The Redskins currently have one pick in the third round and two in the fourth.
But their draft preparation, like every other team’s, extends beyond picking players. It revolves around making their home setup as fail-proof as possible.
Rivera will have two televisions — one is 80 inches; the other is 60 — set up in his “war room” (his basement). The Redskins’ IT department provided three laptop computers, a desktop, two hardline phones, a speaker setup and a printer. One line will be connected to the league, and the other to Redskins’ coaches and front-office members. Owner Dan Snyder will be watching the proceedings from his home.
In addition to participating in the league’s mock draft, the Redskins have held two of their own, with a third scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. They conducted a four-round mock Tuesday. Kyle Smith, the team’s vice president of player personnel, has the same setup as Rivera and joked about a fire hazard.
“We said, ‘What are you talking about?'” Rivera said. “And he showed us his carpet and you could see the cables running on it. I said, ‘If you didn’t have the shag carpet, you wouldn’t have to worry about it.'”
Rivera said there have been no glitches thus far. They even conducted mock trades, which allowed them to go over a scenario in which one staffer, in charge of submitting names to the league, was also taking calls on trades.
While his dogs might provide comfort support, these exercises give Rivera even more.
“You know what, I don’t think I’m concerned,” Rivera said. “I really don’t. I feel good, knock on wood. It’s like in the military, they call these maneuvers. We’re practicing what we need to do. That’s what we’ve done. We’re working out the kinks.”
Rivera’s approach stems from another family member. His father, Eugenio, was an engineer in the U.S. Army, and Rivera has often cited that military background as critical to his coaching philosophy.
“He was always prepared to do something the regular soldier couldn’t as an engineer,” Rivera said. “The biggest thing growing up on Army bases is when you’re going to school at 7:30 in the morning and you see troops in formation or marching to firing ranges, there’s a discipline — and that’s a discipline you need.
“You have to be prepared and ready to handle all situations, circumstances. You truly get an opportunity to watch the teamwork.”