It might additionally mark a reunion and homecoming of kinds for Hurney, who would be part of Rivera for a 3rd time as GM (after two separate stints in Carolina) and return to town that gave him his NFL begin — as a sportswriter masking Washington’s NFL group.
However the third go-round for Hurney and Rivera might look a bit totally different from the previous two.
When Rivera was employed final January, Washington shifted to a coach-centric front-office construction that gave him closing say over personnel choices. He mentioned on the time he deliberate to “work hand-in-hand with the top of participant personnel” as a result of the entrance workplace, as he envisioned it, “needs to be a collaboration.”
Comparable fashions may be present in Seattle, the place Pete Carroll doubles as coach and government VP of soccer operations and has closing say over the Seahawks’ roster however works in lockstep with GM John Schneider; in Kansas Metropolis, the place Chiefs Coach Andy Reid and GM Brett Veach collaborate; and in New England, the place Invoice Belichick, regardless of being coach and de facto GM of the Patriots, has labored intently along with his prime personnel executives over time.
Rivera, who led the GM search, has provided few particulars on the precise position inside Washington’s entrance workplace. But it surely’s believable that he and Hurney would share the everyday duties and collaborate on main choices, particularly as Rivera focuses totally on teaching throughout the season. Washington’s senior vp of soccer administration, Rob Rogers, who additionally labored with the 2 with Carolina, will proceed to handle the group’s wage cap and lead contract negotiations.
“There’s extra to this place than meets the attention,” Rivera mentioned in a radio interview final week. “There’s rather a lot that’s encompassing. After I mirror on what I went via by way of that a part of it, I had quite a lot of good individuals working it. And that’s the plus, as a result of there’s a lot operational stuff that’s concerned as properly. There’s rather a lot to it. This isn’t simply choosing gamers and making choices on contracts or hiring coaches or what have you ever. It’s a large activity.”
Amongst Hurney’s largest duties can be serving to Washington resolve its future at quarterback, a place that featured 4 totally different starters this previous season and has no apparent candidate because the long-term reply; solely Alex Smith is beneath contract for 2021, however his return isn’t assured after his season was lower quick by damage and he nears 37.
Hurney additionally would face the problem of constant a rebuild that began final season with the NFC East title at 7-9. Washington’s younger roster has some budding stars and a protection that ranked within the prime 10 in most main classes, but it surely additionally has obtrusive holes at key positions.
Hurney was twice the GM with Carolina, first from 2002 to 2012 after which once more from 2017 till December. A former sportswriter who lined the Washington NFL group for the now-defunct Washington Star and the Washington Occasions, Hurney spent a 12 months within the group’s public relations division earlier than following basic supervisor Bobby Beathard to San Diego.
After seven years because the Chargers’ assistant GM, Hurney was employed by the Panthers to be their director of soccer administration in 1998, then elevated to GM in 2002. Though Hurney was key to hiring Rivera in 2011 and helped type Carolina’s Tremendous Bowl-bound groups in 2003 and 2015, he was fired in 2012, following three playoff-less seasons, solely to return 5 years afterward an interim foundation. Hurney reclaimed the position full-time for 3 seasons earlier than proprietor David Tepper fired him Dec. 21.
“Mainly, with discussions, it appeared like Marty and I had a little bit little bit of distinction in philosophy,” Tepper instructed reporters. “He leaned towards extra conventional methods versus a extra data-driven, analytical course of, however I believe some marrying of that might be extra in line.”
Throughout Hurney’s tenure as GM, the Panthers went 107-121 (together with 16-30 in his closing three seasons) and completed above .500 solely 4 instances in 15 seasons. His departure was instantly met with hypothesis that he might come to Washington due to his shut ties to Rivera. Shut to 2 dozen Carolina assistant coaches, scouts and employees members have adopted Rivera to Washington.
“I actually appreciated working with him,” Rivera mentioned of Hurney in December. “He’s a really laborious employee and a really brilliant man. He is aware of the sport. For those who have a look at what he helped us construct in Carolina when he helped us construct our run, it’s fairly spectacular. He just about put quite a lot of items into place.”
Hurney was one in every of six recognized candidates to interview for Washington’s GM job over the previous week, together with San Francisco 49ers vp of participant personnel Martin Mayhew, Tennessee Titans vp of participant personnel Ryan Cowden, Los Angeles Chargers director of professional personnel JoJo Wood, Atlanta Falcons director of soccer operations Nick Polk and Washington director of professional personnel Eric Stokes.
Notably not included among the many candidates was Kyle Smith, Washington’s VP of participant personnel, who many believed was on a monitor to grow to be the GM. Smith, the son of former NFL government A.J. Smith, has been in Washington’s personnel division for 11 seasons, rising from intern (2010) to prime personnel government (2020).
Shortly after Rivera was employed a 12 months in the past, he promoted Smith from director of school personnel to VP of participant personnel to supervise each the professional and school scouting efforts. The group had what was extensively thought of a profitable draft, touchdown potential stars in defensive finish Chase Younger and operating again Antonio Gibson with its first two picks and rounding out the category with late-round contributors in security Kam Curl and linebacker Khaleke Hudson. Washington additionally acquired a number of unheralded free brokers, comparable to tight finish Logan Thomas and operating again J.D. McKissic, who had productive seasons of their first 12 months with the group.
Smith continues to be beneath contract with the group, however as Washington’s entrance workplace modifications, his future has grow to be unclear.
“I believe he’s carried out a pleasant job for us,” Rivera mentioned of Smith in early December. “Once more, as we proceed to go ahead, I believe the large factor extra so than anything is we’ve acquired to verify we’re all on the identical web page.”
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