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Martin Mayhew NFL Scouting Combine Presser

Martin Mayhew speaks to the media at the Combine

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera answered questions from the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis yesterday. General Manager Martin Mayhew is now up at the podium, and he will be hearing a lot of questions about this year’s draft, quarterbacks, the running game under new OC Eric Bieniemy, and free agency.

Opening Statement:

“All right guys. Glad to see you all at this combine and really a very important part of the process for us as a team. I just want to start by just saying what a great job and shout out to [President of National Football Scouting] Jeff Foster and his staff. They do an incredible job in terms of setting this whole thing up and running it. There’s been talk a few years ago about the player experience and Jeff went back re-evaluated everything that they were doing here. And we’ve made a lot of changes that are to the benefit of the players in terms of changing the schedule up, changing the medical process, but not being pulled on by four and five doctors. Now we’ve got that process streamlined and created a recovery room for the guys. I know it’s up for bid in 2025, but I’m very hopeful and a lot of my colleagues are hopeful that it stays here in Indianapolis. So with that, I will open it up to questions.”

Changes to the Combine:

Traditional evaluation and the modernization of tracking data:

“We value all that. It’s all pieces of the puzzle. You can’t just put it on one thing like a 40 time or height, weight, speed. There are so many variables involved. The tracking data is obviously very helpful but the 40 times we look at that because it’s uniform, everybody’s running on the same surface, on the same day. All the DB groups the same day, all linebackers, same day, same surface. So, it’s not like the different pro days where you have different types of surfaces, different conditions. Some guys are outside, some guys are on grass and some guys are inside on turf or different types of turf. So, it just gives us one standard and we can see who ran faster on that particular day, which is helpful to us in terms of gathering accurate information.”

Developing young QBs:

“I think that it’s a tremendous value. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Aaron Rodgers and Pat Mahomes are two of the best quarterbacks in the league, and they had the benefit of being able to sit behind a quality quarterback, sit and learn for some period of time. I’m obviously not saying that Sam is those guys right now, but I’m saying that I think that there’s a lot of benefit to coming in without that immediate pressure every single week to learn a different game plan, to play against a different team, to play a longer season than you ever played in your whole life with grown men and different schemes that you’re seeing you haven’t seen before. I think that’s one of the things as a league where we really have failed is in developing quarterbacks. And the reason for that, I believe, is because the bad teams get to pick first. They pick a very talented quarterback. Sometimes their team is not that talented then they have that immediate pressure to put that player on the field and so many guys have failed for that reason. So, I think it’s going to help Sam a lot.”

Sam Howell:

“Yeah, there is a lot of discussion about that. We’re working through our roster right now. One of the important things about the combines an opportunity to see all of the young quarterbacks that are coming out too and we’re have an opportunity to look at those as well as what’s out there in free agency. Sam will have every opportunity to win that starting job. Was very impressed with the way that he played and practiced last year. Obviously very small sample, he only played in one game, but we got to see him the whole off season. We gotta see him all through training camp, every week in practice. He has the skills that it takes to be a starter in this league, in my opinion.”


“Well I think you see it a lot more multiple defensive schemes. So, you see schemes that run three-four defenses than they morph into a four-three. We have what we call our cinco package, which is five down linemen. So you’re seeing people are able to put different pieces in different spots to make the most of what their skillset is. So I think that benefits some of these guys that are declared as tweeners. Are they defensive tackles or defensive ends? Are they outside linebackers or edge players or pass rushers. I think it benefits those guys. We have so many schemes that have multiple and we find multiple uses of guys to be able to maximize their skillset.”

How measurables influence a player’s stock:

“I think that’s something you got to think about, but you know one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my career was assuming that Aaron Donald was too small. And a lot of people thought that 12 other teams thought the same thing because he went 13th. But obviously you got to take into consideration what measurables that you want and desire, but you also have to look at what a guy can do, what they’re capable of doing. And clearly you can’t make a decision based off that, I don’t think. You got to watch the tape, evaluate who that guy is, get to know that player as a person and make an ultimate decision of what he can contribute to your team despite what his measurables are.”

The Senior Bowl:

“The Senior Bowl has been outstanding. Jim Nagy has done an incredible job getting that revamped and resituated. Their interview process has been incredible. We get to talk to every single guy that’s there, which is really helpful for us. And every year I go to the Senior Bowl since I’ve been going for the last 20 years or whatever, there’s always a guy or two that catches your eye that you haven’t seen before I don’t know what’s much about. Thinking back, I think it was 2014 or 15, the year we drafted Laken Tomlinson. There was a corner/safety there that I didn’t know hardly anything about. I knew his name and that was pretty much it. But he had an incredible week of practice. We ended up taking that guy in the sixth round, Quandre Diggs who ended up being an all -pro. And he caught my eye at the Senior Bowl. So, I think there’s a lot of benefit for players to go there and we certainly derive a lot of benefit from it.”

Relationship with Eric Bieniemy:

The offense under new OC Eric Bieniemy:

Bieniemy’s influence on the draft:

“We lean on our coaching staff. Our coaches do a great job evaluating players. That’s one thing I think that Coach Rivera’s done a really good job of putting the staff together of guys that know what they’re looking at. So we lean on those guys a lot. Eric will be very involved in the process. We definitely lean on him and Jack as coordinators to know what they want as far as skillset set and what they look for in certain players. So, Eric will be very involved in that.”

Teams not sending any representatives to the combine:

“I think what’s going on is I think some of the coaches are not coming. All the general managers are here. As far as I know, all the personnel departments are here. This is really an event, an opportunity for us to see these guys live. A lot of guys that you haven’t seen and sit down and talk with these guys one-on-one. I don’t know the whole background of each coaching staff or each team made that decision. Frequently that decision is made by a GM or an owner that says there’s not enough value for you to go. Our coaches are all here, all participating, they’re all involved in the interview process. We think there’s value in that for them being able to sit down and talk to these guys face to face. We had a great interview with Brian Robinson last year, but we left that interview with some questions we wanted to ask Brian further. And we brought him into our building for a 30 visit and we got answers to all those questions, and it worked out very well for us. So we think there’s a lot of value in having the coaches involved in this process, especially the interview process.”

Background checks on players:

“Well, it’s gonna be pretty heavily investigated by the media and by you guys. We’ll track that, obviously. We have a company that we work with on background investigations and we’ll work with that company. We have a very thorough analysis of these guys’ backgrounds, especially any criminal activity or criminal behavior, things like that.

“We’ll do it for everyone. Everybody. Yeah, so we do a very thorough background check on everybody.”

Restructuring players:

Potential deals:

“Yeah, honestly, this year we have not done a lot of deal talking at this point we have several agent meetings that we’re doing, meeting with some of the agents from some of our players but it varies from year to year. If you have somebody who you’re trying to move or if you have somebody who you’ve targeted on a different team that you’re trying to get, you’ll spend a lot of time on that. This year so far, I haven’t spent much time on that.”

Tight ends: