Did the Commanders get ahead of the game for once?
Over the last few years, the Commanders have done a good job of finding running backs on the second and third day of the draft (Antonio Gibson - 2020, Brian Robinson - 2022, Chris Rodriguez Jr. - 2023). This model of adding a backfield threat every year may help save them money once a player’s rookie deal expires.
Washington has also leveraged this model in the past. Alfred Morris is Washington’s single-season rushing leader, gaining 1,613 yards in 2012. His salary was a measly $513,100.
The only player with more rushing yards that year was Adrian Peterson, who made $12.7 million - more than Morris earned his entire career.
Morris had three straight 1,000+ rushing yard seasons before seeing his numbers drop off in 2015. Instead of re-signing him, Washington let him walk, replacing him with a tandem of Robert Kelley, an undrafted free agent, and Matt Jones, a second-year player drafted in the third round.
In 2017, Samaje Perine was drafted and led the team in rushing. In 2018, the team brought in Peterson for a little over $1 million. He was re-signed and earned $2.53 million in 2019 before being released as the team drafted Gibson. Do you see the pattern here?
Bullock’s Film Room
Breaking down the Bow concept and how Eric Bieniemy could look to use it in Washington.
Earlier this week I broke down a staple concept of the west coast offense that Eric Bieniemy is bringing to Washington, the Arrow concept. Today, I thought I’d take a look at the partnering concept, known in most west coast offenses as the Bow concept. These two concepts are so commonly partnered together that the Andy Reid coaching tree often refers to the Arrow concept as “Tampa” and the Bow concept as “Bay”.
The Arrow concept consists of three receivers; one running a corner route, one running a flat route and the third spotting up in between them. The Bow concept takes the exact same concept and simply changes the corner route into a basic cross. This means the deepest route switches from breaking outside to breaking over the middle, which provides a different type of stress to the defense.
While the Arrow concept was looking to stress the outside zone defender, the Bow concept stresses inside zone defenders.
In my article on the Arrow concept, I mentioned how the ball goes to the running back in the flat more often than not. With the Bow concept, it’s much more evenly spread among all three routes, but the spot route is the one that most commonly sees the ball. Defenses are typically quick to sink underneath the basic cross and also have a defender working to the flat, which leaves a hole between those defenders for that spot route.
Owning a majority of Washington’s NFL team from 1999 to 2023 was “the privilege of a lifetime,” Dan and Tanya Snyder said Friday.
“Being stewards of this historic organization for the last quarter-century has been the privilege of a lifetime,” the Snyders said. “When we purchased the team nearly 25 years ago, Dan was quoted as saying, ‘I’m a fan. A huge fan. It’s that simple.’ That is as true today as it was then.”
The Snyders referenced the hiring of assistant running back coach Jennifer King, who became the league’s first full-time Black female coach in 2021, as an example of Commanders leadership diversity under their leadership.
The Hogs Net
For years, ownership under Snyder has been surrounded by controversies and scrutiny. Yet, the decision to sell the team was not an easy one. Mounting pressure from fans, sponsors, and the NFL community, finally tipped the scales.
He leaves in disgrace.
Not only does he leave behind a losing legacy, but he was also slapped with a $60 million fine on his way out. That was the price that Mary Jo White and her investigation deemed appropriate to levy against Snyder for his sexual misconduct and his financial improprieties.
Poor Dan will have just 6 of the 6.05 billion left.
With the new ownership comes a sense of hope and anticipation. The Commanders’ faithful eagerly await the changes that will come under Harris’ leadership.
Will another rebranding be one of them?
There are already whispers that the Commanders might not last any longer than the Football Team did. It’s doubtful that would ruffle many feathers. The name was met with extremely mixed-to-lousy reviews.
As the transition of ownership takes place, will the Commanders’ front office and coaching staff see significant changes?
Harris is likely to bring in a new management team but will it be right away? Things could go in many directions but it would seem that 2023 is far enough along that the existing plan will remain in place for now.
But you never know.
Washington fans can now imagine a brighter future for their beloved franchise. Temper enthusiasm and optimism for the change?
The Washington Whatevers are embarking on a new journey under Josh Harris.
There isn’t a single negative aspect to the sale.
Here, on a team that changed names, seemingly, annually after his arrival, [Jonathan] Allen couldn’t do anything about the maelstrom of awfulness that consumed the franchise. He would concentrate on the field, and on what he could control. And, he became a two-time Pro Bowler that way.
But, having spent his formative years in Ashburn, Va., not far from the practice facility where he now prepares professionally, he knew what this town could be like when everyone was all in.
“Growing up here, I was a fan before I was a player,” Allen said. “I remember when we first got RGIII, and the pandemonium that surrounded this area. I just, I know there’s been reasons why fans didn’t want to support (the team), and didn’t want to come out. Just seeing this very small fraction of the D.C. area, and how excited and energetic everybody is, I’ve been waiting to see this. And I’m loving it. I really am. People who aren’t from this area, they really don’t know how fanatic and crazy our fan base is.”
“I’m a big believer of, if you do not like an owner, or you don’t like a product, you don’t support it,” Allen said. “Now, it hurt me as a player, because I want you to support it. But, nothing speaks louder than money. And the fans spoke with their money, and by their lack of support. And, kudos to them. Now that we’ve moved on to a new regime, and things are starting to go on the up-and-up, you can just feel that excitement to really come back to support us.
“As a fan, if you want change, that’s how you do it. And they did it.”
Pro Football Talk
Per multiple sources, the league collected $27 million in legal fees and related expenses from Snyder. Although the league declined to comment on the figure, the league confirmed that legal fees are part of the $60 million.
That leaves $33 million that the league eventually will decide how to distribute. It could go to the teams as partial restitution for the money that was diverted from the league-wide pool of ticket money (the Visiting Team Share) distributed to the various franchises. It could be donated to charity. It could be [used] for various things.
For $27 million of it, the use has been settled. It will reimburse the NFL for legal fees arising from the various recent messes that were made by the Commanders under Snyder.
Kevin opened the show by answering a tweet that asked Kevin if he thinks Sam Howell "deserves" the chance to be the 2023 Week 1 starter. He then talks about the Dan Snyder era with @andypollin1.— The Kevin Sheehan Show (@SheehanPodcast) July 19, 2023
Find it on all podcast platforms or:https://t.co/2a89h1rQt6
Special scheduled-emergency Saturday pod— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) July 22, 2023
Episode 616 - A new era begins. Reaction to and discussion of all of the key comments from Josh Harris, Mitchell Rales & Magic Johnson on a glorious Friday at FedExField. Whatta last 48 hours. #Commanders https://t.co/Qc49DacGW8
One thing I noticed immediately... and maybe you talked about it on the podcast, I'm getting ready to listen to it.— Robert Tony Berry (@RobTonyBerry) July 22, 2023
They didn't trot out the three Superbowl Trophies like Danny loved to do... that to me speaks volumes right there!
NFC East links
Blogging the Boys
Dallas Cowboys players top All-NFC East defensive team
Putting together an All-NFC East defensive team means plenty of Dallas Cowboys appearances.
[Blogging the Boys] put together an All-Star defensive group within the division and as you can imagine there were plenty of Cowboys players who earned a spot.
Here is our group.
Defensive Line: Micah Parsons, Haason Reddick, Dexter Lawrence, Daron Payne
Payne narrowly edged out Jonathan Allen in my mind but did have the better season last year so it is fair to reward him like the Washington Commanders actually did with a brand new deal. Hopefully Mazi Smith is a factor in this conversation a year from now.
Secondary: Trevon Diggs, James Bradberry, Darius Slay, Donovan Wilson and Kamren Curl
The cornerbacks felt really obvious, but interestingly it was Gowton who argued a bit more for Stephon Gilmore (also part of the Colts last year like Okereke) over Slay.
As far as safeties are concerned, like Vander Esch, you can confidently say that Donovan Wilson is the best one of all four teams. Am I alone here?
Wilson was supremely better than anybody else from any team in 2022. That is an obvious part of this, the division is not exactly rich with safety talent, not to mention the hybrid-ization of the position with the way that (as just one example) Dan Quinn plays a player like Jayron Kearse.
Ultimately the Cowboys did have the most players present and accounted for.
- Cowboys (4): Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, Trevon Diggs and Donovan Wilson
- Eagles (3): Haason Reddick, James Bradberry and Darius Slay
- Giants (2): Dexter Lawrence and Bobby Okereke
- Commanders (2): Daron Payone and Kamren Curl
Big Blue View
Guys, I think it is a slippery slope that might have unintended consequences if the NFL were to adjust the Collective Bargaining Agreement to make players at some positions eligible for free agency earlier than players at other positions.
What criteria would you use? How would you justify telling an offensive lineman, for example, that he can’t be a free agent until he has played for four years while a running back can be free after just two. I don’t see how that works.
I have seen people write that the franchise tag is unfair to running backs, and maybe it is. Again, though, how do you justify exempting players at one position from the tag?
I wonder what would happen to the late-round guys, the ones who often don’t earn second contracts, if you lowered the numbers of years before a back could hit free agency. Would we see even more churn, with many of those players out of the league after two years? I don’t know, but I think the league would want to make sure it isn’t hurting those players while trying to help the top guys.
I have to believe the franchise tag is going to be a major topic of negotiation the next time a new Collective Bargaining Agreement has to be negotiated. I really don’t know what the answer is, but I don’t think you can have players at some positions able to be free before players at other positions.
Eagles only have 9 scheduled training camp practices (plus 5 walkthroughs), then likely 2 joint practices each with the Browns & Colts.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) July 22, 2023
I assume there will be no more quibbling with this approach, given their low number of injuries the last two seasons and a pair of Week 1 wins.
NFL league links
Pro Football Talk
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has organized the meeting and distributed the Zoom link. All of the big-name running backs have been invited.
The NFL Players Association apparently will be involved in some capacity. Frankly, however, the union has a conflict of interest on this. From the NFLPA’s perspective, every dollar that goes to a player who plays one position takes a dollar away from a player who plays a different position. (That’s why, frankly, each position should have its own bargaining unit.) Likewise, NFLPA president JC Tretter recently offered less-than-ideal advice for running backs who hope to create leverage.
The group needs leadership in the form of someone who knows the market for running backs, understands why it is depressed, has concrete ideas for improving the situation — and is committed to enhancing running back pay even if it means, for example, quarterbacks getting less.
[T]here might be no good solution for this specific problem. At least the running backs are trying to come up with one. Hopefully, someone will recommend a strategy that makes their situation better, not worse.
Some Steelers fans want to fire Mike Tomlin whenever the team loses two or three games in a row. If that ever happens, other teams would be lined up to hire him. https://t.co/K8pponIO7O— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 22, 2023
Odell Beckham Jr. ready for new chapter with Baltimore Ravens, his first game in 574 days: https://t.co/iJULtdHYnX— Ken Capurso (@KenCapurso) July 22, 2023
SEC commish Greg Sankey’s plea for NIL regulations comes as the NCAA loosens restrictions elsewhere
[SEC commissioner Greg Sankey] said the future of college sports has to do better than “the need to sort through a full unregulated marketplace, being approached by individuals who present themselves as something that they may not be, where anyone can purchase card stock and run it through a printer and call themselves an agent on a business card.”
OK, do you know how you do that? By paying the unpaid workforce directly, and eschewing the slush funds. The reason kids resort to unscrupulous means to get paid is because schools’ unwillingness to share drove them there.
Sankey added that the players he’s spoken with want NIL standards, and also don’t want to be employees of a conference or school. Sure, Greg, whatever you say. (Pay attention to the language because not wanting to be an employee is not the same as not wanting compensation).
It’s always fun to see conference commissioners warbling like an exasperated parent during a heated PTA meeting. Yes, somebody should do something about these out-of-control TikTok-ers, dancing and laughing in the streets. Government regulation isn’t just the best solution, it’s the only solution.
Speaking of regulation…
Did you know that the NCAA lifted its scholarship cap for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years? The normal cap on scholarships that football programs can give out each year is 25, but a couple of years back, that number was boosted to 32 in order for universities to hit the 85 scholarships they’re allotted.
That change was made in response to COVID and the burgeoning transfer portal movement, and it worked so well that the NCAA just said fuck it, for the next two years, sign as many newcomers as you want as long as you don’t go over 85.
Sounds like a solid thought process, right? Well, now bigger programs can sign massive classes to hoard talent. It also makes turnover easier in case a new coach wants to overhaul his roster, kind of like what happened in Boulder, where 52 players entered the transfer portal shortly after the arrival of new hire Deion Sanders.
Coach Prime also has used another exception, the “Aid After Departure of Head Coach” bylaw, that allows first-year coaches to not invite players back but keep their academic scholarship as long as they stop playing and continue with their studies. The player then wouldn’t count against the program’s total.
It’s basically like being cut, but with the caveat that the player gets to stay on campus, and attend classes with his former teammates. (What a treat!)
Lincoln Riley “cut” 10 scholarship players before his first season at USC, and that clearly worked out for the Trojans. The Nebraska Cornhuskers currently have 98 players on scholarship, meaning new coach Matt Rhule will likely have to trim 13 guys.