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Daily Slop - 11 Dec 23: Articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch

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

Washington Redskins - File Photos - 1993

Commanders links

Articles

Washington Post (paywall)

This NFL hiring cycle, the Commanders could be a hot ticket

For the first time in decades, though, the team may actually be a desired landing spot for prospective head coaches and executives.

“From an outside perspective, Washington is the best job now that Dan Snyder doesn’t own it,” said one agent who represents a number of NFL coaches and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss potential hiring decisions.

Harris is not Snyder, and that alone has made the Commanders an appealing destination. But Washington is also loaded with draft picks, including five in the first three rounds in 2024, and is projected to have a good deal of salary cap space. What’s more: It might have a quarterback.

“We want to have elite teams that consistently compete for championships,” Harris said last month. “You need a little luck to win championships a lot of times. But to get there, you need all the best people. That sort of approach, I think, allows us to get the best people.”

Ideally, the GM hire would come first, and the new executive would have input in hiring a coach and be aligned with the team’s direction. But Harris has hired in the opposite order, too, as he did with the 76ers in 2020, when he brought in Coach Doc Rivers about a month before team president Daryl Morey.

Harris already has looked for ways to give Washington a competitive edge and an improved outlook. He made nearly $40 million in improvements to FedEx Field in the offseason, and more could be coming next year as Harris looks for a new stadium.

“You can’t outspend people [in the NFL],” Harris said. “… You’re competing against very smart people. They all want to win, too. So you have to develop all these edges. … Certainly sports science and analytics, and coaching staff and front office and being attractive to players and location and a new stadium. And I think all that stuff builds into a winning franchise and winning culture.”

Based on Over the Cap’s $242 million salary cap projection for 2024, the Commanders will have about $64 million in effective cap space, which accounts for the team’s draft class and top 51 contracts. Only the Tennessee Titans are expected to have more.


Commanders Wire

Former Maryland and Washington TE Frank Wycheck dies

Wycheck residing in Chattanooga, Tenn., apparently fell and hit his head in his home sometime Saturday morning, his family conveyed in a statement released this weekend. Wycheck was found Saturday afternoon. He was 52.

The former Maryland Terrapin was drafted 160th overall by the Redskins in 1993. At tight end, he caught 23 passes in the 8 games he started in his two Washington seasons (1993-94) and was released. Upset he had been released, he voiced his disapproval, and sure enough, Wycheck proved Redskins head coach Norv Turner wrong when he was claimed by the Houston Oilers.

Wycheck proceeded to play nine seasons for the Oilers/Titans, catching 482 passes for 4,958 yards for 27 touchdowns and 264 first downs. Wycheck was a Pro Bowler three consecutive seasons (1998-2000) and was All-Pro 2nd team in 2000.

Playing 137 games for the Titans, Wycheck went from being a Redskins castaway to actually setting a franchise record when in 99 consecutive games he caught at least one pass. Frank also achieved being the team receiving leader for three consecutive seasons (1999-2001).

After the conclusion of Wycheck’s career, he stated he believed he may have CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), which sometimes results in those who have been exposed to concussions and repetitive forceful impacts to the head.

Wycheck’s family will reportedly agree to Wycheck’s desire to involve experts in CTE research and ongoing brain injury.


Commanders Wire

Could the Commanders opt for a defensive-minded head coach?

But is this the year for the Commanders to choose for an offensive-minded coach? There are some appealing candidates, who come from a defensive background.

There are worthy offensive candidates, such as Ben Johnson, Frank Smith (Dolphins OC), Brian Johnson (Eagles OC), Eric Bieniemy (Commanders OC) and Bobby Slowik (Texans OC). But the pool of defensive coaches is deeper. Here are some of the top defensive-minded coaches who could land promotions in 2024:

  • Cowboys DC Dan Quinn
  • Vikings DC Brian Flores
  • Panthers DC Ejiro Evero
  • 49ers DC Steve Wilks
  • Rams DC Raheem Morris

Four of these five have been head coaches before. Quinn led the Falcons to the Super Bowl and finished with a 43-42 record in five-plus seasons. Flores coached the Dolphins for three years, finishing with a record of 24-25. Morris coached the Buccaneers for three seasons (17-31) and was the Falcons’ interim coach when they fired Quinn (4-7).

Wilks had one season as the Cardinals head coach in which he went 3-13. However, he was the Panthers interim coach in 2022, finishing 6-6 and proving he deserves another shot.

Evero, 42, has held NFL jobs since 2007 and is ready for his first chance to be a head coach.


Burgundy & Gold Report

T.J. Tampa Has Flown Under the Radar | Commanders NFL Draft

T.J. Tampa

6’2” 200 lbs | CB | ISU

Draft Proj 2nd Rd

Career Stats (37 games)- 107 tackles (83 solo), 9.5 TFLs, 3 INTs, 19 PD & 1 FF

2023 Stats (12 games)- 44 tackles (33 solo), 3.0 TFLs, 2 INTs & 7 PD

In 2021 Tampa played in 11 games (302 snaps) making 17 tackles, 2 pass breakups,and an underwhelming 130.2 QB rating when targetted.

Tampa bounced back in ‘22 starting 12 games (642 snaps) recording 38 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 1 interception with a much improved QB rating of 70.7 when targetted. For his effots, Tampa was named to the Second Team All-Big 12 squad by the coaches.

Outlook

Cyclones Coach Matt Campbell has been impressed with Tampa’s growth since deciding to return for the ‘23 season.

“He certainly could have opted to leave and go in the National Football League last year. For him to come back, and you look at the transformation he’s made physically, it’s been nothing short of exceptional.”

Tampa boasts protypical size and overall length for a cornback transioning to the NFL. Many evaluations/projections have the Cyclones cornback firlmly slotted late in the 2nd round-early 3rd round.

He’ll likely get an invite to the NFL Combine and will also have a chance to impressive teams duirng Iowa State’s Pro day and the Senior Bowl.

Regardless, Tampa has 37 college games under his belt and should have an immediate impact on the next level.


Over the Cap

2024 Salary Cap Update

TL;DR = The salary cap number for 2024 will likely be LOWER than OTC had previously estimated by about $13m. For Commanders, expected cap space drops from $90m+ to around $80m. Washington is still estimated to have the 2nd-most space behind the Titans.

Now that we are getting closer to the end of the 2023 season we are starting to get more feedback as to what the 2024 NFL salary cap will be. Since Covid, projecting the cap has been a bit more difficult than usual due to the unknowns regarding how much was borrowed from future years to prevent a salary bloodbath in 2021. My expectation was that the salary cap has continued to be deflated due to the Covid impacts (without Covid, for example, the cap should have been $228-$229M this year without any new TV money) but that there would be a catch up period that would start in 2024, which would also coincide with the new TV money kicking in and push the cap significantly up.

Per multiple sources within the NFL that does not appear to be the case and many are working with a salary cap limit for next year of about $242 million and so I will be adjusting the numbers accordingly on OTC. The NFL meetings this week may give more clarity on the range of possible cap limits but there is enough of a consensus at the moment for me to drop the numbers now and then adjust up if there is an indication that they will be higher.

In the grand scheme of things the limit being $242 million, $255 million or anything in between is really meaningless for about 85% of the league. Cap space is all relative and manipulating contracts in the year they are signed to have low cap figures is pretty easy, so losing out on $13 million in projected cap room is nothing to really panic about if you are writing about a team’s prospects for the offseason. In general the “buying power” is not really going to change because of it. For the handful of teams that are projected to be way over the salary cap (the Saints, Chargers, Bills, and Dolphins being the main ones) this does make things harder because they were already in a pinch and will need to go deeper on the restructures and cuts, reduce futures signings and hold off on draft pick signings just to be cap compliant.

If new information becomes available next week we will adjust the estimates again but this is the reason why you are seeing a change in cap room for next year appear out of the blue.


Podcasts & videos

Bye Week Adjustments and Expectations | The Gameplan with Ron Rivera | Washington Commanders


Locked on Commanders: Command Huddle 12-9-23


NFC East links

Commanders Wire

Cowboys dominate Eagles in NFC East showdown

The Eagles turned the ball over three times, as Hurts, DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown all fumbled. Brown paced the Eagles offense with nine receptions for 94 yards. Philadelphia rushed for 106 yards on 24 attempts.

The win was Dallas’ 15th consecutive home victory.

While the rivals are tied atop the NFC East, the Eagles still control their own destiny due to having one less conference loss. To make matters worse for Dallas, the Eagles don’t face a team with a winning record for the remainder of the season.


NFL league links

Articles

Commanders Wire

Patrick Mahomes’ outrage with NFL officials falls on deaf ears for Commanders’ fans

Why was Mahomes so upset?

The star quarterback had just completed a pass to tight end Travis Kelce, who lateraled the ball back to wide receiver Kadarius Toney. Toney took it into the end zone for an easy score, and suddenly, the Chiefs would have a 23-20 lead with 1:12 remaining.

But, wait, there were flags.

As it turns out, Toney was lined up in the neutral zone, meaning the score did not count, and the Chiefs were penalized five yards. Mahomes’ subsequent three passes fell incomplete, and the Bills sent the Chiefs to their second loss in a row.

Barely offsides? Come on, Patrick.

Mahomes makes some good points about NFL officiating. It’s horrible. It’s been awful. But the officials didn’t get this one wrong.

Gene Steratore, a former longtime NFL official and now a rules analyst for CBS, said Toney was “blatantly” lined up offside.

Need proof?

Washington fans certainly have no sympathy for Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Let’s flashback to Week 15 of the 2022 NFL season. The Commanders were hosting the Giants in a game with massive playoff implications. Late in the game, with New York holding a 20-12 lead, Washington running back Brian Robinson Jr. scored from one yard out to make it 20-18 with 1:03 remaining. The Commanders were a two-point conversion away from tying the game.

There was a flag. The officials called wide receiver Terry McLaurin for the same infraction as Toney. But things were a bit different. McLaurin was directly in front of the official on the right side of the field, and you can see him asking the official if he was lined up correctly. The official appeared to give McLaurin the nod.

Here it is:

To make matters worse, two plays later, Taylor Heinicke’s pass to Curtis Samuel fell incomplete when Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes clearly interfered on the play. Officials didn’t call it, and the ball was turned over on downs, leading to a New York win.

So, in a matter of a few plays, NFL officiating stuck it to Washington — twice. The league later admitted it’s fault on the non-PI call in the end zone.


Deadspin

Jayden Daniels’ eye-popping stats enough in a season short on Heisman moments

Anytime a Power 5 (4?) QB accounts for 50 TDs, and nearly 5,000 yards, their Heisman odds are pretty good

Daniels accounted for 50 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards this season, but went 9-3 because Brian Kelly is allergic to balanced football teams. The same goes for Lincoln Riley, whose Caleb Williams led-Trojans finished 11-3 a year ago despite the future No. 1 overall pick amassing 52 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards in his sophomore campaign.

Obviously, in hindsight, Heisman winners are easy to spot, but the next time a Power-Five (or Four) QB hits 50 TDs, and is in the ballpark of 5,000 total yards, put me down for $20. The other factor that worked in Daniels’ favor was the vanilla nature of this season.

As a whole, there weren’t a lot of stellar upsets this year — hence the chalk-filled CFP bracket — but LSU-Ole Miss was drunk even by Louisiana standards, and was as close to a Heisman moment* as I can pinpoint. Daniels did his best Robert Griffin III impression on the way to 513 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.

This year’s class of QBs is difficult to judge because I don’t know if Michael Penix and Bo Nix are good, or if they were too great of athletes to be in college this long and not figure out the position. Daniels is in the same boat, which might be why scouts aren’t sold on him as the de facto second-best prospect in the draft.

To me, it feels like each of those QBs finally delivered on the potential fans and coaches have seen in them since high school. Whether they succeed at the next level I don’t know, but they’re as prepared as they’re going to get. None are Anthony Richardson-type projects, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Penix, Nix or Daniels turn into a franchise player rather quickly.