Washington Nationals Extend The Contract of World Series Champion Manager, Dave Martinez

Written By: Devin Garner

After the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series under the leadership of second year manager, Dave Martinez, they knew that they had to lock him up for years to come. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Martinez received a three-year, seven and a half million dollar contract, according to ESPN.

When arriving in Washington to become the manager in 2018, he had high expectations after the team had not won a playoff series since returning to Washington. Not only had the team not won a playoff series since returning to Washington, they also had recently let go of highly-renowned manager, Dusty Baker. Upon the hiring of Martinez, General Manager Mike Rizzo argued in a statement to Eddie Matz of ESPN, “Winning a lot of regular-season games and winning divisions are not enough.” He went on to say that, “Our goal is to win a World Championship.”

While the bar was set high for Martinez upon his arrival in Washington, his team scuffled greatly in his first year as manager. The team finished with a record of 82-80 and missed out on the playoffs. Numerous fans and Major League executives were calling for the dismissal of the first- year manager as his team had failed to even make the playoffs with an elite lineup and a star-studded pitching rotation. In an interview done by RADIO.com with former Major League Baseball executive Jim Bowden in regards to what he would have done during the dismal season, “I would have fired [Martinez midseason] and brought in Joe Girardi, try to win right now.” In continuing to remark on the moves that he would have made, he states: “That is what I would have done. That is a 95-win club. Why are [The Nationals] at .500? They let Dusty Baker go because they thought Dave Martinez would do a better job in October. Well, you got to get to October.” 

Facing sharp criticism, Martinez remained at the helm of the team heading into the 2019 season. However, the team once again faced another horrible start as their record hit 19-31 on May 23 and they had a 3.4% chance of winning the World Series. The future looked bleak and it appeared that the second manager would soon be headed out the door.

However, Martinez remained calm and collected and did not let the chatter of being fired affect him. He continued to manage his team and let his veteran players guide them through the tumultuous stretch. The team quickly turned around their season and soon found themselves in the playoff picture. The team added key players such as Gerardo Parra, Asdrubal Cabrera and Daniel Hudson. Martinez continued to believe in his players and they continued to believe in him. At the end of the season, the team finished with a record of 93-69 and clinched a wildcard spot in which they would face off against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

The rest is history as the ballclub was able to knock off the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros in stunning fashion to win a World Championship. While many were calling for the manager to be fired, he proved them wrong and showed them that he indeed was the right choice for the job.

Now, Martinez is getting rewarded for his stellar performance as the manager of the Washington Nationals and will find himself managing the team for years to come. In an interview with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post, the Nationals ace pitcher and face of the franchise, Max Scherzer, had glowing remarks on the contract of his manager. He stated that, “[Martinez] is everything you want in a manager,” as he goes on to state, “That’s why I am happy the organization was able to sign him back. He just has the feel for the game.”

Dave Martinez will now head into the offseason with reassurance as he knows that he will be returning to manage the red and white on South Capitol Street. As a lifetime baseball player and coach who has preserved through many obstacles, nobody deserves this more than Dave Martinez, the 2019 World Series Champion manager.

St. Mary’s Softball Club Holds Meeting, Looking for More Players to Begin

Written By: Maggie Warnick

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, an interest meeting for the return of a club softball team at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) was held. The meeting addressed St. Mary’s club softball teams in the past, as well as what interested parties need to do in order to play. Maribeth Ganzell, club sport coordinator and athletic trainer at SMCM, stressed that the team can be whatever the players want it to be, no experience necessary, and that the goal is just to get the club off the ground. Olivia Sothoron (‘22), president of the club described her objectives for the club, stating that: “The softball club will host gender inclusive gatherings for people across campus to play softball while remaining socially distanced, of course. I am excited for the fun activities we have planned for this semester!” According to Ganzell, most of the elements are in place, but players are in short supply. Prospective players will need to complete all the items on the individual athlete checklist, located on SMCM’s club sport website. This checklist includes a physical, which will need to be completed before practicing. Although physicals are only offered off-campus this semester, they can be scheduled through the Wellness Center. Interested parties can contact smcmclubsoftball@gmail.com to learn more about the club’s proceedings this semester, as well as follow @smcmclubsoftball on instagram.

This Month in St. Mary’s Sports History: September and October

Written By: Maggie Warnick

Photo courtesy of SMCM Athletics and SMCM.

September 1954- The St. Mary’s Seminary Volleyball Triple Round Robin Tournament began, and each class chose their names. According to The Signal News, the newspaper of the college at the time, the seniors were “The Sexy Senior Sirens,” the juniors were the “Volley Belles and their Beaux,” the sophomores were the “Happy Wanderers” and the freshmen were the “Jumping Beans.” The sophomores beat the freshmen in the first game, and the juniors beat the seniors in the second game. 

October 1971- Intramural flag football began a new season at St. Mary’s. There were seven teams, some sponsored by local businesses. One team was sponsored by a local liquor store, which promised the team a free case of beer for every touchdown, win or lose. 1971 was the first year there was an all-women’s team— “The Rag Dolls.” According to The Empath, the college’s newspaper at the time, the women’s team played against the men’s teams “under limited rules” and “seem to have scored a major victory for women’s rights in southern Maryland.”

September 1984- Two St. Mary’s Olympians received honorary medals after participating in the Olympics that past summer. The Olympians were Scott Steele (‘81), a windsurfer, and Bruce Merrit (‘84), a canoeist. According to an interview with The Empath, Steele learned to windsurf at St. Mary’s, often skipping class to practice. He was sponsored by the SGA to attend an international competition in 1979, and in 1983 he was recognized as the world champion board sailor. He won a silver medal at the Olympics. Merrit was in his second year at St. Mary’s when he took a leave of absence to train. He became a part of the first US canoeing squad in 16 years to make the finals. Both Steele and Merrit declared plans to train for the 1988 Olympics. 

October 2001- Ryan Olsen, a forward on the men’s soccer team at St. Mary’s, broke the school record for most single season goals scored, as reported by “The Point News.” Olsen was previously the Capital Athletic Conference and “The Point News” athlete of the week. This came at the end of a great week for the team, in which they added five wins to their record, which by end of the week was 8-3. 

October 2016- According to “The Point News,” the St. Mary’s crew team, created in the 1980’s, became a varsity sport. Previously a club, the decision was made in 2014 to make the team a varsity sport if determined that it was feasible. After this approval, they competed for the first time in 2016 with over 60 rowers. The head coach at the time, Daniel Hagelberg, said that he placed an emphasis on accepting rowers of all skill levels and creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere, an emphasis that has continued throughout the crew seasons since 2016.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Welcomes Aboard Crystal Gibson as New Athletic Director

Written By: Devin Garner

Following the retirement of longtime athletic director Scott Devine, the school welcomes back former St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) women’s basketball coach Crystal Gibson as the new Athletic Director. According to Inside SMCM, Gibson spent the last three years at Susquehanna University as the associate director of athletics and the interim director of athletics.

Gibson is no stranger to SMCM athletics as she previously served as the women’s basketball coach from 2011 to 2017. When asking Gibson what brought her back to the school, she stated, “St. Mary’s always felt like a special place to me, from the first time I interviewed here nine years ago for the head women’s basketball position. The people, the eagerness and intelligence of the students and the ability to communicate across campus are all things that brought me here initially and I was very excited to be able to return.”

She brings an impressive resume into her tenure at St. Mary’s. Following her graduation, Gibson began working in athletics at Lebanon Valley College. At Lebanon Valley, she held numerous roles including assistant women’s basketball coach, assistant track and field coach and worked directly with the athletic director. After leaving Lebanon Valley, she went onto Frostburg State University to become the top assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. After gaining experience at Frostburg State, she went on to become the head women’s basketball coach at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania where she also served as the assistant sports information director. Upon leaving Arcadia, she came to SMCM to become the head women’s basketball coach and even held the senior woman administrator position, where she helped to establish the first Title IX review. Following her time at SMCM, she became the associate director and then interim director at Susquehanna University. In regards to the abundance of experience that she brings to St. Mary’s, Gibson remarks: “It has been a journey, but an amazing ride. I cannot wait to continue here.”

With the abundance of experience that Gibson comes in with, she is sure to handle the responsibilities of athletic director in stride. At SMCM, she holds duties such as overseeing and supporting coaches and staff, departmental budgets, staffing, and working with numerous offices across campus. She must also stay informed with NCAA regulations. 

Gibson also has goals for her tenure at SMCM. She argues: “I want to continue to push the envelope and improve athletics and student-athletes relationships across campus. I believe by working together it only makes this amazing place even better.” She states that there are three big initiatives that she has pushed for her staff since arriving. Those include the areas of diversity and inclusion, mental health awareness and leadership development. She also states, “I want to continue providing and improving on the experience of our student-athletes, from game environment, to competitiveness, to growth in and outside their support.” 

While Gibson has a lot of goals in mind, she acknowledges the phenomenal staff that she has in place already. She glowingly states, “I believe we have an amazing group of coaches and staff members in the athletic department, all working together to try and achieve the same mission, providing a first-class experience for our student-athletes.” When continuing to ask her if her previous history of coaching women’s basketball will lead her into assisting the SMCM women’s basketball team, she remarks, “I plan to be an amazing fan!”

With an abundance of experience and a love for SMCM, it is obvious that the college chose the perfect person for the job. Gibson will be sure to provide student-athletes and students a college athletic experience like no other.

Professional Sports Teams Continue To Protest

Written By: Annilee Hampton

PALMETTO, FLORIDA – AUGUST 26: After the WNBA announcement of the postponed games for the evening, the Washington Mystics each wear white T-shirts with seven bullets on the back protesting the shooting of Jacob Black by Kenosha, Wisconsin police at Feld Entertainment Center on August 26, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

There has been a long legacy of athletes advocating for social justice, and 2020 has been a historic year in terms of protest. There has been an unprecedented amount of demand for justice, with many people in the sports world using their platforms to promote social change.

Throughout the season, many NBA players have been wearing jerseys with phrases such as “Equality,” “Say Her Name” and “Black Lives Matter” on the back. In August, teams went as far as boycotting the playoff games. This form of protest began with the Milwaukee Bucks neglecting to appear on the court for their 4 p.m. tip-off. News soon spread that they were boycotting the game following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WA. The Bucks were followed by other teams including the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trailblazers. WNBA games were cancelled as well, along with several MLB games. In addition to the boycotts, Bucks players spoke to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, as well as giving a statement urging the Wisconsin legislature to reconvene and consider bills on policing reform. “Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we have seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha and the additional shooting of protestors,” said Sterling Brown, a Bucks player. “Despite the overwhelming pleas for change, there have been no actions, so our focus cannot be on basketball.”

Initially the NHL drew widespread criticism by not joining the other leagues in protesting, with the only acknowledgement of Jacob Blake being a “moment of reflection” before the Tampa Bay-Boston game in Toronto. The decision to postpone Stanley Cup playoffs was later announced in a joint statement from the NHL and NHLPA. “If you look around this room there is a lot of white athletes in here and I think that is a statement … for all these athletes in here to take a stand … I go to war with these guys and hate their guts on the ice, but I couldn’t be more proud,” said Vegas Golden Knights player Ryan Reaves. 

While boycotts have ended for now, professional athletes continue to speak out against racism and police brutality. Multiple athletes spoke out on social media in response to the Sept. 23 ruling that officer Brett Hankinson would be indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree in the March shooting that killed Louisville woman Breonna Taylor. Quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick, whose national anthem protests in 2016 drew widespread attention, stated in a tweet on Sept. 23, “The white supremacist institution of policing that stole Breonna Taylor’s life from us must be abolished for the safety and well being of our people.”In addition, Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone told ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “It’s tragic… A lot of players on our team have spoken out for justice for Breonna Taylor, and we have not gotten justice.” 

Countless athletes have advocated for social change throughout history, and it is clear that they will continue to do so today.

Washington Nationals Extend The Contract of World Series Champion Manager, Dave Martinez

Written By: Devin Garner

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 26: Manager Dave Martinez #4 of the Washington Nationals looks on against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Nationals Park on September 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

After the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series under the leadership of second year manager, Dave Martinez, they knew that they had to lock him up for years to come. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Martinez received a three-year, seven and a half million dollar contract, according to ESPN.

When arriving in Washington to become the manager in 2018, he had high expectations after the team had not won a playoff series since returning to Washington. Not only had the team not won a playoff series since returning to Washington, they also had recently let go of highly-renowned manager, Dusty Baker. Upon the hiring of Martinez, General Manager Mike Rizzo argued in a statement to Eddie Matz of ESPN, “Winning a lot of regular-season games and winning divisions are not enough.” He went on to say that, “Our goal is to win a World Championship.”

While the bar was set high for Martinez upon his arrival in Washington, his team scuffled greatly in his first year as manager. The team finished with a record of 82-80 and missed out on the playoffs. Numerous fans and Major League executives were calling for the dismissal of the first- year manager as his team had failed to even make the playoffs with an elite lineup and a star-studded pitching rotation. In an interview done by RADIO.com with former Major League Baseball executive Jim Bowden in regards to what he would have done during the dismal season, “I would have fired [Martinez midseason] and brought in Joe Girardi, try to win right now.” In continuing to remark on the moves that he would have made, he states: “That is what I would have done. That is a 95-win club. Why are [The Nationals] at .500? They let Dusty Baker go because they thought Dave Martinez would do a better job in October. Well, you got to get to October.” 

Facing sharp criticism, Martinez remained at the helm of the team heading into the 2019 season. However, the team once again faced another horrible start as their record hit 19-31 on May 23 and they had a 3.4% chance of winning the World Series. The future looked bleak and it appeared that the second manager would soon be headed out the door.

However, Martinez remained calm and collected and did not let the chatter of being fired affect him. He continued to manage his team and let his veteran players guide them through the tumultuous stretch. The team quickly turned around their season and soon found themselves in the playoff picture. The team added key players such as Gerardo Parra, Asdrubal Cabrera and Daniel Hudson. Martinez continued to believe in his players and they continued to believe in him. At the end of the season, the team finished with a record of 93-69 and clinched a wildcard spot in which they would face off against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

The rest is history as the ballclub was able to knock off the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros in stunning fashion to win a World Championship. While many were calling for the manager to be fired, he proved them wrong and showed them that he indeed was the right choice for the job.

Now, Martinez is getting rewarded for his stellar performance as the manager of the Washington Nationals and will find himself managing the team for years to come. In an interview with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post, the Nationals ace pitcher and face of the franchise, Max Scherzer, had glowing remarks on the contract of his manager. He stated that, “[Martinez] is everything you want in a manager,” as he goes on to state, “That’s why I am happy the organization was able to sign him back. He just has the feel for the game.”

Dave Martinez will now head into the offseason with reassurance as he knows that he will be returning to manage the red and white on South Capitol Street. As a lifetime baseball player and coach who has preserved through many obstacles, nobody deserves this more than Dave Martinez, the 2019 World Series Champion manager.

How Fall Sports Teams Are Handling COVID-19

Written By: Lily Tender

Over the summer, St. Mary’s released that no fall sports teams would be having their seasons due to COVID-19. And this was definitely a necessary protocol for safety, many student-athletes were distraught with the news. Junior Owen Smith mentioned that “the season being canceled was definitely hard for all of us at first. Although we’ve been able to adapt and do as much as we can while staying safe.” Staying safe is definitely a priority for athletes as they begin to phase into their practices. Aidan Kelley continues by saying that“Phase one practices are only up to ten people and require athletes to stay six feet apart with masks on. Phase one has larger groups while still keeping a six-foot distance and masks, phase three looks like a normal practice with masks on.” 

As of now practices are being pushed back as far as the school needs to ensure safety and it is unlikely that practices will get to phase three given the rising number of cases on campus. While discussing past seasons, Smith recounts how much he misses the social dynamic of soccer as he states“Just being around everybody all the time on the field, in the locker room, and on the bus.” He especially misses Coach Oliver. Luckily they are able to still maintain the social element while being safe. Many of the freshmen are missing out on the amazing moments that Smith describes that make not having a season so hard. However, Kelley says the upperclassmen are making sure that the freshmen feel included as he remarks“We hang out with them in small groups at the docks.” He continues“We try to make them feel at home because we feel bad they are missing the first part of their first season. We’ve been able to still get close to them.” Missing the end of their senior year of high school, and having a far from normal first semester at college can be tough, especially if you the students athletes were excited to play collegiate soccer. However the upperclassmen have their back. 

This school year is chaotic to say the least, but safety is extremely important, especially in major populations like sports teams. Making sure individuals limit their exposure, wash their hands, wear masks, and do not hang out ingroups larger than ten can help to keep the campus safe. While it is hard to predict the future, hopefully, if students follow safety protocols, the men’s soccer team, along with other sports teams, can have a spring season. Kelley was disappointed about not having a fall season, but he reports that “[he is] still optimistic about the future.” Hopefully, for the sake of the campus community and surrounding area, Kelley’s optimism holds true, as a spring season would mean a decline of COVID cases and an amazing opportunity for sports teams and other activities to do the activities that they have been missing.

St. Mary’s Volleyball Continues to Work, Hopeful For Possible Season

Written By: Devin Garner

As the Fall 2020 season was postponed earlier in the summer, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Women’s Volleyball team has had to find a way to stick together. Despite some of the players deciding to go fully remote this semester, they have still found a way to workout and bond. Taylor Wigglesworth (‘22) and Fatima Bouzid (‘22) have been key players for the team in years past and have had to find a way to adjust to having the season postponed. 

Wigglesworth opted to go fully remote this semester. While going fully remote can come with challenges, she has handled it in stride. She stated, “Since I am off campus, it takes more effort to make sure that I am still connecting with my teammates.” To accommodate the players that are off campus, she remarked that the team has been holding bi-weekly Zoom meetings. While the zoom meetings have not been the same as being in-person, they still have given players an opportunity to connect and hang out with one another. As she states, “It’s really hard not being at school together since the volleyball team is my main group of friends, so I enjoy having the opportunity to connect over Zoom.”

In these difficult times, coaches have had to step in and keep their team together. When asking Bouzid of how the team’s head coach Kelly Martin has had an impact throughout this time, she argued that, “Coach Martin has done an awesome job by keeping us updated whenever she can and by being very understanding when things pop up during these odd times.” Experienced players have also had to take a bigger role in leading their younger teammates through this time. When asking Wigglesworth of how she has served as a mentor to her younger teammates, she stated, “When the pandemic began, we began weekly Facetimes with each freshman entering the program… It was the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and give the freshman a chance to ask questions to ease any anxiety about the transition into college.”

While Bouzid acknowledges that the first practice had been pushed to Sept. 23, many of the players remain hopeful for a potential Spring season. Wigglesworth shared her excitement about the possibility of a Spring season by remarking, “We are very hopeful that we will be able to compete in the Spring. Although we do not want to get our hopes up… we are still staying focused.” Training comes with a lot of detail and hard work. As Wigglesworth argues about the efforts of the team, “We are continuing to work hard to make sure our bodies and minds will be ready to compete in the Spring if we are given the opportunity.”

Regardless of whether or not there is a Volleyball season in the Spring, the efforts and the preparation of the team have not gone unnoticed. As Bouzid explained, “I am just so proud of everyone for adapting to this situation and still working hard even though we cannot compete at this moment.” When the team does get back in action, be sure to go out to the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic Center to support the hard work put in by the St. Mary’s Volleyball program.

NFL Season Starts Up Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Written By: Annilee Hampton

The 2020 NFL season began as scheduled on Sept. 10th, 2020, with defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Houston Texans with a score of 34 – 20. However, this season looks much different than those in prior years. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a multitude of changes were implemented in order to create the safest environment possible for players and fans.

Stadiums will be admitting fans if it is possible under local health orders. During week two of the season, only three out of 16 stadiums will be admitting fans, with other stadiums leaving open the possibility of admitting spectators later in the season should conditions improve. The idea of only certain games having spectators has sparked discord amongst many coaches, arguing that spectators create a competitive advantage. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagreed, stating that there is no advantage in some teams having spectators present while others would not. “We do not see that. We obviously have varying capacities across the league, and from our standpoint, we want to invite our fans in if we can do it safely and we can do it with the full support of local officials. We think our fans want to come to the stadium,” he said. Fans will be required to wear face masks, and the rows of seating closest to the field will be closed. 

The NFL also has a complex contact tracing system in place. This summer, teams began using SafeZone tags, proximity recorders developed by German-based company Kinexon. Both the NBA and the NFL have been utilizing the devices to assist with social distancing and contract tracing in order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. When two people come within six feet of each other, the device will flash or sound an alarm as a warning signal. In addition, the devices will log a person’s contacts, providing information on who will need to take precautions in the event of a possible outbreak. This includes gathering information on in-game contact between players. “We all know that football and physical distance do not go together as far as on-field activity,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “So we really want to dive in and have the most accurate information we can have about exposures on the field, but also off the field as well.”

The league has banned television and radio reporters for the current season from the sidelines for the current season. Most reporters will now be stationed in the first few rows of the stands. Television broadcasters will be allowed only essential employees at field level. Each network will be permitted up to 46 employees on the field, with masks mandatory. Masks will also be required for coaches and staff members in the bench area. As a result of this, many game officials have opted to use hand-held electronic whistles rather than wearing regular whistles underneath their masks. 

After opening week, not one player was added to the league’s COVID-19 reserve list — an indication that the new guidelines have paid off. Still, says Cleveland Browns center and NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter, players must remain vigilant. “If there’s one thing we can all agree on,” Tretter stated, “it’s that we wish our reality today looked a bit different. The sooner we stop fighting each other and instead frame the virus as our common enemy, the closer we’ll get to the sense of normalcy that we all miss.”

Under New Leadership, the Washington Football Team Begins the Season Strong

Written By: Devin Garner

After ousting former head coach Jay Gruden in the middle of the 2019 season, the Washington Football Team seemed to be at a crossroads. Not only was the team struggling on the field, they were also struggling off the field with numerous conduct violations. Washington knew that they must hire a head coach who could change the culture of the team while also being a stabilizing figure, something that the team has not had for many years. Therefore, owner Daniel Synder went out and hired former head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera as the new head coach. After a 27 to 17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at FedexField on Sunday, Sept. 13, it appears that the Washington Football Team might have finally found the right coach for the job. 

Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node in the Summer, but stated that he still has plans on coaching his football team. However, he did acknowledge that he would be occasionally unable to attend practices, which would leave veteran defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in charge of the team’s operations. Even though Rivera has begun his treatments, he still found a way to coach and inspire his players in their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, snapping the six-game win streak that Philadelphia had previously held against Washington. 

On Sunday, the head coach’s first challenge came when he was unable to address his team at halftime due to the fact that he had to receive an IV for his cancer treatment. In Rivera’s absence, second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins stepped up and addressed his team as they were down at halftime. Les Carpenter of “The Washington Post” states that, “the fact it was Dwayne Haskins, the team’s 23-year-old, second-year quarterback and the player that Rivera has perhaps pushed hardest to be a leader, seemed to please [Rivera] more.”

While the team started out slow in the first half facing a 17 point deficit early, many Washington Fans considered this season to be a repeat of last season, when the team finished 3 and 13. However, in the hands of the new and experienced coaching staff and with the help of the stacked defensive line, Washington was able to rally together a win for their team, their city and most importantly, their ailing head coach. 

The defensive line was a major factor in Washington’s victory. With the addition of second overall pick and Ohio State phenom, Chase Young, the defense looks nearly unstoppable. The Washington defense sacked Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz eight times for a loss of 62 yards, according to “CBS Sports.” Every player on the Washington front looked impressive, however, Ryan Kerrigan and Chase Young stuck out. According to “Pro Football Focus,” Young was the highest graded rookie in the first week of play. In addition, Ryan Kerrigan surpassed Washington great Dexter Manley on the all-time sack leaderboard with 92 sacks. When asked about his feelings about standing atop the all-time Washington leaderboard on sacks, Kerrigan had glowing remarks in his interview with “106.7: The Fan.” He stated, “I did not know what to expect when I was drafted here in 2011. I wanted to come in and be a contributor, and now to be at the top of the sack list of the franchise’s history… to think about guys that have come through here, like Dexter, it’s pretty cool.” Numerous other members of the defensive line made their presence felt as well, such as Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.

Regardless of what the predictions are for the team for the rest of the season, it is important that fans appreciate what the team did in week one. Behind their new coaching staff, newly schemed offense and defense and a second-year quarterback at the helm of the team, Washington was able to do something that they had not been able to do for the last couple of years: beat the Philadelphia Eagles. Rivera has kept one goal in mind throughout his brief tenure in Washington and he vows to keep it that way. His goal is to establish a culture. According to Les Carpenter of “The Washington Post,” “So much of this year for Rivera is about creating a culture upon which the team can build into a winner.”

Whether or not the team is able to have a winning season, the fans must sit back and appreciate the leadership of head coach Ron Rivera. He is building the team into a contender that will be built to win for years to come.