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Daily Slop - 19 July 23: Commanders fans are ready for new ownership; Cowboys & Giants fans prepare to move on from starting RBs

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: APR 27 2023 Draft Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Washington Post

NFL finance committee endorses Commanders deal; legal issues resolved

Attorneys for the NFL and Snyder also reached an agreement that resolves the remaining legal issues that had threatened to complicate the approval and closing of the deal, those people said.

How those issues were resolved was not immediately clear Monday evening, but a person familiar with the deliberations said the league and Snyder were satisfied with the outcome.

That clears the way for NFL team owners to vote to ratify the record-setting sale during a meeting scheduled for Thursday in Minneapolis.

Some of the eight owners on the finance committee did not participate in Monday’s meeting, and the committee did not take a formal vote to recommend approval of the sale, according to one of the people with knowledge of the deliberations. But the owners who participated took what that person described as a “straw poll” in which they unanimously endorsed the deal.

The finance committee’s official vote to recommend approval of the sale to the other owners is expected to come during its meeting Thursday at a Minneapolis hotel, just ahead of the full owners meeting. The owners generally follow the recommendation of the committee. The sale must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 owners.

“This is a good outcome,” one of the people familiar with Monday’s deliberations said, predicting the sale will receive unanimous support from the finance committee and the owners.

The sale is expected to close as soon as Friday.

The Athletic

If Josh Harris brings ‘The Process’ to the Commanders, what would it look like?

We know Harris has the courage for a teardown. After becoming the Sixers’ primary owner in 2011, he took the rebuild/reload debate to the extreme.

In 2013, with the team stuck in mediocrity, Harris hired general manager Sam Hinkie, who introduced The Process. Hinkie stripped the roster bare while prioritizing draft position over winning. The 76ers went 47-199 over three seasons. That included a dreadful 10-72 record in 2015-16, which “spooked” league officials and had commentators decrying organizational malpractice. After the season, while facing pressure from the league, Harris pulled the plug and forced Hinkie to resign.

Harris skewed more traditional in replacing Hinkie with two-time NBA Executive of the Year Bryan Colangelo, then hired former player Elton Brand as GM after Colangelo resigned in 2018. But in 2020, Harris brought in sports analytics pioneer and Hinkie’s mentor Daryl Morey to lead the Sixers’ basketball operations.

The Devils, which Harris took over in 2013, have become one of the NHL’s most data-driven teams, having leaned on the 76ers’ model to establish their own analytics department. And both of Harris’ teams have become playoff favorites and perhaps championship contenders.

While many have declared The Process dead or a failure, the Sixers — despite an almost comical series of blunders that included poor draft picks and trades, players forgetting how to shoot and a burner cellphone scandal — are enjoying their best stretch in two decades. As The Athletic’s John Hollinger wrote months before Morey’s hiring in 2020:

To say The Process was a mistake because of the current status of the Sixers is to entirely miss the point. In fact, the opposite is true: That the Sixers could remain a playoff team despite the profusion of own-goals shows the value of the original plan. The truth is that the trade-acquired assets and high lottery picks from four years of suckitude loaded the dice so heavily in Philadelphia’s favor that nobody could possibly screw it up, no matter how many times they shot themselves in the foot.

Don’t expect that the 76ers’ approach will come with Harris down I-95 to the Commanders. But don’t assume he is embarrassed by it, either.

“I would hope (Harris) learned from it,” said Randy Mueller, the former Dolphins and Saints GM and 2000 NFL Executive of the Year who now writes for The Athletic, “because I don’t know too many GMs who would sign up for that (Process) deal in the NFL. That sounds unbelievable to me.”

In the NFL, any plan that doesn’t maximize winning spooks investors, ticket-buyers, football lifers and league officials. Cutting too deeply will lose more than games. It can squander the faith of a locker room in a sport with non-guaranteed contracts and high injury rates.

“Football is one of those games where you put yourself at risk,” said one longtime agent who was granted anonymity to speak freely. “You don’t have to tank in the NFL. That’s not the mentality.”

Washington Times

John Kent Cooke rooting for Josh Harris-led Commanders era: ‘Can’t get any worse”

Even now, nearly 25 years after he was last associated with the franchise, John Kent Cooke admits to still being an interested “bystander” as the imminent sale of the Washington Commanders unfolds.

The 81-year-old, speaking over the phone from his vacation home in Maine, makes it clear he’s wishing Josh Harris, the soon-to-be owner of what was once the Cooke family’s team, nothing but the best.

“It’s going to be a very good new era,” Cooke said. “And the interim era between the Cooke family and the Harris family was not a good era.”

As the son of the late Jack Kent Cooke, John Kent Cooke was a longtime Washington executive who also assumed temporary control of the franchise upon his father’s death in 1997. Cooke was ultimately unable to keep the club in his family — his father’s will demanded that the team be sold to the highest bidder, which proved to be Snyder in 1999.

“The Commanders is a poor name, and I think it’s unpopular, so they should change the name,” Cooke said. “I can tell you right now, I would never have changed the name for the Washington Redskins if I had continued to control that team.”

A source familiar with the situation said earlier this year that Harris and his group have held no discussions about embracing another rebrand — making the scenario unlikely.

Cooke, who helped oversee Washington’s move to Landover, Maryland, and the building of the team’s headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, said it can be a challenge to navigate the political waters of local jurisdictions — something that Harris likely already knows, given he’s run into resistance in trying to build a new 76ers stadium in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

Despite helping Washington relocate to Landover, Cooke said he believes the Commanders moving back to the District and building a new stadium on the land of RFK Stadium remains an “ideal situation.”

2023 training camp preview | Cornerback

A healthy Benjamin St-Juste:

There was a time when Benjamin St-Juste was considered to be the Commanders’ primary option at nickel cornerback, but with Williams Jackson III being injured and later traded, they were forced to move him back to the outside.

St-Juste was good in the slot, but that shift allowed his skill set to shine.

Prior to suffering an ankle injury against the Houston Texans making a pass breakup that resulted in an interception by Darrick Forrest, St-Juste faced the likes of Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown. Despite missing four games, he finished second among the team’s cornerbacks in tackles (42) and third in pass breakups (7).

“I think I found my potential in terms of [being] a CB1, being matched up against a star receiver and performing well and stepping up in big moments” St-Juste said. “That was kind of like a little coming out moment for me.”

Bullock’s Film Room

Commanders Scheme Breakdown: The Sail Concept

Breaking down the Sail concept and how Eric Bieniemy could look to use it in Washington.

The Sail concept is something that should be familiar to anyone that has read my work before. Sail was one of the go-to concepts for the Commanders’ previous offensive coordinator Scott Turner and is another concept that is used regularly throughout the league each week.

For those unfamiliar, Sail is a three level flood concept, meaning the offense uses three receivers to attack or ‘flood’ three different levels of the defense. Typically, an outside receiver will run deep, a slot receiver or tight end will run to a depth of 10-15 yards and break outside to attack the intermediate level and then a running back or tight end will work out to the flat underneath. This is tough for a defense to handle because most zone coverages will focus on taking away the deep route and having a flat defender taking away the underneath route, but be stretched into leaving the intermediate route open.

every team will have multiple variations of the Sail concept in their playbook, but the Chiefs often ran it slightly differently than what we saw with the Commanders last year. They have a couple of variations of Sail that stood out when studying Bieniemy’s scheme.

The first variation that stood out is known as “Seattle” in the Andy Reid coaching tree. The idea of the concept remains the same, with three receivers running to three different levels, flooding one side of the field. But how they get there is slightly different. The receiver working to the flat is changed here, with a fake jet sweep continuing into the flat as bait underneath. The outside receiver also runs more of a straight go route rather than a post. But the major difference is how the tight end runs the sail route.

In this variation, the tight end is asked to fully sell an over route before suddenly breaking back outside. This type of route works best off play-action, when defenses are expecting over routes to occur, but it’s not a requirement to make the play successful.

The Sail concept has been prominent in Washington for a number of years now, as it is around the league. But under Eric Bieniemy, there could be a few different variations of it that we haven’t seen in Washington recently. Obviously Travis Kelce has been the man at the center of these plays for the Chiefs, so Logan Thomas and Cole Turner would be the presumed benefactors of this concept. However, we did also see Tyreek Hill run the Detroit variation and make a big gain, so it’s not out of the question that the Commanders could run these plays with Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson as the primary option.


NFC East links

Blogging the Boys

3 reasons why this will be Tony Pollard’s last year with the Cowboys

This could be the beginning of the end for Tony Pollard in Dallas.

While nothing is set in stone, it’s possible this could be the beginning of the end for Pollard and his time in Dallas. It’s not because they don’t like him or believe that he wouldn’t be a nice asset for this offense. It really comes down to these three reasons


Despite the overwhelming stats showing this being a losing proposition, teams still do it. Maybe they are hoping to buck the trend or maybe they somewhat expect it, but have the extra cash around to handle the cost. The Cowboys do not have this type of financial flexibility, which brings us to reason number two.


We all know that there are ways to manipulate the cap to get a deal done if you truly want to, so when we say can’t afford it, what we are really meaning is they want to allocate their resources elsewhere.

They also have some big contracts to get done in the near future as players like CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, and Trevon Diggs will need new deals soon. Even Dak Prescott will need a new, and rather huge, contract extension to soften his yearly cap hit in the future. This is why the Cowboys’ front office has been prudent about where their cap resources have gone recently and why they will continue to be careful when handing out pricey deals. The Cowboys need the money to pay players at the more premium positions and can ill afford to overpay for a running back.

Big Blue View

Is this the beginning of the end for Saquon Barkley and the Giants?

Being a Giant for life might now be unattainable for Barkley

It is, though, fair to come away from Monday with the belief that the Giants and Barkley are headed for an eventual divorce.

Jordan Ranaan of ESPN is predicting as much:

It seems the only path for a new deal for Barkley is if he plays so extraordinarily well this season that the Giants feel they absolutely can’t afford to lose him under any circumstance. So far that hasn’t been the case. He probably would have to top last season’s 1,300-plus yards and be an MVP candidate. Otherwise, it appears the ship has already sailed on Barkley and the Giants being a forever thing.

Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports is also seeing the end of Barkley’s days as a Giant coming:

So how will this all end?

Not well. Barkley is not very happy with how this was resolved. He’ll sit out the summer and, most likely, show up for the regular season, but it’s hard to imagine he’s going to hide his unhappiness. That will loom over everything this season, and could make it really difficult for him if he struggles.

As for his long-term future, don’t be so sure the Giants will tag him again. And if they didn’t offer him the kind of long-term deal he wants now, it’s hard to imagine their position on that will change when he’s a year older. It’s much more likely that, for Barkley and the Giants, this summer of discontent will be the beginning of the end.

Maybe you are happy today that GM Joe Schoen didn’t give Barkley more than he wanted to. Maybe you are sad or angry that Barkley can’t make Evan Engram money, and that his long-term future with the team is most definitely in doubt.

What you should not be is surprised.

Big Blue View

Will TE Darren Waller be a star for the New York Giants?

Or should expectations be tempered?

Waller made the Pro Bowl in 2020 after scoring nine touchdowns. He earned a huge target share with the Raiders lacking other serious options and finished with a franchise record 107 catches on 145 targets. He was arguably snubbed from being a second-team All-Pro that year, with the spot left vacant due to Travis Kelce receiving all 50 votes for the first team.

Waller faced knee and back injuries in 2021 that sidelined him for six games. Still, his 60.5 yards per game put him on pace for nearly 1,000 yards had he stayed healthy.

Waller spent much of 2022 on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. He finished with 28 catches for 388 yards in eight full games.

2023 outlook

Expectations are understandably high for Waller’s first season in blue. He’s the most notable receiver the Giants have had on their roster since trading Odell Beckham Jr. after the 2018 season, which was also the last time New York had a 1,000-yard pass catcher. Daniel Jones has also never played with a receiver who will command attention from opposing defenses like Waller will.

Injury risk aside, Waller is entering his age 31 season. It’s impossible to say whether he is still the same player he was in 2020. His production has dipped slightly the last two years, but only compared to the high bar he set for himself.

Pro Football Talk

Eagles are favored to win the NFC, but Lions are the most popular bet

The Eagles are the betting favorites to repeat as the NFC champions. But there’s no more popular bet than the Lions.

More than 36 percent of the bets on this season’s NFC champion have been placed on the Lions, and more than 34 percent of the money placed to win the NFC has been on the Lions, according to BetMGM. All that money has shifted the Lions’ odds of winning the NFC from +1100 to +850.

The Eagles, who are +260 favorites, have been the bet on 13 percent of the tickets and 11.8 percent of the handle. No other team has had more than 10 percent of the bets to win the NFC.

NFL league links


Pro Football Focus

Ranking the NFL’s top 10 offensive coordinators entering 2023

14 offensive coordinators in the league right now are either in their first or second seasons in the job, while at least eight more are seriously complicated when it comes to evaluating their performance by the head coach they serve under. That number is even higher if you delve into the issues of Eric Bienemy feeling the need to leave Kansas City to prove he isn’t just a product of his head coach (Andy Reid) or quarterback (Patrick Mahomes).

That leaves us with a list barely long enough to round out a top 10 of any kind of ranking. So while this is a list 10 names long, realistically a ranking of offensive coordinators in the league is just a few names long, with any subsequent names being incomplete grades.

6. Eric Bienemy, Washington Commanders

One of the most difficult evaluations out there, Eric Bienemy has become an annual discussion point as he gets consistently overlooked in head coaching searches. We know Andy Reid is an incredible offensive mind in Kansas City, and we know Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the game. So how good Bienemy is within his role as coordinator is an open question, so much so that he felt he needed to prove he can thrive outside of their influence in Washington. Unfair as it may be, this season could be one that makes or breaks Bienemy’s reputation as a coordinator.

Pro Football Talk

Steve Keim: Kyler Murray is under a lot of pressure, because he’s got a lot to prove

Steve Keim drafted Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019.

Keim joined Colin Cowherd on FS1 to discuss the comment and Murray’s future.

“I think in terms of quarterbacks, what he said you don’t love it, just because of the standpoint when he added the word ‘but’ in, generally behind a positive the word ‘but’ does not end in a positive light,” Keim told Cowherd. “I certainly didn’t want to hear that. And nor do fans want to hear a guy who’s making $46.1 million a year blame anybody but himself. I’m not saying he’s a guy that blames people. Yet at the same time, when you get that bag of cash, everybody expects you to take it on your shoulders, and that’s what a franchise quarterback does. This is a big year. I would have actually had Kyler in my top five for guys under pressure, because what if they have a bad year?

“He’s coming off the injury. He’s got to prove himself. What happens, as what people forecast, that they have the No. 1 pick, they’re in a real predicament.”

Murray has a 25-31-1 regular-season record with one postseason appearance and no postseason wins in his four-year career. His return is uncertain as he works his way back from reconstructive surgery Jan. 3 to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The Cardinals are betting favorites to finish with the No. 1 overall pick, and USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick.


At least one NFL scout has a valid opinion of Aaron Rodgers

An anonymous NFL scout finally says what everyone is thinking

The more polarizing you become in your fame, the less people are willing to call it how it really is, especially those close to the game. At least one anonymous NFL scout feels this way regarding New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“I think everyone is afraid to say he’s declined a little. He’s still a great thrower and sees it really well, but he’s more like [rank] eight to 12 for me.”

First, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. I called out Rodgers’ decline last November by saying he was “washed.” Dan Le Batard even grabbed the article for his show because no one else had jumped out with that opinion at the time. Since then, more have come out with similar opinions on A-Rod surrounding the trade to NYC.

Is Aaron Rodgers washed?

But this scout who chose to retain his anonymity is mostly correct. Most won’t come out and say Rodgers is done, washed, finished, or any other word used to describe his tumble down the NFL’s elite mountain last season. Bad seasons happen, even to the best, especially as they age in this rough sport. However, watching Rodgers last year in Green Bay, it wasn’t just the numbers that took a significant dip in numerous categories. Watching him pass the ball last season, the velocity that was once one of the most consistent parts of his game wasn’t there consistently enough.

Nobody wants to say it, although we saw it live in the flesh for 17 games, of which the Packers won only eight. The future Hall of Famer threw 12 interceptions last year, and that was the first time he’d thrown double-digit INTs since 2010. And Rodgers’ 3,695 yards passing was the lowest of his career when playing at least 15 games.