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Daily Slop - 26 July 23: Commanders sign a veteran wide receiver; Rivera says he’s got ‘a lot to prove’

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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Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

Commanders links


Commanders’ veterans begin reporting for 2023 training camp

There is a wave of excitement washing over the Commanders, and most of that doesn’t have to do with what will happen on the field. The franchise started a new era with Josh Harris becoming the new Managing Partner, and he is excited to get the franchise headed in a new direction, starting with winning as much as possible on the field.

“This is a big season, and we look forward to learning and watching and seeing what happens,” Harris said. “I’m very excited to be spending time with Coach Rivera and his staff and players and understanding what’s going on, and I’m very supportive right now of what they’re doing.”

Rivera has also emphasized the importance of this upcoming season, and he and his coaches have put together a plan they hope will maximize the talent on the field. That began with the hiring of Eric Bieniemy as the team’s assistant head coach/offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy set the tone early in OTAs, demanding players perform up to his standards. The team has embraced it, and they are all in on his vision for the offense.

“It’s awesome to have someone who holds you to such a high standard,” Jahan Dotson said after practice. “He only wants success out of you. That’s all he wants to see. He wants to see you succeed at all times.”

Arrowhead Addict

Byron Pringle joins Eric Bieniemy with Washington Commanders

A regular K.C. East is going on in the nation’s capital.

Pringle was a Kansas State product who went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft but impressed the Chiefs enough to earn a contract as a rookie free agent that summer. He would go on to spend the year on injured reserve before making the active roster for the team in 2019 to work on special teams.

Pringle would eventually climb the depth chart in his four seasons with the team to the point where he had 60 targets in a contract year in 2021 and he caught 42 of those passes from Patrick Mahomes with 568 yards and 5 touchdowns. Pringle, of course, was also a very good kick returner in that span for the Chiefs who came up with several big runs at key momens for K.C.

In ‘22, the Chicago Bears, led by new general manager Ryan Poles who came over from Kansas City, signed Pringle to help give justin Fields a trusted veteran target but injuries inhibited his ability to make a mark in the Windy City. He finished his first year away from the Chiefs with only 10 catches for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Notes & Quotes from Ron Rivera’s opening press conference of training camp

Rivera has had conversations with Harris since the transition was made official, and most of their talks have been around philosophies and how the ownership group will support the coaching staff and supply them with the tools they need to win games. Rivera said the new ownership group wants to bring back a sense of pride to the community, and he has appreciated how clearly Harris and his partners have laid out their expectations.

It’s great that there is a wave of enthusiasm surrounding the team, but the next challenge for Rivera and his players is to find ways to maintain that energy. “Every day’s going to be a different kind of day,” Rivera said, but he’s counting on the fan base show up to practice during training camp to provide “a little bit of a spark.”

Moving on to football news, Rivera is “very comfortable” with the way Washington’s roster is constructed heading into camp. He did say, however, that there are some positions where players need to grow and mature in. He specifically highlighted both guard spots on the offensive line and the secondary, but the biggest question is at the quarterback position. “I think we feel very comfortable with those guys,” Rivera said. “We like who they are. We like the development and growth. We’ll be watching that, obviously, very closely.”


Ron Rivera already feeling ‘impact’ of new Commanders ownership

It didn’t take long for Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera to grasp the significance of the ownership change.

He saw it Friday at FedEx Field, where fans showed up to cheer — and high-five — Josh Harris, who had taken over one day earlier. Rivera can see it at their practice facility, which has been built up to accommodate more fans attending training camp.

“You can already feel the impact,” Rivera said. “A lot has to do with the reaction from the fan base. Our guys have also felt it. The guys, they’re getting into this. It’s kind of unique.”

But as training camp opens Wednesday, Rivera also knows that for the good feelings to last — and for him to continue in his job beyond this season — Washington must do better on the field. After all, Harris didn’t hire Rivera — former owner Dan Snyder did.

“I’ve got a lot to prove because I really do think we’ve put ourselves in a really good position,” Rivera said. “We’re a good young team with key veterans at key positions. Now is the opportunity to go.”

The Athletic

Ron Rivera feels ‘impact’ (and pressure) from new ownership: ‘Got a lot to prove’

While a winning record remains elusive, Washington has been competitive in all three seasons under Rivera, who said he has felt more like a “manager” than a coach. Last year’s squad sat poised for a wild-card berth after Week 12 before a 1-3-1 finish over the final five games led to a middling 8-8-1 record.

“We’ve been too close. For everything that we’ve done, what we’ve had and how we’ve competed, we’ve been too close the last couple of years,” Rivera said.

With the dark clouds parted following Snyder’s exit, perhaps the football-only focus paired with good breaks — and positive growth from quarterback Sam Howell — could push the Commanders up a level. Under new leadership, that might be what it takes for the longtime coach and his staff to stay beyond this season.

Riggo’s Rag

What can Byron Pringle bring to the Washington Commanders in 2023?

The Commanders added to their stacked wide receiver room just before camp.

It’ll be a tough task for Pringle with almost no time to prepare before taking the field in Ashburn for Washington’s first camp practice on Thursday. But he has Bieniemy’s trust, which is a fantastic platform from which to build.

Looking at the current state of affairs, Pringle is unlikely to disrupt Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Jahan Dotson atop the wideout depth chart. The Commanders also remain hopeful that Dyami Brown can thrive within a more expansive scheme and with his former college quarterback Sam Howell under center.

After that is where an opportunity could arise. Dax Milne, undrafted free-agent Kazmeir Allen, and Marcus Kemp look the most likely to make the team thanks to their special teams’ production, but this is an area where Pringle also excels when given the opportunity.

No team can ever have enough speedy playmakers capable of taking it to the house at any given opportunity. Pringle certainly has that explosiveness in his locker and if Bieniemy thinks he can help, the respected offensive mind should be trusted until further notice.

Ron Rivera has preached the importance of competition for places at camp this year. The head coach ill-afford certain players getting complacent with so much on the line next season, so the battle lower down the wide receiver pecking order will be a must-watch during individual and team drills.

DC Sports King

Commanders cut undrafted QB and place TE on injured reserve

According to the NFL’s waiver wire, Washington released quarterback Tim DeMorat and placed tight end Armani Rogers on IR.

Rogers is the more significant name. He appeared in 11 games for Washington last season as an undrafted rookie. He had five catches for 64 yards. While the Commanders have depth at the tight end position, there is uncertainty with the position.

Rogers expected to have a chance to compete against Logan Thomas, Cole Turner, John Bates, and Curtis Hodges. However, he tore his Achilles during an OTA practice in May.

Washington did not make a noteworthy signing to replace the lost tight end in May, which was telling how they felt about the position moving forward.

Meanwhile, DeMorat had hoped to push for the third-string QB. He signed with the Commanders after going undrafted this year out of Fordham.

DeMorat was an intriguing arm that some hoped to see in training camp. He was a three-time Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year. Last season at Fordham, he threw for 4,891 yards and 56 touchdowns.



NFC East links

Giants, RB Saquon Barkley agree to terms on one-year deal worth up to $11 million

Big Blue and Barkley agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth up to $11 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday morning, per sources informed of the situation. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus.

The Giants officially announced that Barkley had signed his tender later Tuesday morning.

The Giants placed the franchise tag on Barkley, worth $10.091 million for running backs in 2023. Sides had until July 17 to come to terms on a long-term deal. With that deadline passed, sides could negotiate terms of a one-year pact but not a multi-year deal.

Blogging the Boys

Report: Cowboys guard Zack Martin did not report to training camp amid contract frustration

The Cowboys have officially begun training camp without Zack Martin according to a report out today.

With no offense intended to anybody associated with the team’s braintrust things got particularly spicy because of a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. As you can imagine the status of Zack Martin was among the first things that Jerry Jones and Co. were asked to address, a point that Jerry wafted away saying that he would not be discussing any contract situations. Shortly after, Schefter tweeted (assuming that’s still the term) that Martin did not report to Oxnard amid frustration over his current contract with the team.

NFL league links


Pro Football Talk

Nick Bosa is indeed holding out

When 49ers G.M. John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan addressed reporters on Tuesday, it wasn’t clear whether defensive end Nick Bosa was holding out or holding in.

Bosa, we’re told, is indeed holding out. He’s not with the team as he waits for the second contract that he frankly should have gotten a year ago.

At one point during the press conference, Shanahan said this regarding Bosa: “I think it’s different in his situation because he doesn’t, I forget what the fifth-year option or whatever, he’s not getting fined $50,000 a day. So, he’s not in that same situation.”

Under the CBA, a player under his fifth-year option like Bosa is subject to a daily fine of $40,000 per day. Plus, he can be fined a regular-season game check for each preseason game missed during the holdout.

But here’s the difference. The 49ers can waive Bosa’s fines, since he’s operating under his rookie deal. (If Bosa were holding out under his second contract — like Chris Jones in Kansas City — the fines would not be waivable.)

Sports Business Journal

NFL bans equity for employees

NFL owners voted last week to prohibit non-family employees from taking equity in teams, citing six potential problems with those arrangements they’d prefer to avoid as the value of their assets soar.

Owners approved the policy at the same meeting in which they blessed the $6.05B sale of the Commanders to Josh Harris and his partners, setting a global high-water mark for teams. In that environment, there’s been increasing debate over whether key employees — such as coaches, senior executives or even quarterbacks — should be able to participate in that growth.

The finance committee, chaired by Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, wrote to other owners that no such situations exist now in the NFL, but “such arrangements may have been considered in the past” and “may exist in other sports leagues,” according to a memo viewed by SBJ.

Most of the reasons cited in the finance committee memo focused on what might go wrong with equity shares if an employee leaves. The memo notes that nearly two-thirds of the NFL has seen senior-level turnover in the last three years.