The winds of change make the Commanders an intriguing head coaching destination.
Commanders are a blank canvas with ambitious owners
Nobody aside from a privileged few should feel like their jobs are safe next season. The Washington Commanders could legitimately gut the roster from top to bottom under a new owner and head coach. A scenario more than capable of coming to fruition if Josh Harris’ ownership group hits the reset button.
This is not a team ready to contend right now. The Commanders represent a blank canvas of sorts. A sleeping giant in one of the country’s biggest markets is ready to be awoken. That makes the franchise an appealing destination.
Many respected insiders suggest that there could be around 7-10 job openings when push comes to shove. Plenty of cap space and salary-cap room is all well and good, but the allure of working for Josh Harris and Magic Johnson cannot be overlooked either.
Harris and his wealthy team of investors are ambitious. They want to take the Commanders back to the NFL’s top table sooner rather than later. They are also willing to do whatever it takes to make this dream a reality.
Washington now has a solid foundation from which to build. A clear plan is in place for sustainable success. Ownership who’ll be present and accountable rather than hiding away on a luxury yacht to avoid conflict.
All these factors should ensure the Commanders have their pick of head coaching candidates when Ron Rivera is let go. Picking the right guy will be the biggest challenge.
Marty Hurney is another one of Rivera’s front-office hires. Rivera hired Hurney as Washington’s executive vice president of football for player personnel in 2021. Hurney, a former beat reporter who covered the then-Redskins in the 1980s, joined Washington’s PR department before following legendary GM Bobby Beathard to the Chargers. Hurney spent years working for Beathard before the Carolina Panthers hired him in 1998. In 2002, Hurney was promoted to general manager.
Hurney would have two stints as Carolina’s GM and is responsible for hiring Rivera as head coach there in 2011.
And, according to Kevin Sheehan of Team 980 in Washington, D.C, Harris has been leaning on Hurney in recent months.
“What I’ve learned is that Marty Hurney, who was a long-time executive in Carolina with Ron Rivera and a long and now has been with Rivera here for the last 2 ½ years, has become a trusted voice in the organization for Josh Harris,” Sheehan said Monday, per Lou DiPietro of Audacy. “And David Tepper, who Josh Harris knows and is the current owner of the Panthers, was apparently high on Hurney as well.”
Relax, Washington fans.
“Remember, Hurney has been in this league a long time and knows the key players, and while I’m not saying he’ll be the hire, as Josh Harris is looking for an opinion he trusts, he may be a voice of who to bring in for an interview and what names fill what buckets,” Sheehan continued.
What does this mean? Well, it could be as simple as Harris trusting Hurney, who has worked in the NFL for over 30 years in a variety of roles. It doesn’t mean Harris will promote Hurney.
While he was traded mid-season, former Washington Commanders and current Chicago Bears defensive end Montez Sweat says the team has had the end of the year in focus for a while.
According to Sweat’s recent comments to Chicago media, however, perhaps the team was throwing in the towel before he was even traded.
“Where I came from it was kind of like just waiting on the season to end, kind of,” Sweat said in a video shared by Barroom Network. “But here it’s like every week is a new challenge and people want to play for the man beside him and that’s what I’m here for.”
Since trading Sweat the Commanders have won just one game, and it’s been over a month since that.
Meanwhile, the Bears have won three of five with Sweat on the field. Additionally, he has 3.5 sacks in five games and is on a three-game sack streak after getting one in a 28-13 Chicago win over the Detroit Lions (9-4) in Week 13.
So even though his new team and former have very similar win-loss records, it’s easy to see why Sweat is enjoying himself so much being part of the Bears organization.
Podcasts & videos
Episode 718 - Jamin Davis is done for the season. A reminder that none of Washington's 4 1st-rd picks under Ron Rivera has been a no-doubt hit. Big problem.— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) December 12, 2023
I also talk Ron's comments on Sam Howell, Montez Sweat's shot at the #Commanders, Wizards & more.https://t.co/gTIOnthbWd
Washington Commanders Jamin Davis Season-Ending Injury; Fifth-Year Option? | Final Four Look Ahead
Rams Preview, Heisman Trophy, and the McRib is Back! | Get Loud | Washington Commanders
EB, Bish, and Doc Walker look ahead to the Commanders’ homestretch
What we know:— michael phillips (@michaelpinRVA) December 12, 2023
-Monumental and VA will have a press conference tomorrow
-VA chips in $200 mil in infrastructure, will share development of site with Monumental instead of a straight cash contribution
-DC believes it can still make a play to keep teamhttps://t.co/NQDqTUkG0c
NFL league links
Pro Football Talk
Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, via Hayden Bird of Boston.com, said Monday that Kraft already made the decision to make a change after New England’s Week 10 loss to the Colts in Frankfurt.
“When they came out of Germany, conversations I had that week made it very clear that a decision was made,” Curran said. “They were going to play out the string, and at the end of the year, there would be a parting of the ways for a variety of reasons.”
Curran added that the parting of the ways could include a de facto trade of Belichick to a new team. That would explain the decision not to fire Belichick during the season.
Since the 10-6 loss to the Colts, the Patriots lost to the Giants and the Chargers before upsetting the Steelers last Thursday night.
“Just because they won last week in Pittsburgh in primetime, I don’t think it quells anything,” Curran said.