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Daily Slop - 9 Dec 23: “The only viable route forward for the Commanders”

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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In this photo illustration, the Washington Commanders logo... Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Riggo’s Rag

Change is only viable route forward for Commanders after torrid 2023

The winds of changes are howling in Washington...

Change is the only viable route forward for the Commanders. This franchise has accepted mediocrity and treaded water for too long. Fans deserve better than what they’ve been forced to support for the best part of two decades.

These wheels have been in motion for weeks. The Commanders are rich in draft assets and could have around $100 million to spend in free agency once some established figures become salary-cap casualties. That’s called planning for the future.

A once toxic head coaching job is now alluring. This sentiment was echoed by Jeremy Fowler and John Keim of ESPN, who revealed the front office didn’t celebrate a deadline trade haul for Montez Sweat and Chase Young with their futures in significant jeopardy.

“The front office, meanwhile, has found it difficult to celebrate the acquisition of draft picks someone else will probably be making. If Harris cleans house in January — or earlier — those five selections in the top 100 of the 2024 NFL draft, along with $87 million in estimated cap space, would make the head coach and general manager jobs plenty attractive.”

- Jeremy Fowler and John Keim, ESPN

This is almost a blank canvas for any incoming figures in positions of power. More than likely, this will see a new head coach and general manager forming a relationship from scratch and working from the bottom up to get this franchise back to prominence.

As a lifelong supporter, Harris understands the frustration.

Riggo’s Rag

4 bold head coaching hires the Commanders could pursue in 2024

Could Josh Harris’ ownership group go bold once Ron Rivera is gone?

Commanders could pursue Mike Tomlin

After the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their second-straight loss to a 2-10 team on Thursday Night Football, increased scrutiny is coming the way of Mike Tomlin. Widely regarded as one of the best head coaches of his generation, some around the media are speculating whether his time with the franchise has run its course despite never having a losing season.

This should put the Washington Commanders on high alert. The Steelers rarely remove head coaches unless it’s necessary, but the situation is worth monitoring in the event Tomlin does become available.

Tomlin is exactly what the Commanders need. He is a player’s coach. He knows what it takes to win. He is one of the best motivators around. He knows how to specifically plan for every opponent meticulously. He commands instant respect.

While this is a long shot, if there’s even the slightest chance, it must be explored. Even if that means giving up draft capital via trade considering Tomlin is under contract, it shouldn’t put the Commanders off.

Again, this is an intriguing job opportunity. Tomlin could see working for Josh Harris and Magic Johnson as the sort of environment he could thrive with things getting stale in Pittsburgh - especially if he gets the chance to become influential in the process of hiring a new general manager.

Commanders Wire

Commanders to move business operations to University of Maryland

Washington’s new offices will be at the Discovery District at UMD’s College Park campus. College Park is less than 10 miles and around 20 minutes from FedEx Field.

The reason for the change is due to increased demand for the suites at FedEx Field.

“Commanders fans are eager to support their team, and we’re dedicated to ensuring the best experience possible both on and off the field,” Wright said. “Moving our headquarters will provide exciting new spaces to take in home games and will provide for greater collaboration for our business staff and partnership with the University of Maryland.”

Here’s more on the new location:

The location of the new offices on the fourth floor of the building at 4600 River Road was chosen to foster connection between the university, local businesses and community. It is in the heart of the Discovery District, a 150-acre hub of research and innovation on the east side of the UMD campus, whose 60-plus tenants include federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, businesses including Capital One, Adobe and Raytheon, and amenities including The Hotel at the University of Maryland and the Hall CP.

Sports Illustrated

What’s Holding Back Washington Commanders WR Terry McLaurin?

The Washington Commanders head into their bye week with tons of questions and only four weeks to answer any of them.

He’s also on pace to have the second-fewest receiving yards and the fewest receiving touchdowns of his career.

So the issue seems more to be about the quality of targets, not quantity, and to that, we point to one thing - the hitch route.

Hitch routes can be short, or can be as deep as 20 yards downfield in Bieniemy’s - and others’ - offense.

It’s a good route to run against off-coverages that also lean toward shell coverages designed to take away vertical routes deep downfield.

Washington has played a lot of those defenses this season, and that may explain why with four games left to play McLaurin has run almost twice as many hitch routes in 2023 than he did all of last season.

he downside of the hitch route is it requires solid timing between the receiver and quarterback, and doesn’t lend itself to high probabilities of yards after catch (YAC) where guys like McLaurin do some of their best work.

Last season, arguably his best in the league to date, he ranked 13th in YAC per reception among NFL receivers with at least 50 targets and tacked on about 5.1 yards every time he touched the ball.

He also ran many more vertical or in-and-out-breaking routes that allowed him to catch many of his passes in stride while separating from defenders.

Podcasts & videos

Washington Commanders Sam Howell Measuring Up to Legends? | Mock NFL Draft | Pro Bowl

Eric Eager on if Sam Howell’s career trajectory has changed from ‘very good backup’ with Lynnell Willingham

NFC East links

NFL league links


32. Josh Harris, Washington Commanders: 4-9 (.308)

Owner since: 2023

Playoff record: N/A

Coach inherited: Ron Rivera

Coaches hired: None

Harris might need to win a Super Bowl to top his biggest victory, which was replacing unpopular owner Daniel Snyder entering this season. Thirteen games is hardly enough to assess much, although that was two more games than Carolina’s owner needed to return a verdict on his recently fired coach. Big changes for Washington are expected once this season ends.