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Daily Slop - 11 July 23: Receivers, DBs, Sam Howell and the west coast system of playcalling

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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NFL: Washington Commanders at Houston Texans Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders links


One burning question about Washington’s wide receivers ahead of the 2023 season

Who will claim the last remaining spots at the position?

In terms of questions that will be answered during training camp, the receiver position might have the fewest. We already know what the top of the group is going to look like. Terry McLaurin is going to be the No. 1 receiver with Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown filling in behind him.

That leaves the rest of the eight receivers on the roster to fight for one, possibly two positions on the 53-man roster.

Of those options, Marcus Kemp is the most experienced. Kemp, an undrafted free agent from Hawaii, has spent most of his NFL career with the Chiefs and appeared in one game for the Miami Dolphins in 2020. Kemp has mostly been a special teams player for his career and has four receptions for 42 yards. But Kemp’s biggest advantage is that he is the most familiar with Eric Bieniemy’s offense.

There’s also the competition for the kickoff and punt return roles consider. That role was filled by Dax Milne last season, and the seventh-round pick had a combined 611 return yards on 55 returns.

But there are other players on the roster who can challenge Milne’s hold on the role, namely undrafted free agent Kazmeir Allen. Allen only returned kickoffs in the last two seasons of his college career with the Bruins but managed to become one of the better specialists in the Pac-12.

It would seem like Kemp, Milne and Allen are the most likely compete for the final spots at receiver, but the other Commanders’ receivers on the roster like Mitchell Tinsley, Jalen Sample and Brycen Tremayne all had their high points during OTAs and minicamp. If they can keep that momentum going into training camp, they all should have a shot of getting on the roster.

Commanders Film Room: Jartavius Quan Martin

The Washington Commanders entered the offseason with question marks all over the place. One such question mark was on the back end of the defense as safety Bobby McCain became a free agent (ultimately signing with the Giants). The team’s answer to that question was to draft defensive back Jartavius “Quan” Martin out of the University of Illinois.

Martin (5-11, 194 lbs) spent most of last season being overlooked as fellow Illinois DBs Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown turned heads; all three players were selected by day two of the 2023 NFL Draft. Martin certainly found a way to stand out at the combine with his 44-inch verticle and 11’1 broad jump.

In five seasons at Illinois, he recorded 225 total tackles (148 solo tackles, 10.5 for loss) and 22 passes defended with seven interceptions.

Bullock’s Film Room

Breaking down the west coast offense play call structure

Taking a closer look at how a play is called in the west coast offense.

[T]he first thing to say is that not all calls in the west coast offense are hugely wordy. There are some very simple calls for situations like two-minute drills and no-huddle situations where the team can’t afford to waste time on the quarterback spitting out a 20-word play call. But all west coast offense calls typically follow the same structure and order:

1. Shift

2. Formation and strength

3. Formation variation

4. Motion

5. Run direction/pass protection

6. Run or pass concept

7. Snap count

8. “Ready break!”

With this structure in place, a call can then be as wordy or as simple as it needs to be, but it will always follow that order. Any shifts will come first in the call, then the formation and strength of the formation, followed by any motions after the formation is set. Then the pass protection or the run lane is called by a number followed by the pass or run concept. The quarterback then calls the snap count and breaks the huddle.

NFL Mocks [Fansided]

Commanders: Will QB Sam Howell Lead Franchise To Postseason Or The No. 1 Pick?

The Commanders said they were rolling with Howell, but not a soul actually believed them. With Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers rumors swirling, along with a quarterback draft class that boasted a few intriguing options — Washington made good on its assertion.

I am skeptical about Howell and the Commanders in 2023. I can’t rule out a surprise ascension-up quarterback power rankings for the former UNC signal-caller, but that is something I’ll have to see to believe. He was a fifth-round pick for a reason, after all.

Jacoby Brissett is waiting in the wings if things go south with Howell. He is a starting-caliber player at the position, and I would feel better predicting more wins for Washington if Brissett was named the starter. I don’t blame the Commanders for rolling with Howell; there’s not much to lose.

Either Howell shocks the world and makes the front office look brilliant. Or he flames out, and Brissett gets a chance to right the ship. Or, perhaps the most likely outcome, the Commanders stumble throughout the year and earn a high draft pick next April.



NFC East links


Big Blue View

Rub concept and BANJO technique explained

A RUB CONCEPT frequently draws yellow laundry when not executed properly. The receiver that runs the pick must display his hands, lest offensive pass interference may be called. He must act as if he intended to receive a pass and not just Dennis Rodman the defender.

Banjo coverage is a switch where the outside cornerback takes the number two receiver (inside receiver) upon an outside release, and the inside cornerback handles the number one upon an inside release. The man-covering defenders switch responsibilities upon the receiver’s releases.

Bleeding Green Nation

Here are your indisputable NFC mid-summer power rankings

The Eagles enter the 2023 season as the top dog in the NFC.

14. Washington Commanders

This is a weird team. With Eric Bienemy, the offense could be much improved, but it all comes down to Sam Howell. He’s an intriguing prospect, but far from a sure thing, but then again, so was Hurts two years ago! I think there’s a little less certainty with him, as well as the rest of the roster, than the teams I have ahead of them.

5. New York Giants

There will always be a limit on how good this team will be with Daniel Jones at QB, but they really had no choice but to keep him. They’ve gotten a little better at wide receiver, a little speedier, and Darren Waller is good, but they’re not elite at anything they do, and they play in the brutally tough NFC East.

3. Dallas Cowboys

Dak needs to stop throwing picks. If he does, Dallas will challenge the Eagles for the top spot in the East. They’re still very, very good, and if the Birds slip, can very easily win the division.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Most experts agree that, if the Eagles don’t have the best overall roster in the conference, it’s at least second-best. There are still some holes at linebacker and safety, and I don’t love the punter situation, but all in all, this is a team that is still teaming with talent with Jalen Hurts at the helm, the unquestioned best QB in the NFC. And the smart money says they’re not done adding.


NFL league links


Pro Football Rumors

Offseason In Review: Los Angeles Rams

Nothing gold can stay. From Sean McVay‘s 2017 arrival through the 2022 offseason, the Rams treated the football world to a win-now mantra. As draft pick-collecting crusades transpired elsewhere, the Rams’ recovery from a 12-year playoff drought produced two Super Bowl berths and a championship. Evading critics with a George Allen-esque, “eff them picks” M.O. that still leaves Jared Goff as the most recent first-rounder the franchise has drafted, the Rams should be lauded for the effort and ability to craft a championship-caliber roster largely without the cost shortcuts other teams lacking a top-shelf quarterback have relied upon in this era.

Los Angeles’ 5-12 offering last season — unequivocally the worst Super Bowl title defense in NFL history — paused the music, and the McVay-Les Snead duo operated with newfound restraint this offseason. The team that has traded its past seven first-round picks stripped its defense of a few linchpins and stopped its spree of big-ticket contracts after a busy 2022 on that front. The presence of cornerstone holdovers blended with a sudden cost-conscious approach makes the Rams’ 2023 outlook difficult to pin down.

Nine regular starters, the team’s season-ending QB1 and both its specialists are no longer in the picture. In their place: mostly rookies. Edwards, Gaines, Scott, Rapp, Wolford and Long played out their rookie contracts. The Rams have let role players walk following the expiration of their rookie deals in the past. But this offseason brought a different goal compared to when the likes of Cory Littleton, Austin Corbett, Gerald Everett or Darious Williams were made expendable to afford higher-priced talent. Stafford, Donald and Kupp keep the stars-and-scrubs blueprint alive, but the Rams said goodbye to more core performers than usual.


The Playcallers Ep. 1: The kids are all right

In Episode 1, host Jourdan Rodrigue details the origins of the Shanahan/McVay offensive system, which over time grew into the most popular in the sport. Unique circumstances push Kyle Shanahan to start to evolve this system as he joins up with other young coaches in Tampa Bay, Houston and Washington. A collision of forces, dysfunction and talent culminates in the offensive explosion (and then implosion) in Washington with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin the Third.

Voices in the episode include Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Mike McDaniel, Matt LaFleur, Raheem Morris and Robert Griffin the Third.