NEW: The NFL finance committee voted unofficially today to recommend approval of Josh Harris's deal to buy the Commanders, sources say, and the league has reached an agreement with Daniel Snyder to resolve all remaining legal issues. With@NickiJhabvala. https://t.co/l5r8wj5kZw— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) July 17, 2023
Bullock’s Film Room
Breaking down what the Commanders are getting in their new quarterback
Brissett is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL. He started the first 11 games last season while the Browns waited for Deshaun Watson’s return from suspension and he statistically ranked pretty highly. He completed 64% of his passes for 2608 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. He’ll now provide some valuable experience behind Howell, having played behind some great quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Phillip Rivers.
He should also fit a similar style of offense to the one Eric Bieniemy is likely to try and install for Howell. From watching Brissett, he appears at his best making quick decisions and getting the ball out of his hands efficiently.
Brissett also excels at operating an offense as a distributor, where he can trust his coach to scheme open his first read or give him a simple read that stresses a single defender in order to decide where to throw. In Kansas City, Bieniemy and Andy Reid were kings of scouting opposing defenses and knowing how to scheme up plays that would either open up the first read or isolate single defenders for the quarterback to read.
Another benefit to adding Brissett is that he’s familiar with the west coast offense that Bieniemy is looking to install. Now there will be some differences in terminology and some smaller details that might be coached different from Brissett’s previous stops, but there will also be a lot of familiarity with particular concepts.
However, Brissett was available for a reason. [H]e doesn’t always see the whole field and throws into risky windows.
Brissett routinely used [his] mobility to move around the pocket to avoid pressure, which is something that would be fantastic for Howell to learn from. Howell is a mobile quarterback too and can be a significant threat with his legs. No doubt Eric Bieniemy will lean into this by calling plays that move the pocket or let the quarterback roll out and cut the field in half. Brissett is perfectly capable of this type of offense too.
McLaurin was given a 92 overall rating, which is the eighth best among receivers, according to a graphic on the Madden 24 Twitter account, an improvement over the 91 he was given last year. McLaurin, who earned a Pro Bowl selection for the first time during the 2022 season, also received top ratings in speed (94) and catch ability (97). McLaurin’s rating is the best among all NFC East receivers.
Here’s a better look at how McLaurin’s ratings shaped out:
- Overall: 92
- Speed: 94
- Acceleration: 93
- Catching: 97
- Agility: 88
- Awareness: 89
- Short route running: 89
- Medium route running: 90
- Deep route running: 90
The latest rating is the continuation of an upward trend for McLaurin since he was drafted in the third round back in 2019. His rating has improved every season, starting with the 70 he received in Madden 20.
2023 training camp preview | Wide receiver
Will Terry McLaurin break another franchise record?
McLaurin is already considered one of the better receivers in franchise history, and assuming he has another strong season, he will further cement himself in that category.
For starters, McLaurin is less than 300 yards away from passing Pierre Garcon for 10th on the Commanders’ all-time receiving yards list. The next on the list would be Chris Cooley with 4,711 yards, and if McLaurin were to put up the same numbers as he did last year (1,191), then he would move up to as high as eighth behind Jerry Smith.
But let’s hang onto the thought of McLaurin getting a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season for a moment. McLaurin was the first Washington player since Henry Ellard to hit 1,000 yards for the third straight season. If he were to do that a fourth time, he would be the first in team history to accomplish that feat. Considering all the legendary receivers that have worn the Burgundy & Gold, that is significant.
All that will depend on his relationship with Sam Howell, assuming he is named the starting quarterback. McLaurin was Howell’s first target against the Cowboys in Week 18, resulting in a touchdown. The two worked well together during OTAs, although it may take some time to get completely in sync.
That would be understandable since Howell is only a second-year player with just a few starting snaps to his name. But there’s nothing wrong with getting McLaurin the ball as often as possible, and if Howell can do that, it should equate to a strong season for both of them.
Snyder’s 24 years of ownership — which will end as soon as this week — turned one of the NFL’s crown jewels into a knockoff brand. The successor to the three-time Super Bowl champion Cooke family had help. Scores of expensive acquisitions flopped more than English Premier League midfielders. But Snyder’s meddling and boorish attitude was the straw that stirred the toxic drink.
That’s why Part 2 of our All-Snyder-Era team is about those who underwhelmed — or worse.
Note: As with the “good” team, selections were made based on time spent in Washington. Those whose arrivals in D.C. largely pre-dated Snyder (like Dana Stubblefield) were excluded.
RB: TJ Duckett (’06), Derrius Guice (’18-19)
Dishonorable mention: Matt Jones, Bryce Love, Byron Marshall, Adrian Murrell, Trung Canidate, Clinton Portis trade
Seeking depth following Portis’ 2006 preseason shoulder injury, Washington traded a third-round pick for Duckett’s expiring contract. Coming off a 3.1 yards-per-carry season in Atlanta, Duckett finished his lone year in the DMV with a measly 38 carries as Ladell Betts turned into a 1,000-yard back.
Controversial, injury-prone and a tantalizing prospect entering the league, Guice’s pre-draft scouting report proved accurate. After he slid to the second round in 2018, a preseason knee injury wiped out his rookie season. Guice flashed in 2019 but ultimately played only five games because of multiple injuries. Then he was released before the 2020 season following an arrest.
Marshall’s mention is for his missed block on the sack that crushed Alex Smith’s leg and created Washington’s ongoing revolving door at QB.
WR: Devin Thomas (’08-10)/Malcolm Kelly (’08-09), Josh Doctson (’16-18), Paul Richardson (’18-19)
Dishonorable mention: Terrelle Pryor, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, Cliff Russell, Taylor Jacobs, Reche Caldwell, Josh Morgan, Antonio Gandy-Golden
Doctson was picked for his size. It’s not that he couldn’t play. It’s that the 22nd player selected in the 2016 NFL Draft did not seem excited to play. A stat-line of 81-1,100-8 sounds great. Alas, those were Doctson’s totals over three years before being released.
The need for speed propelled Washington’s five-year, $40 million free-agent contract with Richardson, who had only once caught 30 passes in a season. Richardson caught 48 passes over two injury-plagued seasons while playing only 17 of 32 games.
In 2008, the team used three second-round picks on pass catchers. Thomas and Kelly combined for one start and 18 receptions as rookies. Both busts were gone by 2010 and out of the league by 2012.
TE: Fred Davis (’08-13)
Dishonorable mention: None
The sandwich pick between Thomas and Kelly in 2008, Davis had legit moments over a six-year career (59 receptions for 796 yards in 2011) in between oversleeping for his third day of rookie minicamp and being suspended for the 2014 season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy. His NFL career was placed on snooze permanently from there.
Friedman previously accused the team and owner Daniel Snyder of financial improprieties that were detailed in an April 2022 letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability (then called the House Committee on Oversight and Reform) to the Federal Trade Commission. The Commanders denied the allegations.
“The Team responded to Mr. Friedman’s allegations of financial improprieties by repeatedly and publicly calling him a liar, accusing him of committing the federal crime of perjury, and falsely implying that he was terminated as part of the Team’s sexual harassment scandal that was being widely reported … in the press,” Friedman’s attorneys wrote in his lawsuit.
The 15-page lawsuit, filed July 7 in the civil division of Loudoun County Circuit Court, names Pro Football Inc., which owns the Commanders, and attorney John Brownlee as defendants. It requests a jury trial and says Friedman is seeking $7.5 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, expenses, costs and any other damages the court deems proper.
NEW EPISODE!@ratedarmstrong had lunch with @onemangang97 and talks about the former @Commanders linebacker as a player and a person.— BLEAV in Commanders (@BleavCommanders) July 14, 2023
Presented by: @betonline_ag @BleavNetwork | @BleavSports https://t.co/wR75vxdZt4 https://t.co/F4cpF77UnL
Why Ricky Stromberg should be competing against Nick Gates for starting center | Film Session
Locked on Commanders
Washington Commanders Training Camp Preview: Linebacker Jamin Davis’ Big Year & Cody Barton Steps In
NFC East links
The Dallas Cowboys’ QB guarantees he won’t throw 10 picks in 2023
“I know who I am, and you can go back and take away half of those off drops,” Prescott said.
“I’m not saying it’s on the receiver, but if you cut that in half, then we start talking about those, nobody is talking about it.”
“I won’t have 10 interceptions this year.”
That was clearly directed at those who question Prescott’s ability to take Dallas back to the highest level of NFL success. Or, as FS1 “Speak” host Joy Taylor bluntly stated, “Get to an NFC Championship game.” Something the Cowboys have not experienced in almost three decades.
In all honesty, Prescott hasn’t exactly proven Taylor, and those who agree with her take, wrong. In seven years as Cowboys starting QB, Dak is 2-4 in the postseason with zero NFC title game appearances. By year six or seven, most players usually are who they will be for the duration of their careers. Prescott’s been very good in Dallas and even had several great moments in the NFL. But he hasn’t shown the ability to climb up to elite status, nor has Dak proven that he can carry a team on his back to a deep playoff run.
Making this kind of “guarantee” only shows Prescott hears the critics and is focused on proving them wrong. There’s nothing wrong with using that as motivation, but the odds aren’t in his favor. In Dak’s first seven years in the league, he’s thrown at least 10 interceptions four times. Prescott played only 5 games during the ’20 campaign due to injury and had four picks that season.
It is what it is— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) July 17, 2023
The running back received the franchise tag for the 2023 season and has not signed the $10.09 million tender, meaning he can hold out from training camp as long as he chooses without penalty.
Barkley, 26, was the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after a dynamic career at Penn State. He posted a career-high 1,312 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games (all starts) last season while playing on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.
In 60 games (all starts) across five seasons, Barkley has gained 4,249 yards on the ground (4.5 per attempt) with 29 rushing touchdowns. He also has caught 247 passes for 1,820 yards and eight touchdowns.
Social media reaction to Saquon Barkley, Giants not reaching a deal https://t.co/yGNYqWNClB— Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) July 17, 2023
NFL league links
Barkley: The Giants have to sit back and hope Barkley signs the franchise tag at some point and plays this season. They are banking on it. Their backfield without him is headlined by Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell, with fifth-round rookie Eric Gray also in the mix. That is not what they envisioned when putting together this roster.
General manager Joe Schoen said early in the offseason that using the franchise tag on Barkley was always one of the potential options. The Giants are perfectly fine going that route, and there never seemed to be much urgency to sign Barkley once quarterback Daniel Jones finalized his deal before the March deadline. That subsequently left the tag for the star running back.
What the Giants are betting on now is that playing hardball with the face of their franchise won’t splinter their locker room. Barkley is one of the most respected players on the roster. They are crossing their fingers that this doesn’t create a distraction big enough to derail their season.
Jacobs: Jacobs’ productivity surprised McDaniels — the coach admitted he was used to utilizing a running back by committee approach, rather than leaning on an every down back. But even though the coach insisted he was looking forward to Jacobs’ return, there’s a reason the Raiders made literally no moves in their RB room this offseason. No additions. No losses. All while retaining seven backs — Zamir White, Brandon Bolden, Ameer Abdullah, Jakob Johnson, Brittain Brown, Sincere McCormick and Austin Walter.
Whistling by the graveyard? Maybe, but if Jacobs holds out and misses significant time or even sits out the season, the Raiders feel like they can lean on the continuity at the position and can at least attempt to plug and play and go running back by committee.
[I]t’s all but a foregone conclusion that a signal-caller will win the league’s MVP, with Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen tied for the best odds. Sure, no one is picking [Sam] Howell, Trey Lance or Mac Jones over Jefferson if we’re drafting the whole league from scratch, but we all know a team isn’t going anywhere if their QB doesn’t perform.
So we decided to take quarterbacks out of the mix and ask The Athletic’s NFL writers who the MVP for each team will be in 2023 other than the starting QB. We got an interesting array of players from both sides of the ball. Here’s what our writers think.
LB/DE Micah Parsons
He’s been arguably the NFL’s best defender during his first two years in the league. He has impacted the game in a variety of ways but most notably transforming Dallas’ defense into one of the NFL’s best. The plan is for Parsons to continue seeing the majority of his work on the perimeter of the defensive line, but he still will rush up the middle and occasionally drop into coverage. He has been working to add some good weight this offseason so he can hold up better over the course of a season while also not losing any of his exceptional speed. Parsons has the rare ability to single-handedly wreck games and open things up for his teammates to benefit from better matchups. — Jon Machota
New York Giants
TE Darren Waller
I debated going offense or defense because, in my mind, Bobby Okereke is key to upgrading the Giants defense through its inside linebacker corps. But offensively, the Giants made a splash after trading for Waller, and the tight end can help quarterback Daniel Jones shine. Waller has an injury history, but ideally, the fresh start will help him return to 2019-20 form — he had back-to-back 1,100-plus yard receiving seasons and tallied 12 receiving touchdowns. The Giants didn’t give Jones a star wide receiver in free agency, but Waller is a top target and lined up a bit on the outside during the spring. With Jones back on a massive contract, Waller is one of the key pieces who could help the quarterback reach that next level. — Charlotte Carroll
OT Lane Johnson
It’s hard to believe there’s anyone else in the NFL whose team has such an extensive and disparate win-loss record based on the player’s availability. Since Johnson entered the league in 2013, the Eagles, including playoff games, are 85-52-1 (.620 winning percentage) with Johnson and just 13-22 (.371) without him. So while a time will eventually come in which the now-33-year-old Johnson is no longer the league’s best tackle, it hasn’t come yet. The runner-ups here are A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, whose individual values are each a touch muted given the presence of the other. — Bo Wulf
DT Jonathan Allen
The next time someone tells you players plateau or decline after signing a massive contract extension, point to the Commanders’ main man in the middle. Since inking a four-year, $72 million contract ahead of the 2021 campaign, Allen set personal bests in sacks (nine in 2021) and tackles for loss (16 in 2022) while registering 47 of his career 92 QB hits. The powerful lineman is half of the dynamic interior tag team with Daron Payne and a strong locker room leader. You never know what happens next with this organization, but banking on Allen providing a steady and productive presence is a safe bet. — Ben Standig
Which head coaching hire in the last four to five years best reflects what you’d want?
Lee: Most recently, it would be Brian Daboll in New York. Both of his coordinator hires aligned with the priorities I’d like my organization to have. Bringing in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale established a clear identity, and handing his playbook (and play-calling duties) over to Mike Kafka was a rare occurrence for a new head coach — especially one hired because of his offense. Bringing in and retaining the staff he did sent a message that he knew his cohorts were capable and had his trust, and that investment paid off with the product we saw on Sundays.
Baumgardner: Last season was hardly his finest, but I’ve been a fan of the Mike Vrabel hire since Tennessee took a chance on him ahead of the 2018 season. He’s unique, having worked with college players while on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State, he’s run his own NFL defense, and he’s been a position coach.
He also was a good player, one who said what he meant and did what he said. As a coach, that’s translated to a 48-34 mark through five seasons. I think Vrabel could be a college coach at a major program right now and have success. The list of current NFL head coaches who could run a winning college program is smaller than people think. I believe Vrabel’s on it.
Based on these criteria, give us three prospective candidates whom you’d like to interview for your head coaching job.
Baumgardner: Eric Bieniemy is getting a fresh start in Washington, and I’m fascinated to see it. The “but he’s got Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid” argument is gone. I’ve read many people’s opinions on Bienemy (and the anonymous reporting about how well he does or doesn’t interview). We know he (like many) had troubles off the field as a youth/in his 20s. But his success with the best offense in football the last five years is undeniable. It just is. I want to talk with him about my job.
The NFL Should Add Preseason Games After the Draft Like NBA Summer League - Sports Illustrated https://t.co/F7gHLsflIe— NBA Cram (@NBACram) July 17, 2023
Here it goes: Rookies for the Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Chiefs, Chargers, Dolphins, Saints and Giants report to training camp today.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 18, 2023