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Daily Slop - 24 Nov 23: Josh Harris’s preseason plan to evaluate Ron at the end of ‘23 season is being tested by horrible play & fan dissatisfaction

A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch with the Commanders, the NFC East and the NFL in general

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NBC Washington

Cowboys smoke Washington Commanders on Turkey Day

Washington came to play the Cowboys with a mission to not get embarrassed. It almost worked.

That doesn’t mean the Commanders won, they didn’t, losing 45-10, but just four days after a new season low point in a home loss to the Giants, at least Ron Rivera’s team was not a total mess.

Until the fourth quarter.

Going into the final frame Washington trailed only 20-10 and its defense had forced two consecutive Cowboys punts. Perhaps sensing his team had a chance at a key score with 12 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Ron Rivera decided to go for it on 4th and short from his own 34 yard-line, and the result was disastrous.

Howell was sacked for a 10 yard loss and the Cowboys took over at the 24. Three plays later Dallas QB Dak Prescott found WR CeeDee Lamb for a 15-yard touchdown, and then the Cowboys successfully went for a two-point conversion.

In the blink of an eye the Commanders trailed 31-10. Dallas would get another passing touchdown from Prescott to KaVontae Turpin, and within minutes, Prescott was seen on the Cowboys bench eating turkey.

It’s never a good sign for the defense when the opposing quarterback is eating a turkey leg on the sideline when the game is still going on.


NFL 2023 Week 12: Biggest questions, risers and takeaways

Will the Commanders’ owner make a move? New owner Josh Harris did not want to make an in-season coaching change, especially with coach Ron Rivera. However, if Rivera wanted to make a change, Harris certainly would listen, a source said. So far, Rivera has been reluctant to make any sort of changes, especially on defense with coordinator Jack Del Rio. There’s no obvious replacement, but the defense has regressed, entering the day ranked last in points and 29th in yards.

Stock up after the loss: WR Curtis Samuel. He was one of the few bright spots against the Cowboys, catching nine passes for his first 100-yard game (100 yards Thursday) since 2020. He was targeted a team-high 12 times.

Stock down after the loss: Defense. Jack Del Rio’s defense allowed 431 yards — including 331 yards passing and four touchdowns to Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. The secondary continues to give up big plays, and the front failed to get pressure on Prescott. — John Keim

Washington Post (paywall)

If the Commanders move on from Ron Rivera, spare Eric Bieniemy as an interim

if the ownership group listens to the shouts on social media and opinions from the press box and rushes to just end things already, leaving a spate of meaningless games on the lap of an in-house interim, it should give the greatest gift of all to offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

By overlooking him. Help a brotha out, and don’t make Bieniemy the interim head coach.

Let him keep calling the offensive plays. Give him space to keep molding second-year quarterback Sam Howell. Be grateful for his influence inside the building as the assistant head coach with an uncompromising intensity. But avoid the error of making him the NFL’s next Black interim head coach.

Please, don’t do that to him.

Although Bieniemy has long desired to run his own team, he shouldn’t be desperate enough to take on the unwinnable situation as an interim. And the new Commanders leadership — a group that consists of Magic Johnson, one of the few minorities with an NFL ownership stake — shouldn’t boost Bieniemy to a powerless position only to give the real job to someone else come January.

The Athletic (paywall)

Commanders’ Ron Rivera ‘not worried’ about job security after Thanksgiving loss vs. Cowboys

Managing partner Josh Harris stated early on that the plan was to evaluate Rivera, his assistants and the front office the head coach oversees over the course of the season. That remained the expectation before Sunday’s brutal home loss to the short-handed New York Giants and Thursday’s smackdown in Texas. It’s understandable if those outside the organization don’t see the point in waiting.

  • The Commanders coach responded to a reporter’s question on the topic after the 45-10 drubbing, saying, “I’ve told you before, I’m not worried about it. I’m gonna just do my job and see how things go. That’s the only thing I can do.”
  • Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said the team isn’t “getting the job done,” while wide receiver Terry McLaurin called the losses “frustrating.”
  • The Commanders are 4-8, losing three straight games and five of their last six matchups.

Instant analysis | Commanders drop third straight with 45-10 loss to Cowboys

Dak Prescott, lined up in shotgun at the Washington Commanders’ 31, rolled to his right and waited a tick before unloading a shot to his wideout across the field. Cooks caught it with little effort and put the Dallas Cowboys up by two scores with about eight minutes left in the first half.

It’s been the story of the Commanders’ defense all year. Wide receivers have had an easy time of finding wide open holes in the secondary and capitalizing on them. It’s the primary reason why the defense, which is last in points allowed and near the bottom in yards allowed, leads the league in explosive plays given up through 12 games.

While there were certainly less of them in the Commanders’ 45-10 Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys, partly because Prescott simply missed on them, they were enough to bury the Burgundy & Gold in its third-straight defeat.

Commanders Wire

Commanders embarrassed and embarrassing

The Commanders defense actually forced a punt on the Cowboys’ first possession. However, the Commanders then proceeded to surrender drives of 90, 75 and 75 yards.

Washington had their own 13-play 75-yard drive, culminating in Sam Howell’s one-yard touchdown run over right tackle, narrowing the Dallas lead to 14-10. Commanders fans were encouraged, the Commanders were back in this game.

Dallas then took the ball with 1:51 remaining in the first half and completely punctured any hope the Commanders fan base possessed. It was mystifying to watch how the Cowboys only needed a mere five plays to drive 75 yards for a wide-open touchdown pass to extend their lead to 20-10.

Watching those five plays raised questions of how much fight was in the Commanders’ defense. How much despising of losing really exists anymore? There was no resistance whatsoever on that drive!

The defense, for the most part, following the Sam Howell touchdown to make it 14-10 Dallas, simply couldn’t cover any eligible receiver and couldn’t get to Dak Prescott if their life depended upon it.

DC Sports King

Jonathan Allen has another blunt response to Commanders’ woes

“At the end of the day, in the NFL, you have to do your job,” Allen said per Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post. “As players, we’re not getting the job done, and as coaches, we’re not getting the job done. I don’t think anyone’s getting the job done. So, for me, I’m looking at myself — what can I do better? What can I do to help these guys win? Everyone has to do that for themselves.


Commanders coach Ron Rivera ‘not worried’ about job status after 35-point loss

“Who’s going to step in and be the head coach? Who?” Leno said. “I don’t know. ... Where we are right now I don’t know that’s going to help anything. I just feel like when you do stuff like that in the middle of the year, I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

Leno said even if Harris promoted assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to interim coach, “it will be the same because at the end of the day EB will be focused on offense and [defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] will be focused on defense. What’s the difference?”

Multiple players have said privately that Rivera has not lost the locker room and want to see him remain as their coach for the remainder of the season.

Riggo’s Rag

4 major observations from Sam Howell’s performance at the Cowboys in Week 12

How did QB1 fare on Thanksgiving afternoon?

Sam Howell’s mobility

Sam Howell came under pressure early and often as expected. Thankfully for the player and the Washington Commanders, the signal-caller manipulated the pocket well, putting his immobility to good use in pursuit of keeping plays alive.

This is an underrated asset of Howell’s game and a tool he should arguably put to greater use. There were even times when Eric Bieniemy called plays that got his quarterback rolling out in motion immediately after the snap - something that came with success and kept the formidable Cowboys defense on their toes.

Howell’s improved maneuvering in the pocket and outside the numbers represent his increasing comfort and trust in himself. Long may it continue.

Podcasts & videos

Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders Sam Howell Tale of Two Halves in 45-10 Loss to Dallas Cowboys

“Football Found Me”: KJ Henry is our Next Man Up! | Washington Commanders

This one is from before the Cowboys game but it might be worth a listen if you’re interested in the topics listed:


PHOTOS | Commanders vs. Cowboys, Week 12

Check out the top photos of the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium for their Week 12 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

NFC East links

The Athletic (paywall)

DaRon Bland’s pick-6 record highlights Cowboys’ Thanksgiving win vs. Commanders

DaRon Bland broke an NFL interception for a touchdown record and Dak Prescott continued his stellar play from the last few weeks to push the Dallas Cowboys to a 45-10 win over the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Bland broke the NFL single-season record for interception returns for a touchdown with his fifth TD of the 2023 campaign. He intercepted the Commanders’ Sam Howell with less than five minutes left in the game for a 63-yard TD return.
  • The Cowboys quarterback went 22-of-32 passing for 331 yards with four touchdowns for a 142.1 passer rating. Prescott threw TD passes to CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Rico Dowdle and KaVontae Turpin.
  • The Cowboys (8-3) have won five of their last six games. The Commanders (4-8) have lost three in a row and five of their last six games.

NBC Sports

Dolly Parton dresses as Dallas Cowboys cheerleader during Thanksgiving halftime performance

The iconic 77-year-old country singer stole the show while performing her classic hits

Parton wore a modified cheerleader outfit that included white shorts and a white vest adorned with blue stars during The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff Halftime Show. The 10-time Grammy winner sang a three-song set, opening with her classics “Jolene” and “9 to 5” before singing a cover of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”

Parton’s performance came days after the release of her latest album “Rockstar” on Nov. 17. It features 30 tracks, including a mix of original songs, covers and collaborations.

Parton also recently donated $1 million to the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.

NFL league links