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Daily Slop - 10 July 23: Can Washington defy expectations in 2023?

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

Commanders links


Riggo’s Rag

How can the Washington Commanders defy expectations in 2023?

[M]any [are] feeling a sense of cautious optimism surrounding the Commanders and their chances for progress in 2023. This was a sentiment backed up by Gary Davenport of The Bleacher Report, who tipped Washington to make the postseason with renewed hope and increased urgency across the franchise.

“The hype around the Washington Commanders has been a lot more muted this offseason. They were a .500 team in 2022, but they are breaking in a second-year quarterback in Sam Howell who attempted all of 19 passes in his one appearance last year. [Jahan] Dotson and Terry McLaurin are an excellent one-two punch at wide receiver. Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson are a quality “thunder and lightning” duo in the backfield. The Commanders offensive line isn’t great, but it’s adequate. Washington could have the best defensive line in the league. That’s right, better than the Eagles. The Commanders have a better, more balanced roster on paper than the Giants. With some decent QB play, a postseason berth is a real possibility.”

As Davenport stated, quarterback Sam Howell is the critical element of this equation. Rivera seems confident that the former fifth-round selection can thrive with extra responsibilities, but nobody could say what the future holds with any guarantee considering he has just one NFL regular season start to his name.

The Commanders have everything around Howell in order for him to thrive. They also happen to boast one of the league’s most formidable defenses if their changes to the secondary have the desired effect and Chase Young avoids any unnecessary complications on the health front.

Commanders Wire

Ranking Commanders 25 most important players for 2023: No. 18

The Commanders signed Wylie in free agency with the intention of him taking over as the new starting right tackle. As a result of Wylie’s signing, Washington moved former right tackle Sam Cosmi to right guard with the hope of improving two positions with one signing.

Wylie spent the past five years with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he would appear in 71 games with 59 starts. Wylie started at right and left guard before becoming the right tackle in 2021.

Cosmi struggled with injuries and consistency over the past two seasons. An outstanding run blocker, Cosmi sometimes struggled in pass protection. While Wylie isn’t viewed as an elite left tackle, he was outstanding at right tackle for the Chiefs throughout the playoffs and in the Super Bowl against the Eagles.

Wylie’s experience in new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s offense should mean a seamless transition to Washington. Wylie is athletic enough to pull and block downfield. The Commanders plan to use screen passes more in the offense, and a right side of the line with Wylie and Cosmi will be plenty athletic.

Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen: ESPN+ Top 10 List of Defensive Tackles for 2023

According to their panel, Daron Payne is the 8th best DT in the league. His beastly play last season netted him 21.5 disrupted dropbacks, a metric that combines sacks, interceptions, and batted/tipped/defended passes. Which ranked him second among defensive tackles in that category, behind only Chris Jones, and tied for seventh among all positions. Payne’s breakout season earned him a four-year, $90 million extension with Washington. An NFC executive noted his combination of talent and football intelligence, while an AFC scout added that Payne has everything – power, explosion, and the “ability to stop both the run and the pass.”

Their ranking system has Jonathan Allen 10th on the same list. Allen, a two-time Pro Bowler, has been raising his stock the past couple of seasons, totaling 16.5 sacks over the last 33 games. An AFC executive described Allen as “low-key elite,” praising his power and ability to impact both phases of the game. Allen was double-teamed on pass rushes at the second-highest rate of any player in the NFL last season, indicating the level of threat he poses to opposing offenses.

Bullock’s Film Room

Commanders Scheme Breakdown: Quarters Coverage

Breaking down quarters coverage and the variations of it that the Commanders use.

Quarters coverage is becoming more and more prevalent in the NFL as defenses attempt to combat the passing nature of the modern NFL offense. The Washington Commanders are one of the teams that have leaned heavily into the quarters coverage trend, so you’ll probably have heard lots of analysts talk about it since Ron Rivera took over in Washington. But what exactly is quarters coverage? Let’s take a closer look.

At its core quarters coverage, also known as Cover 4, is a coverage system that splits the deep part of the field into quarters. In its most basic form, the two deep safeties will account for the two inside quarters while the two outside cornerbacks will cover the outside deep quarters. The remaining three defenders will then split the underneath parts of the field into thirds.

[E]ven basic quarters coverage requires some good communication to help pass off routes and make sure everything is picked up. It’s also pretty rare that teams that play lots of quarters get to run it as simply as that. Changes in personnel groups, formations and motions can force the defense to make a check or adjustment to the coverage which can have a pretty big impact on what the coverage might look like.

For example, most offenses like to try and use trips formations against teams that run quarters coverage to try and overload one side of the field, so quarters teams will have to have multiple checks built into the coverage so that when it’s called and the offense uses a trips formation, they automatically know to check into the different variation of quarters to help combat that look.

Another offensive formation variance that requires a different check is a bunch set. Bunch sets are when the offense aligns three receivers to the same side of the field, but bunches them all together, typically with one receiver up on the line of scrimmage and the other two flanking either side of him a yard deeper. Bunch sets can cause a lot of confusion for various coverage systems, but the advantage of playing quarters coverage is that the defense should always be able to have one more defender than receiver on each side of the field. The typical response to a bunch set is known as a box check.

Quarters is a coverage that can provide a lot of answers against the modern NFL passing attacks, which is why it has become so popular around the league and will likely continue to do so. It has its weaknesses, particularly against the run, but the flexibility it provides in the passing game make it an essential part of the playbook and something you should expect to see plenty of from the Commanders this season.



NFC East links

Philly Voice

A collection of hate mail from our dumpster fire series

Fan affiliation: Giants

Body of the email: I read your article on the Giants being a dumpster fire this year. You certainly are entitled to your opinion as am I. I’ve never met an Eagle fan in the 45 years I followed the Giants who has had a single brain cell. You are all f****** MORONS and watching you lose every year you made the playoffs was better then watching my Giants win 3 Superbowls. The fans are disgusting and your article caters to them.

Good luck this year A hole.

#JimmyNote: This dude emailed me from his work account, with a full set of contact information. He is a managing partner at a Manhattan law firm, lol.

I responded by asking who he billed that hour to, which he thought was funny, and now we’re friends.

Can Eagles return to Super Bowl after losing both coordinators?

With the Eagles aiming to return to the Super Bowl, the departures of Gannon and Steichen stand as just one of the many statistical and historical hurdles Philadelphia will have to overcome to return to the championship, per NFL Research.

The Eagles are the sixth team to make the Super Bowl and lose both coordinators in the ensuing offseason, and none of those clubs returned to the big game.

NFL league links


Browns Projected to Part Ways With Touted Draft Pick After One Season

Winfrey’s most recent issue involved his April 10 arrest on a misdemeanor assault charge in Texas. Citing court documents, TMZ reported on April 12 that Winfrey allegedly grabbed his girlfriend’s arm during an argument, causing “bodily harm.” Two months later, on June 12, ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported that the court had dropped the misdemeanor assault charge against the Cleveland defensive tackle.

The incident was problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is that it added to an established trend of off-field issues that have characterized Winfrey’s first NFL season. The 22-year-old’s other problems have been related to his attitude in the locker room.

Browns All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett publicly called out Winfrey early in the regular season after the team suspended the DT one game for disciplinary reasons.

“I think we all have to step up and say something, but sometimes silence speaks louder than words,” Garrett told reporters on September 16. “We’ve used our voice a couple of times, and at the end of the day, [Winfrey has] got to learn how to be a pro. [Head coach] Kevin [Stefanski] took it into his own hands, and he felt like that was the right thing to do, and I’m behind my coach’s actions totally.”

Ex-Seahawks, 49ers CB Richard Sherman says 2021 ‘probably my last year’

Amid an interview with Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, Sherman recalled trying to cover Philly wide receiver DeVonta Smith, hearing a snap and admitting to himself that 2021 was likely his last season.

“DeVonta must have ran this comeback, and I had him under control, you know what I mean? I was like, ‘Bang, quick jam, easy, got him under control.’ He must have stopped, and I tried to stop. My whole groin says, ‘Snap, snap, snap, snap.’ I said, ‘Oh, whoa. Whoa.’ And then you’re trying to guard him, you’re like chasing him around, like please don’t throw him the ball,” Sherman said. “Our coach was looking at me on the sidelines, like, ‘You want to come out? You want to come out?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, but they’re in a hurry-up.’ So, I’m like bailing out. At that moment, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is probably my last year. I don’t got it for these young dudes right now.’”


Washington Commanders Roster

Washington Commanders Roster Move: RB Derrick Gore elevated from the practice squad


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Commanders fans shaken by bad loss to Bills and pessimistic about Sunday’s upcoming trip to Philly