“If you don’t change things, can you expect things to change?” Rivera said. “So that’s what I’m doing, to see if things will change.”
The Commanders’ defense ranks worst in points allowed and 29th in yards allowed — one year after ranking seventh and third, respectively, in those categories. The Commanders consistently gave up big plays and failed to make many of their own.
Washington has allowed a league-high 49 pass plays of 20 or more yards. The Commanders haven’t intercepted a pass in the past six games or caused a turnover in the past three.
Rivera said that he had thought about these moves “for a little bit” but that after processing Thursday’s loss to Dallas — when Washington’s defense allowed 38 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter — he decided to act, letting team owner Josh Harris know about the moves Friday morning.
Cristian Garcia will become the interim defensive backs coach. He had been elevated to assistant defensive backs/nickels coach this season, his third in the NFL and with Washington. Richard Rodgers will remain as a senior defensive assistant/safeties coach.
Washington Post (paywall)
[O]n Thanksgiving night, several players also questioned what, if anything, a coaching change would accomplish. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. considered the potential firing of Coach Ron Rivera.
Ultimately, on Friday morning, Rivera fired Del Rio and defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer. Rivera recommended the moves, managing partner Josh Harris wrote in a statement.
Washington (4-8) enters the weekend in free fall. The team appears rudderless and regressive. Fans and ownership are, as Harris wrote, “disappointed and frustrated.” It’ll be a steep challenge to show immediate improvement even without Del Rio; Rivera’s first game as a defensive play caller since 2019 will come against the historically explosive Miami Dolphins offense on Dec. 3. But replacing the coach sends the message that two straight losses to division rivals — including one with a third-string, undrafted rookie quarterback — is unacceptable.
And yet several locker room leaders said Thursday night they weren’t sure any change would make a meaningful difference over the final five games.
A few players, including Allen and receiver Terry McLaurin, were here when Washington made its last in-season coaching change, in 2019. Daniel Snyder fired Jay Gruden after Washington started the season 0-5. McLaurin remembered Bill Callahan, the interim coach, was “old school,” with tougher practices, heavier personnel and more run plays. But Callahan wasn’t much better than Gruden; he went 3-8.
“Just because you make changes here or there doesn’t necessarily impact the result,” McLaurin said, adding, “[With Callahan], we still had ups and downs. I just think it’s a matter of the players still having respect and pride. You can’t come in here with your head hanging down and not go hard and not give effort. I just don’t think that’s a reflection of the person and the player you want to be.”
Another day, another disaster...
100: Curtis Samuel had a big game, finishing with nine receptions for 100 receiving yards. His nine receptions surpassed how many he has had the past three weeks, and his yardage matched the same amount he has had in his previous five games combined.
This was also his first 100-yard receiving game since signing with Washington during 2021 free agency.
46.6: Although the Commanders are in the bottom half of the league in third-down conversion percentage, they converted 7-of-15 attempts (46.6%) against the Cowboys - including a 30-yard pass from Sam Howell to Samuel on 3rd-and-10, a 15-yard strike to Jahan Dotson on 3rd-and-10, and a 29-yard reception to Cole Turner on 3rd-and-7.
0: 0 represents the number of points the Washington Commanders scored in the second half, finishing their drives with a turnover on downs, punt, turnover on downs, turnover on downs, an interception returned for a touchdown, and the end of the game.
0 also represents the number of times the offense got into the red zone in the second half and the number of fourth-down conversions the Commanders had all game. 0:00 is also the amount of time the Dallas Cowboys have trailed at home this season, and Washington did nothing to change that.
13: The Commanders defense gave up 13 big plays (passes of 15+ yards/runs of 10+ yards) against the Cowboys, four of which directly resulted in touchdowns. The defense gave up passes of 15 (2), 16, 18, 24, 25, 31 (2), 34, and 35 yards and runs of 10, 14, and 27 yards. Those 13 plays represented over 68 percent of Dallas’ total offense in the game.
Burgundy & Gold Report
In 2022 Fashanu started 8 games at left tackle before missing the rest of the season due to injury. The Nittany Lions LT helped pave the way for the PSU to gain 234 yards rushing, including two long touchdown runs (44 and 70 yards) vs Ohio (9/17/22)
Fashanu allowed zero sacks in 281 pass blocking snaps. He was named the coaching staffs Offensive Player of the Game twice in ‘22 (vs Purdue 9/1/22 & vs Auburn 9/17/22) and named to the AP and Coaches Second team All Big 10 team.
Most pass-blocking snaps without a pressure allowed among Power Five tackles in Week 1⃣— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 9, 2022
Olumuyiwa Fashanu - 44 pic.twitter.com/Imu8G9pGJg
Prior to the season the PSU left tackle was named a team captain. Thus far this season Fashanu has started all 10 games at left tackle, allowing zero sacks in 324 pass blocking snaps. It’ll be no surprise if Fashanu is recognized as the best tackle in college football, when all is said and done.
Fashanu is a physical specimen and displays the athletic attributes to compete at a high level against NFL pass rushers. He’ll undoubtedly be a prospect in high demand, during the first night of the NFL Draft.
There have been more busts than 1st round success stories at left tackle, so it’s never a guarantee that an early round tackle can be an immediate contributor. In saying that, Fashanu has been impressive when facing some of the best pass rushers in the country and displays the ability to adjust on the fly.
The Nittany Lions tackle is technically sound and has the prototypical length to be a plug & play blindside protector on the next level for the next 10-15 years.
Team fires DC Jack Del Rio after blowout Thanksgiving loss to rival Cowboys
Everything in Washington feels like it’s fast food quality. The quarterback is an undercooked fifth-round pick, the running game is mushy and the coaching staff is cooking up burnt fries. The season ended after they got burned by the Philadelphia Eagles just before the trade deadline. On Friday, the Commanders fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio after Dallas’ offense moved the ball at will. A season that began with high expectations under Del Rio’s zone match cover scheme has splintered into a mess. After impersonating a high-level defense in the second half of 2022, Washington is the league’s worst-scoring defense a year later and forced fewer turnovers than 24 of the league’s 32 teams.
It’s not entirely Del Rio’s fault. Washington has drafted clumsily on either side this decade. Former No. 2 pick Chase Young was traded to San Francisco after four underwhelming seasons in exchange for a conditional third-round pick. Washington’s most recent first-rounder Emmanuel Forbes has been a consistent DNP when healthy or sat due to injury. Washington hasn’t even ranked among the top half of scoring offenses in seven seasons.
Dallas and the Commanders used to feel like a rivalry. These days, it feels like an exhibition match between the Washington Generals and the Globetrotters. Sam Howell is the only bright spot of this season, but even he is stacking up bad performances in a hurry, while buttressing it with empty calorie numbers. In Washington’s annual Turkey Day clash, Howell also threw a pick-six to DaRon Bland. Howell shouldn’t be judged too harshly for his rookie mistakes against a top-five defense. Bland has now picked off a record five pick-sixes this season in Diggs’ absence.
A season that began with aspirations of another playoff run has devolved into another race to the bottom. This team needs more than a rebrand. It needs a new coaching staff, a new attitude, and Washington has seen enough to invest another season into Howell.
Podcasts & videos
️Jack Del Rio is out. The 45-10 loss. Tons of topics to discuss with @granthpaulsen. Assessing the JDR era. Where did it go so wrong in the secondary? What now for Ron Rivera and the Commanders? Where has this team overachieved this season?https://t.co/OlRUgeNaTP— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 25, 2023
Locked on Commanders: Jack Del Rio Fired by the Washington Commanders: What’s Next and Ron Rivera’s Future
Why Stephen A. doesn’t like the Commanders’ firing of Jack Del Rio
Every Curtis Samuel catch from 100-yard game | Week 12
Yes, it was a blowout. But that didn't stop 41.4 million from tuning in to watch Commanders-Cowboys on Thanksgiving, making it the third most-watched regular season game ever. https://t.co/mAYo6FQWnc— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 25, 2023
NFL league links
The Jets look all but done, and the justifiable reasons for Aaron Rodgers to consider playing again this season are dwindling. In NFL Thanksgiving takeaways.... https://t.co/Sqaoec6950— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) November 25, 2023