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Daily Slop - 15 July 23: Spotlights on Antonio Gibson, Emmanuel Forbes, Chris Rodriguez, Braeden Daniels, and how Eric Bieniemy will create mismatches

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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Emilee Fails

Commanders links


Commanders’ Antonio Gibson wants to line up more at WR in 2023: ‘I haven’t shown my position’

Gibson believes more opportunities to motion out wide and play on the perimeter would unlock his production.

“Hopefully, this year, it comes around to where I get to showcase on multiple occasions what I can do out there,” he said. “First, I love being out there. I have fun out there, and once I get the ball in open space, I’m really that guy. At running back, I’m not going to say it’s not (possible), because I’ve seen a lot of guys do it, but those opportunities are not there. Once you catch the ball in that open field, you got so much more space.”

The Ball Hawk, part 2 | Inside Emmanuel Forbes’ ‘elite’ ball skills in high school

As the longtime head coach of Grenada High School, Ashley Kuhn liked to keep an eye on his future players by staying in touch with the local junior high program.

One of them was a skinny seventh grader named Emmanuel Forbes, and Kuhn could see the appeal.

“You have kids at that age that are better than other kids,” Kuhn said. “And you could tell that about him at that age that he was just a little bit more athletic.”

Forbes simply knew how to get the ball in his hands, and when that happened, it unlocked another dimension of his ability.

“His ball skills are elite, and the ball finds him,” Kuhn said. “Interceptions, returning a kick, returning a punt, blocking an extra point, a field goal, it’s just amazing how his ball skills translate.”

Kuhn and the Chargers used Forbes in just about every way they could, giving him snaps at receiver, cornerback and as their return specialist. Most of his time, however, was spent on defense, and his highlights were similar to what he eventually ended up putting on display at Mississippi State. He wasn’t afraid to be physical with ball carriers, regardless of how much bigger they were than him.

But where Forbes shined the most was in coverage. A good chunk of his Hudl highlights are focused on his interceptions, and almost all of them show his knack for tracking the ball in midair and jumping routes. One of the best examples came in the 2019 season opener against Neshoba Central, when Forbes backpedaled three steps before recognizing the route, sprinting to the ball and snatching the pass before the receiver could even get his hands on it. Forbes returned the pick 41 yards for the touchdown.

Walter Football

2023 NFL Offseason: Washington Redskins

2023 Washington Redskins Analysis: The Redskins won’t be projected to win many games because of their quarterback situation, but there are other reasons to be pessimistic about their outlook. Their offensive line is worse than it was last year, and the same thing can be said of their linebacking corps. The Redskins also have a tougher schedule this year. Besides, they are a dysfuctional organization, so it was going to be difficult for them to reach the playoffs anyway.

Projection: 5-12 (4th in NFC East)

  • 2022 Projection: 6-11. 2022 Actual Result: 8-8-1.
  • 2021 Projection: 10-7. 2021 Actual Result: 7-10.
  • 2020 Projection: 4-12. 2020 Actual Result: 7-9.
  • 2019 Projection: 4-12. 2019 Actual Result: 3-13.
  • 2018 Projection: 10-6. 2018 Actual Result: 7-9.
  • 2017 Projection: 8-8. 2017 Actual Result: 7-9.
  • 2016 Projection: 9-7. 2016 Actual Result: 8-7-1.

Bullock’s Film Room

What RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. brings to the Washington Commanders

Taking a closer look at the Commanders’ sixth round pick and how he might fit in Washington.

The Washington Commanders drafted Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. with their sixth round pick. The 6-foot, 217 pound back is a no nonsense, physical runner that likes to work downhill and make his presence felt between the tackles. You won’t see him dancing behind the line of scrimmage trying to make defenders miss with multiple sharp jump cuts. Instead, he’s going to do his best to stay on his assigned path and face defenders head on, lowering the shoulder and initiating contact to try and run them over.

Where Rodriguez struggles is that he isn’t a particularly explosive athlete. You won’t see him speed away from the defense and he’s not the type to make multiple sharp cuts to make defenders miss in space. But Rodriguez understands that’s not his game and because of that, he’s a no nonsense type of runner that looks to make one cut and get up the field.

Overall it’s clear to see why the Commanders loved Rodriguez enough to draft him despite not having a particularly large need at the running back position. He’s not an explosive athlete so he wont start over Brian Robinson or Antonio Gibson, but his no nonsense, physical downhill run style will provide the Commanders with a nice option to give Robinson a breather on first and second down. That in turn will allow Gibson to focus more on the pass catching duties as the third down back, which is the role I suspect he’ll end up taking on full time now.



NFC East links

Big Blue View

Saquon Barkley contract update: Could it be ‘See you in September’ for Barkley?

Barkley, Giants said to “remain at a stalemate” in contract talks

The Giants placed the franchise tag, worth $10.091 million on Barkley. The two sides have been working to reach a long-term deal. Without one, Barkley’s choices would be sign the tag and play or don’t sign the tag and sit out. If Barkley does not sign the tag he would have until Nov. 14 (the Tuesday after Week 10’s games) to sign a one-year deal. Otherwise, he would miss the entire 2023 season.

Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post concurred with Russini’s reporting. He tweeted:

“As I’ve been saying all along, my informed belief is no deal by Monday means ‘See you in September.’

Barkley has said he is looking for “respect” from the Giants, not a market-shattering deal. He has turned down a pair of offers from the Giants reported to be worth $12.5 million or more annually. From the end of the 2022 season Barkley has been steadfast that no player wants to franchise tagged.

Russini reported that the sides “remain at a stalemate.”

A major sticking point between the Giants and Barkley has been thought to be guaranteed money. If the Giants were to franchise tag Barkley both this year and next, that would be slightly more than $22 million in guaranteed money. CBS Sports cap analyst Joel Corry, a former sports agent, told the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast that the Giants have to give Barkley at least that much in guaranteed money to get a deal done.

Blogging the Boys

Young Cowboys cornerbacks entering their third year are on thin ice

Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright can’t afford any missteps in their third Cowboys training camp.

As second- and third-round picks from the 2021 NFL Draft, Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright were supposed to already be steady contributors on the Cowboys defense. But neither has really carved out a role and now their jobs should be on the line when Dallas heads into its 2023 training camp.

Joseph and Wright were drafted during a period of major transition at cornerback. Chidobe Awuzie left in free agency and there wasn’t much else on the roster behind Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis. Dallas needed more players immediately and for the future.

Unfortunately, despite being Day 2 picks, neither player has done much in their first two years. In fact, they allowed fifth-round rookie DaRon Bland to leapfrog them on the depth chart last season. Even Israel Mukuamu, a sixth-round pick from their own draft who mostly played safety, is projected to have a larger role in 2023.

Now in the third year of their rookie contracts, Joseph and Wright are scheduled to count a combined $3.4 million against Dallas’ salary cap. The Cowboys are now out of the “underwater” phase of those deals with just $1.9 million in dead money left, meaning they can save some space by releasing them.

Blogging the Boys

The Cowboys will soon face challenges after giving new contracts to their biggest stars

It’s nice to have so many talented players, until you have to pay them. That is the position the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in.

Trevon Diggs is in line to hit free agency first and he’s projected just north of $20 million and likely would be the second-highest paid corner after Jaire Alexander. Lamb is next to follow and could flirt with the $30 million mark, but at the very least should be somewhere near the third-highest-paid receiver behind Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams. And don’t even get us started on Parsons. When it comes time to pay him, he will likely reset the market and could be the highest-paid non-quarterback with an average annual salary of around $35 million per year. And let’s not forget that Prescott himself only has two more years on his deal and his next contract should exceed $50 million per season. Wow, that’s a lot of money.

Nobody is expecting the Cowboys to let any of those guys walk. If all of them are re-signed, that would be a huge chunk of their cap space allocated for just four guys. Is that even possible? Sure it is. The cap is fluid and can be sloshed around to fit whatever the team wants to do. People think the Cowboys’ front office is cheap, but the reality is they are not. They spend money just like everyone else. They just save it for the players they love the most, which are their own homegrown talents.

While keeping these four players is possible, it would be a rare thing to have this many players make that much money on the same team. Based on the contract projections above, the Cowboys would likely have something like this - Prescott (5th-highest-paid), Parsons (15th), Lamb (20th), and Diggs (45th).

Just for reference, only two teams in the NFL have four of their players ranked in the top 50 for highest paid:

  • Cleveland Browns - Deshaun Watson (6th), Myles Garrett (22nd), Denzel Ward (46th), and Amari Cooper (49th)
  • Los Angeles Chargers - Joey Bosa (20th), Khalil Mack (31st), Keenan Allen (47th), and Mike Williams (48th)

That’s not good company as the Browns are the epitome of a struggling franchise, having only one playoff appearance in the last 20 years. The Chargers have had success, but they are similar to Dallas in that they haven’t made the Super Bowl since the mid-’90s and they struggle to get past the divisional round. It should also be noted that their young quarterback Justin Herbert is not on that list and will soon be added.

NFL league links


Yahoo! Sports

Week of Woe: The one that got away for all 32 NFL teams

The biggest mistakes in the NFL aren’t just a wasted draft pick on a bust or a huge free-agency contract that doesn’t work out. It’s the opportunity cost.

For every draft bust, there’s a future star that team instead could have had. For every great trade in NFL history, there was a team that was on the bad end of it.

Here are the biggest “the one that got away” stories from each of the 32 NFL teams, including coaches they didn’t hire, draft picks they didn’t make or trades that were instantly regrettable:

Dallas Cowboys: Trading the Shaun Alexander pick for Joey Galloway

The Cowboys wanted to get a new offensive star, so they traded two first-round draft picks to the Seahawks for Joey Galloway. Little did they know that the offensive star in that deal was Shaun Alexander, whom the Seahawks took with one of the Cowboys’ picks and would go on to be NFL MVP. Galloway played only four seasons with the Cowboys, never topping 1,000 yards in a season.

New York Giants: Letting Vince Lombardi go

Vince Lombardi wanted to coach the Giants. He was the offensive coordinator there in the 1950s. But he was more interested in being a head coach, and the Giants had Jim Lee Howell. When the Packers hired Lombardi away, Giants co-owner Wellington Mara thought he had an agreement that he could hire Lombardi back when Howell stepped down. Howell wanted to step down after the 1959 season, Lombardi’s first season in Green Bay (right after Giants defensive coordinator Tom Landry went to coach the expansion Cowboys), but Lombardi didn’t want to come back to New York. Howell stayed on one more year, Mara tried Lombardi again but was denied (“It became a sore subject, both ways,” Mara told The New York Times), and Lombardi went on to a legendary run with the Packers. The Giants didn’t win their first Super Bowl — and the Lombardi Trophy — until the 1986 season.

Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson

Let’s go with a recent whiff for the Eagles, who haven’t made many big mistakes lately. With the 21st pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, they took TCU receiver Jalen Reagor. He had 64 catches with the Eagles, many bad drops and was dumped after two seasons. With the 22nd pick, the Vikings took Justin Jefferson. Jefferson has 4,825 yards through three seasons, an NFL record, and won NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2022. The Eagles won the NFC last season, but imagine how much better they’d be with Jefferson instead of Reagor.

Washington Commanders: Howard Milstein’s ownership bid denied

The entire Daniel Snyder era could have been avoided. In 1999, New York real estate mogul Howard Milstein made an offer for the Washington franchise. NFL team owners were against it, in part because a lot of Milstein’s bid was based on debt, so Milstein withdrew his offer. He’d later sue team president John Kent Cooke and general manager Charley Casserly, claiming they interfered with his bid to buy the team. One of Milstein’s partners, Snyder, went forward with a different partnership group and landed the team. That led to one of the worst ownership tenures in sports history.

The ATthletic

Netflix’s ‘Quarterback’: What we learned about QB life in the NFL

Episode 7 — Win or Go Home

Spoiler: Cousins goes home. The 34-year-old’s attempt to get his second career playoff win is thwarted by the wild-card Giants when Cousins throws an inexplicably short pass on fourth down on the final significant play of the game.

He walks through his thought process on the play and then takes a reflective drive home with his wife, Julie. The wives get almost as much screen time throughout the series as the quarterbacks, which often adds interesting perspective and certainly market-tested well with Netflix’s maximize-the-audience algorithm.

Then Cousins is gone, and we’re left with only Mahomes. It’s like an NFL version of “Survivor.”

On the field, we see Mahomes’ playoff ankle injury and hear his sideline debate with head coach Andy Reid about whether he’s coming out of a game. It sounds remarkably like trying to get a 9-year-old to take a bath if that 9-year-old had a super foul mouth.

“Why can’t I do it at halftime?” Mahomes pleads at one point.

Off the field, we get our first glimpse of Mahomes’ house under construction. Allow me to describe the house. Close your eyes and picture the house a 27-year-old with a $450 million contract would build. That’s it. And it’s awesome.

Episode 8 — The Final Chapter

We’re basically just putting a bow on everything.... Mahomes wins the Super Bowl.

The Mahomes family goes to Disneyland, we get quick wrap-ups with Cousins and Mariota, and everyone lives mostly happily ever after.

Should you watch “Quarterback”? Yes, you should watch it. It’s football, and it’s July.


The Playcallers Ep. 5: To resist it is useless

A look at the modern NFL shows that variants of this offensive system - and even the defensive systems it pulled into its innovation loop - are everywhere. What happens when it becomes too saturated? How do coaches know when to jump into what comes next? Host Jourdan Rodrigue also looks at the unintended consequences the explosion in popularity of coaches from this offense have had on the NFL’s hiring practices. Meanwhile, coaches across the league are candid about how they try to evolve and adapt in a sport that endlessly moves in patterns and cycles.

Voices in the episode include Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur, Mike McDaniel, Raheem Morris, Kevin O’Connell, Thomas Brown, Kevin Demoff, Les Snead, Andrew Whitworth and Robert Griffin the Third.