If I am Rivera, I argue for my job this way:
We have talent, but we have holes that Hurney never successfully addressed--DT, WR, CB, and OL are pretty significant aspects. Who is the last good linemen we brought in--Ryan Kalil? When did we last sign a qualitiy CB? Gamble? When did Marty Hurney EVER bring in a top WR? NEVER (Smith was here when he came aboard). DT? Corvey Irvin? Sione Fua? Terrell McLain? Ron Edwards? Louis Leonard? Tank Tyler? Frank Kearse? Undrafted FAs Neblett? Chandler?
I would add this: When the team sees the GM rewarding players with top contracts after underperforming and losing seasons, what motivates the others?
If I were RR, I would argue that Hurney's mess will take years to fix. Bad contracts that strapped the cap (DWill, Godfrey, Johnson, Beason, etc.) were all overpaid.
I will still go out on a limb and say this team problem has more to do with the underlinging lack of discipline. Nothing makes a team play hard then when folks seriously realize their job is on the line. Especially when there seems to be an attitude of complacency with the team to begin with.
From the time I came to this site, it seem the only postion with the most pressure to play well is the QB position. Everyone else gets to simply play decent and keep their day jobs. Vets are never asked to step up like on other teams and more pressure is place on rookies than anyone else. That attitude needs to change.
Maybe Rivera is a bit too laid back for a team whose problem is I've been on this team for years, so my job is safe and I only have to concern myself with padding my stats. That attitude doesn't bode well for a new coach to come and demand things from those who have been there for years. Set an attitude of, no one's job is safe and complacency will not be tolerated, and you will see a different team.