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Ron Rivera on tenure in Washington: 'I'd like to think we're in a better place'

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera sits in an odd spot, knowing significant changes are likely coming this offseason while simultaneously trying to get ready for a divisional tilt against Dallas in the regular-season finale.

Rivera took over in D.C. in 2020, netting an NFC East title in his first year despite a 7-9 record. In four seasons, the coach sits with a 26-39-1 record but has also aided the club in getting through a trove of off-field issues in those years.

Ahead of what is widely viewed as likely his final game with the club, Rivera was asked how he feels things have improved since he took over.

"Well, I'd like to think we're in a better place, probably a fair way to say it," he said on Tuesday, via the team's official transcript. "I most certainly do appreciate my time here, and we'll see what happens. And again, we'll focus in on what's coming first on Sunday, and that's getting ready for Dallas."

The 61-year-old noted that he's proud of how the club turned around its values during his four seasons.

"What we've done with the culture," he said. "I think that was one of the things that somebody asked me the same question, I said, the biggest thing more so than anything else I think is I kind of like where we are. Obviously, it's not where we want to be, but that's just the nature of this game sometimes."

With new ownership expected to make big changes after taking over the club in late July, Rivera was under the microscope all season. Things started well with a 2-0 record out of the gate, but losing streaks followed, including their current seven-game skid ahead of the Cowboys game on Sunday.

Rivera was asked about how he'll remember this 2023 team.

"Well, that's probably a good word for it [grinding] because the way these guys have played the last few weeks, they've been very gritty, they've fought, they've played to the end," he said on Tuesday. "I think that's one of the things that's gratifying as far as being a coach is concerned is having guys that just fight. They're rugged, they don't back down from anybody. And sure, obviously we had expectations, higher expectations than where we are, but heck, there's not much more you can do than just keep showing up and playing hard."

After just under nine seasons in Carolina and his four years in Washington, Rivera has compiled a 102-102-2 regular-season record as a head coach ahead of Sunday's game. His teams are 3-5 in the postseason, with one trip to the Super Bowl in 2015 with the Panthers.

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