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Daily Slop - 30 Aug 23 - Martin Mayhew: Commanders will be “scouring the wire...trying to get better”

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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Washington Post

Commanders get down to 53, but their roster remains ‘very fluid’

“Our pro department will be scouring [the waiver wire],” Mayhew said. “We’re always trying to get better.”

Waiver claims will be awarded at noon Wednesday. After that, teams can begin building their practice squads.

Rivera said the Commanders aren’t interested in re-signing any of the 12 players they cut Monday, including running back Jaret Patterson, and considered those let go Tuesday as stronger candidates for the practice squad.

On Tuesday, Washington cut two veterans who were key reserves in training camp (center Tyler Larsen and fullback/tight end Alex Armah), two rookies who flashed at times (Allen and offensive lineman Mason Brooks) and two young cornerbacks it claimed off the waiver wire a year ago (Tariq Castro-Fields and Rachad Wildgoose).

When asked about Larsen and Armah, Rivera emphasized the roster was not finalized, suggesting the team could re-sign them after future moves. In his answer about Armah, he pointed out the team is carrying four tight ends.

“We’ll see how that all plays out,” he added.

DC Sports King

Did the Commanders make the right call releasing Jake Fromm?

In three preseason games, Fromm completed 23-of-34 passes for 235 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had a 116.6 QB rating. Meanwhile, Brissett completed 23-of-36 passes for 219 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

It’s preseason. Hard numbers are misleading. Washington signed Brissett to challenge Howell in training camp. However, it was clear from OTAs the starting role was Howell’s to lose, and he wasn’t going to relinquish the job.

Fromm had to be leaps and bounds better than Brissett to beat him out for the QB2. The two were closer than the casual football eye saw. Certainly, Fromm could be a better long-term option than the eight-year veteran Brissett.

But Brissett has another advantage — his experience. The Commanders will lean on that experience to mentor Howell. Plus, Brissett is a better insurance policy this season in case Howell struggles or the unthinkable happens he gets injured.

Since arriving last year in Washington, Fromm has progressed well. There’s an argument that can be made a team should claim him to be a QB2. But surely, the Commanders are hoping he clears waivers and returns to the team’s practice squad.

Being the No. 2 may not happen at the start of the season, but he has a chance to grab the role with the Commanders in the near future. The Jake Fromm story isn’t over.


Commanders defense placing emphasis on starting fast in 2023

[T]his season boils down to two words for them: start fast.

“Starting fast, starting the season fast, and then starting every game fast,” Washington safety Kamren Curl said.

Just in case the point wasn’t made: “That’s gonna be a rallying cry for us for this season,” Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “There’s a level of focus that we have, [that] kind of kicked in after experiencing some things early and then growing. Now it’s time to start fast.”

That means the defense can’t wait for a second-half surge like the past two seasons. After eight games in 2022, the Commanders ranked 13th in yards per game allowed and 15th in points per game. But, from Week 9 on, they were sixth in points and second in yards per game.

“Expectations are to be a top-5 defense again,” Curl said.

The Athletic

Commanders 53-man roster: First impressions after final cuts

we know the outcome of many choices to trim the group from 90 to 53 by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Only a tiny handful could count as surprising. Some decisions were strategic, like which players would remain available to bring back later if released. Others favored youthful potential, as the Commanders kept eight rookies, including all seven of their 2023 draft selections and undrafted free-agent wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley.

Expect more movement over the next 24 to 48 hours. Washington will sift through the hundreds of players hitting the waiver wire — tight ends, offensive tackles and linebackers are needed areas. Head coach Ron Rivera and his staff also know some of those on the outs today are likely to be back in the building later this week.

“It’s a very, very fluid process. Very fluid process,” general manager Martin Mayhew said. “Our 53 right now is what it is now, but it’s an ongoing process.”

DC Sports King

Commanders now have a running back room of invested draft picks

Rodriguez is an upgrade for the Commanders. He’ll complement Robinson as a runner. The Commanders selected Rodriguez in the sixth round of this year’s draft after an impressive career at Kentucky. At 5-foot-11, 224 pounds, Rodriguez is a speedy thumper.

He had 32 touchdowns and 3,644 rushing yards at Kentucky. During the preseason, Rodriguez averaged 7.2 yards per carry, totaling 122 yards on 17 attempts.

Under head coach Ron Rivera, the Commanders have built an intriguingly good running back room. Their position construction started in 2020 with Gibson and continued with Robinson and Rodriguez, all three through the draft.

Riggo’s Rag

How Mitchell Tinsley earned his place on the Commanders initial 53-man roster

An opportunity was seized by Mitchell Tinsley to get onto the Commanders’ initial roster.

With many ahead of Tinsley before early workouts and even heading into camp, his rise to prominence can serve as an inspiration to others in a similar situation. But how did the pass-catcher do enough to force his way into Washington’s plans?

Firstly, this is all about making plays and gaining trust. Tinsley proved to be an assured presence in the passing game over Washington’s camp, gradually working his way into first-string reps - something he carried on into the preseason with some exceptional grabs and his first NFL touchdown.

Consistency is key. Doing this at camp is one thing, but Tinsley’s ability to produce the goods in an NFL game-day setting played a leading role in tipping the scales and securing an initial roster spot.

Another element of Tinsley’s inclusion is his ability to make a special team contribution. This is something Rivera values highly in those lower down the depth chart, so being willing to do whatever it takes to be involved is a mindset that went down extremely well with the coaching staff.

Just how much action Tinsley sees this season is anyone’s guess right now. The Commanders have five preferred options ahead of him on the wide receiver depth chart, but there could be an opportunity for immediate involvement depending on how Terry McLaurin’s toe injury comes along in the days leading up to Washington’s opener against the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Nothing is given in the NFL, especially for players like Tinsley. So for him to attain an initial roster spot is a testament to his skills and the attitude with which he approached every practice, every film session, and every preseason rep.

Sports Illustrated

Commanders 53-Man Roster Set But ‘Fluid’ As Deadline Passes

Following the solidification of the Washington Commanders’ initial 53-man roster coach Ron Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew met with the media.

One of the surprise players retained on the initial roster was tight end Curtis Hodges who appeared to have struggled through the end of the preseason and some practices leading to his being left off many projections leading up to cut day.

“He really didn’t practice last year, that’s part of the problem,” Rivera said. “So when you look at it for us that’s a rookie right there. This is a young man that’s got a tremendous skill set. His physical traits are difficult to find.”

Commanders Wire

Where are the Commanders in the waiver wire order?

[W]hen discussing Washington’s roster, [GM Martin Mayhew] called it a “very fluid process.”

In other words, don’t be surprised if we see multiple changes throughout the next few days leading up to Week 1. Some of those changes could come via the waiver wire. After all, over 1,100 players were waived over the last two days, and many will be available through waivers or outright free agency.

The waiver claim deadline is on Wednesday at Noon ET. Where do the Commanders currently sit in the waiver wire order? Unfortunately, right in the middle of the pack [at #16], just like the 2023 NFL draft order.

Riggo’s Rag

3 early roster cuts that could instantly help the Commanders in 2023

Connor Galvin’s surprising release by the Detroit Lions is something that should make the Commanders and any other team looking for help on their protection sit up and take notice.

Galvin was an absolute force throughout the summer. He was the Lions’ highest-graded offensive lineman during the preseason according to Pro Football Focus and also won Big-12 Offensive Lineman of the Year during his college stint with the Baylor Bears.

There is more upside attached to Galvin than most of the Commanders’ options currently. He also has the position versatility to play inside or out that Ron Rivera loves in all his offensive linemen, so this is someone who ticks a lot of boxes if Washington decides they need to solidify their backup alternatives if injury strikes.

Other options might become available in the coming hours. But someone with Galvin’s upside is well worth considering.

Riggo’s Rag

4 critical observations from the Commanders initial 53-man roster in 2023

Commanders will be dangerous if everyone stays healthy

Aside from the aforementioned issues within certain position groups, the Washington Commanders’ initial 53-man roster looks pretty strong. And make no mistake, it needs to be if Ron Rivera wants to make the strides needed to keep his job beyond 2023.

The starting options look tremendous and dangerous in equal measure. This bears more significance on defense, which could be a special unit if everyone gets a clean run on the health front throughout what promises to be another grueling 17-game slate.

Of course, a large part of Washington’s hopes rests squarely on the shoulders of inexperienced quarterback Sam Howell. But if the signal-caller doesn’t become a weak link, this team might be set to surprise a few who’ve already written off their chances.

As previously stated, health is the biggest factor here. All it’ll take is one or two key men to go down for a lengthy period to completely shift the landscape - something that will likely come with grave consequences attached as Josh Harris’ ownership group assesses everything across the franchise in the coming months.

For now, fans should be optimistic about the Commanders - both on and off the field. It’s been a long time since they could say that with any great confidence, but only if Rivera’s squad can feed off the newfound positive energy and harness it into an improved football product.

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The Athletic

Eagles light at WR and LB, heavy with D-linemen and CBs on initial 53-man roster

The Eagles clearly view their 53-man roster as a way to keep those whom they do not want to expose to waivers (see: seven interior defensive linemen and seven cornerbacks), but they’re not necessarily focused on the game day roster. They’ll use practice squad elevations or potentially the waiver wire to round out some thin areas, such as wide receiver, linebacker and punter. (Punter isn’t thin, it’s nonexistent.) I’m not surprised — we both projected them to keep only four wide receivers and three linebackers — but they’re notably light. So I’m curious to see how that roster math works out.

Bleeding Green Nation

Albert Okwuegbunam trade: Eagles acquire tight end from Broncos

An attempt to improve TE depth.

We all knew that Howie Roseman wasn’t going to let the NFL roster cuts deadline pass without making at least one trade, right?

As it turns out, the Philadelphia Eagles made a deal with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday afternoon. Terms via Adam Schefter:

EAGLES RECEIVE: TE Albert Okwuegbunam, 2025 seventh-round pick

BRONCOS RECEIVE: 2025 sixth-round pick

It was previously reported that the Broncos planned on cutting Albert O but the move wasn’t made official. The Eagles decided to avoid hoping he made it through the waiver wire process (where they rank 31st out of 32 teams) and paid a relatively small price to secure his services to improve their tight end depth.

The Athletic

Giants likely eyeing help at offensive tackle, cornerback after cut to 53 players

The Giants surely will scour the waiver wire, with offensive tackle and cornerback sticking out as positions that could use upgraded depth. The Giants added four players during the first waiver period after cut day last year, including defensive backs Nick McCloud and Jason Pinnock, who combined to start 13 games last season.

The Giants were better positioned to make claims last year because they were fifth in the waiver order due to their 4-13 record in 2021. Perhaps the only drawback to their surprising 9-7-1 record last season is that they’re 26th in the waiver order this year.

Aware of the decreased odds of landing a quality player that far down in the order, general manager Joe Schoen proactively made two trades in the past week. First, there was the seventh-round pick Schoen sent to the Cardinals last week for inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons, the eighth pick in the 2020 draft.

Then on Tuesday, Schoen acquired outside linebacker Boogie Basham, a second-round pick in 2021, in a trade with the Bills. The compensation is a late-round pick swap in the 2025 draft, with the Bills getting the Giants’ sixth-round pick and the Giants getting the Bills’ seventh-round pick.

Blogging the Boys

Cowboys roster cuts: Dallas made some interesting decisions in the secondary

The Cowboys made a lot of moves and kept a lot of cornerbacks, but how will their depth be to start the year?

the Cowboys are going to be extremely heavy in the defensive backfield. In total, they currently have seven corners and six safeties on the roster, and they’ll be bringing another defensive back, C.J. Goodwin, back onto the roster soon as well (likely a swap for Nashon Wright who could be headed to IR-to-return).

This is what’s difficult about the way the Cowboys have gone about the secondary. By choosing not to use the PUP mechanism for Lewis, trading Kelvin Joseph for another corner, and the fact that Eric Scott Jr. has not looked like a player ready to play meaningful NFL snaps, that leaves the Cowboys using seven roster spots on cornerbacks, but only three who will likely be ready to be contributors on defense against the Giants in Week 1.

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Pro Football Talk

13 teams have three quarterbacks on initial 53-man roster

The resurrected emergency-quarterback rule has had a minimal impact on the number of teams carrying three quarterbacks on the active roster.

Of the 32 NFL teams, 13 have three quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. Last year, 12 teams carried three quarterbacks on the active roster.


Jonathan Taylor Situation Is a Mess of Jim Irsay’s Making

Alienating the team’s star running back creates a cascade of problems that will ripple through the Colts’ locker room

As predicted, the Colts failed to find a trade partner for Jonathan Taylor by their self-imposed Tuesday deadline, and he has reverted to the physically unable to perform list. While this was the anticipated outcome, it highlights the absolute ridiculous series of events that have brought us here, and the unnecessary burden the Colts have placed on a new staff.

Irsay committed one unforced error after another, displaying a wanton disregard for the mood of a locker room that first-year, first-time head coach Shane Steichen is trying to break in. This is a critical culture-setting period in which everything a staff does is eyed by the skeptical players who have already been through a pinball machine of absurdity.

How do you make sure players know that they’re cared for when the owner says: “If I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor is out of the league, no one’s gonna miss us.” How do you dangle the carrot for any other player in the locker room who hopes to one day take care of his family and future generations when your most valuable offensive player is sitting on ice? How do you extend another player without then offending a hive of players inevitably close to Taylor? All of these “firsts” are a critical shifting point for a franchise hoping to rebound. All of them seem to have been steamrolled through carelessness.