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Daily Slop - 17 Jan 24: All eyes are on the hiring of the next head coach of the Commanders

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

Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Commanders links


Washington Post (paywall)

New GM Adam Peters shares his vision for rebuilding the Commanders

Peters’s first day began early Tuesday at the Commanders’ Ashburn headquarters, where he toured the facility and met with staffers and coaches. The whirlwind continued with an introduction to local media alongside team owner Josh Harris, who said the Commanders had found “the right leader” to create a consistently competitive team.

“He’s won everywhere he’s been,” Harris added. “... It was a pretty easy decision from my point of view.”

Peters, who spent the past three seasons as the San Francisco 49ers’ assistant GM, offered few specifics about his plans in the coming months and held to his script about an “aligned vision” with Washington’s ownership group and its next head coach.

Peters will dedicate his near future to evaluating and reconfiguring the front office and coaching staff and then revamping the roster. He said that he doesn’t believe Washington requires a total rebuild and that many staffers simply need strong leadership and, yes, an “aligned vision.”

“Whether the results come right away, that [depends on] a number of different factors, but you guys are going to be very proud of the team that we’re going to put on the field,” Peters said.

Five takeaways from Adam Peters’ introductory press conference

1. Why Washington?

“Everything is exactly what a person in my seat would want,” Peters said. “A great ownership group, a great fanbase, the ability to start new with a new head coach, all of those things were so appealing to me that going through this process, it was very clear to me at a very early time, right when I met with Josh, this is where I wanted to be.”

Like Harris, Peters wants to attract the best people to help him build the franchise and hold them accountable. He’s inclusive and wants to incorporate people with diverse backgrounds to get different perspectives on how to craft the best roster possible. He also wants to work one step at a time to create sustainable success.

Those qualities made it an easy decision for Harris, and the same could be said for Peters.

“This was the best opportunity, in my mind,” Peters said of Washington.

Peters made it clear how he feels about the Commanders, saying “this is one of the cornerstone franchises in the NFL.” He knows the fans are passionate, and he is “extremely motivated to deliver everybody what they deserve.”

NBC Washington

Adam Peters takes over as Commanders GM. His first task is to hire a coach

“We’re looking for the best leader for this team. We have set criteria that we’re going to be aligned in that vision.”

Harris, who isolated Peters as the right fit to run Washington’s football operations, cited the need for football intelligence and a coach who can attract a strong staff.

“I think IQ matters,” Harris said. “I think it matters increasingly. All of those things will be important, but ultimately (we are looking for) a partner where the three of us can be aligned.”

The ability to hire a new coach and mold an entire front office attracted Peters, 44, to the Commanders after seven years with the San Francisco 49ers. Armed with a five-year deal, he’ll be able to put his stamp on the organization, from the decision of who plays quarterback to what to do with the second pick in the draft.

Asked about all those things, Peters kept coming back to the same premise: “We still have to hire the head coach.”

Riggo’s Rag

NFC East landscape adds urgency to Commanders head coaching search

Opportunity knocks for the Commanders.

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles both suffered early exits at the first hurdle. This has plunged the future of both franchises into doubt with potential landmark changes on the immediate horizon.

Commanders must capitalize on NFC East uncertainty

Perennial All-Pro center Jason Kelce’s retirement might be just the start in Philadelphia. Nick Sirianni’s head coaching status is hanging by a thread. Countless veteran pieces are free agents as the Eagles get set to make some tough choices to improve their future aspirations. Howie Roseman’s presence provides hope, but there is a lot of hard work ahead after their freefalling end to 2023.

The same goes for Dallas. Owner Jerry Jones is a patient man, but the calls to remove Mike McCarthy are borderline deafening after their home embarrassment against the Green Bay Packers. This will have a ripple effect on the playing side of things given they are currently more than $16 million over the cap.

Commanders Wire

Who will remain with the Commanders in their football operations?

The second major concern for Peters (behind his hiring a head coach) will be those in the front office personnel. Of those currently present, whom will Peters retain and whom will he not keep, only one is a certainty. Eugene Shen (Senior VP of Football Strategy), recently hired by Harris, will remain.

Thus, the future is uncertain for Jason Wright (Team President), Martin Mayhew (General Manager), Marty Hurney (Vice President of Player Personnel), and Rob Rogers (Senior Vice President of Football Administration).

Doug Williams is certainly a question mark. Williams, during the Bruce Allen administration, possessed a couple of titles, yet even Williams talked of how he was not even involved in something as major as the 2018 trade that brought quarterback Alex Smith to Washington.

The entire player personnel department might be in question. 11 scouts and a player personnel assistant are currently employed, while the department is headed by Eric Stokes (Senior Director of Player Personnel), Chris Polian (Director of Pro Personnel) and Tim Gribble (Director of College Personnel).

Bullock’s Film Room (subscription)

Washington Commanders hire Adam Peters as GM

The Commanders are hosting a press conference with Peters today, let’s discuss it

Free Agency

Lots of cap space but also lots of holes to fill. Will he look to re-sign Washington’s own free agents or let them go and bring in others? If he opts against re-signing Washington’s free agents, that cap space will go very quickly. How creative can he be with the salary cap (part of that will come down to ownership) and how aggressive will his approach to free agency be? Is he willing to spend big on certain players that can add quality long term or is he more looking to plug holes with shorter contracts and lower tier free agents?

Free agent fits will depend a lot on scheme of the coaches hired, but will he just look to raid their old teams for their former players, or try and find players with the profile to fit the scheme, but perhaps haven’t quite worked out elsewhere?

Sports Illustrated

3 Commanders Coaching Candidates With Ties to GM Adam Peters

Adam Peters could look to his past to hire the next coach for the Washington Commanders.

Mike LaFleur: Offensive Coordinator, Los Angeles Rams

Connection to Peters: Was passing game coordinator for 49ers from 2017-2020

LaFleur being part of the unsuccessful development of former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson probably hurts him in this discussion, especially considering the Commanders are likely to take a quarterback with the second overall pick in 2024. At the same time, the 2021 New York Jets were probably the worst roster in the NFL, and it looks increasingly possible that Wilson was destined to be a bust wherever he landed. It’s telling that LaFleur immediately landed on Sean McVay’s staff as the Rams offensive coordinator, and with connections to him, Kyle Shanahan, and, of course, his older brother Matt, it feels like a matter of when the 36-year-old becomes a coach himself.

DC King of Sports

Jay Gruden’s Jalen Hurts tweet opened old wounds for RG3

The backstory of Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III tension

Commanders fans know the tension between Griffin and Gruden all too well. Gruden replaced Mike Shanahan as Washington’s head coach in 2014, Griffin’s third season in the league, and two removed from his Rookie of the Year campaign.

Griffin, who suffered a torn ACL in 2012, was looking to be more of a pocket quarterback. Gruden appeared to be a good fit after being a successful offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the pairing never meshed from the start.

Griffin struggled from the pocket. He suffered an ankle injury his first year under Gruden, leading to him missing six games. A concussion during a 2015 preseason game opened the door for Gruden to start Kirk Cousins, who got Washington picked in the same draft as Griffin, as the starting quarterback.

Griffin was benched for the entire 2015 season, as Cousins led Washington to an NFC East division title and a playoff appearance.

After a pit stop in Cleveland, Griffin was out of the NFL in 2017 before signing with the Baltimore Ravens as a backup to Lamar Jackson for three seasons.

Gruden didn’t last in Washington much longer. After failing to get the team back to the playoffs, Gruden got fired after a 0-5 start during the 2019 season.

At least Gruden took the high road to close out his spat with Griffin. Then again, Gruden tried to stay cordial throughout the tweets with RG3.


The Washington Commanders are this offseason’s most intriguing team

Commies halfway through the rare quadruple joint replacement as owner, GM, coach and QB all set to be turned over in a calendar year

The Washington Commanders have new ownership and a new GM, with a new coach and quarterback presumably on the way as well. Like a dog who finally catches the mailman, fans in the DMV pined for Dan Snyder’s removal with such fervor that I’m not sure they know what to do now that it’s happened. It’s rare for any professional franchise to wipe the slate entirely clean, so there’s a load of crucial decisions in store over the coming months.

There are two paths forward. The first is what the team appears to be doing: Hire a GM from a reputable front office and let him build the roster and coaching staff accordingly. Adam Peters comes over from San Francisco, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit to see a token young offensive coordinator get called up to the bigs.

The Commanders don’t have to nail this next hire. There’s a post-Snyder grace period, but an opportunity to hit the reset button, at least like this, doesn’t come around too often.

The club with the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is still playing behind its stellar rookie coach and QB, which is what makes Washington’s position intriguing. Do Harris and Peters get antsy about another team trading up and stealing the No. 1 QB on their draft board or do they let someone else make that decision for them?

Of the available head coach openings, the Commanders arguably have the most coveted. It’s as fresh of a start as you’re going to find in the NFL and comes with a reinvigorated fan base eager to re-embrace its team. The expectations are “Be better than Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera.”

Podcasts & videos

NFC East links

NFL truth be told: Cowboys and Eagles need change

1) Dallas needs sweeping changes

The backdrop is important for this take, as that’s not an easy thing for me to write. I am a huge Mike McCarthy fan, as I’ve repeatedly exhibited in this space. After McCarthy moved on from offensive coordinator Kellen Moore last January and assumed the play-calling duties himself, I predicted big things for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense in the 2023 campaign. And during the regular season, that’s exactly what we saw, as Prescott became an MVP candidate in his best season yet, and Dallas led the NFL in scoring. The Cowboys went 8-0 at home in dominant fashion, won the NFC East and earned the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Everything was set up for “America’s Team” to finally break through again in the postseason.

And then the upstart Packers came into town and completely flipped the script.

Forget the final score: 48-32 doesn’t do Green Bay’s throttling justice. This was sheer domination by the visiting team. It was 14-0 in the blink of an eye, 27-0 in the second quarter. Dallas got punked by the youngest playoff team in memory. Dan Quinn’s defense was horrendous in every phase, with Packers receivers galloping down the field wide open on seemingly every other play. That was the biggest issue, but Prescott came up small in a big spot. CeeDee Lamb, whom I recently lauded as “the most consistently excellent and dominant receiver in the league this year,” was nowhere to be found when the game was being decided in the first half. Just an all-around, inexcusable clunker from the Cowboys.

Dallas just became the first team in NFL history to win 12 games in three straight seasons and fail to reach a single conference championship game. And Sunday was so dreadful, changes need to be made, starting at head coach. I love McCarthy, but obviously, it’s just not working for the ‘Boys come tournament time.

Jerry Jones isn’t getting younger. And he was clearly devastated after the Cowboys’ season came to an abrupt conclusion.

“This seems like the most painful (playoff loss) because we all had such great expectations and had hope for this team,” Jones said Sunday in the postgame. “I’m floored. This is beyond my comprehension.”

Does that sound like an owner who’s satisfied with maintaining the status quo? Not exactly.

2) Philadelphia needs sweeping changes

And it starts with the Nick Sirianni. Even after the 2022 Eagles made it all the way to Super Bowl LVII, I never bought the green head coach as the next Andy Reid. Then, this past offseason, Philadelphia lost coordinators Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon to head-coaching jobs, and the Eagles lost, well, everything.

That 10-1 start to the 2023 campaign? Yeah, clearly, it was fraudulent. New England, Minnesota, Kansas City, Buffalo and Washington (twice) all shot themselves in the foot against Philadelphia. And when the wheels predictably began to fall off in December, Sirianni’s solution was to give the defensive play-calling reins to Matt Patricia. In related news, Philly’s D was smacked by the Cardinals and Giants in the final two weeks of the regular season, setting the tone for Monday’s 32-9 beatdown, courtesy of Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers.

This talented team just completely fell apart. It was a stunning meltdown in the second half of the season. Unsurprisingly, this led to questions about Sirianni’s job status following Monday night’s debacle.

Personally, I’m worried about the future of the Eagles if they decide to just stay the course. And suddenly, there is a glut of qualified head coaches available to take on this challenging job in a passionate sports market. Belichick? Vrabel? Pete Carroll? I’d be confident in any of them righting this ship.

Bleeding Green Nation

8 unanswered Eagles questions that need an answer after the disastrous 2023 finish

So much blame to go around.

How Angry is Jeffrey Lurie?

We’ve all seen what happens when Lurie decides he cannot move forward with a head coach, and we all know the Eagles’ owner doesn’t like to be embarrassed.

That is not a happy man.

But Lurie cannot make a decision based on emotion, and it’s unlikely he will. The best argument for retaining Sirianni is that it may be perceived as premature around the league. He certainly doesn’t want a reputation of firing head coaches willy-nilly, because it will be more difficult to hire top candidates in the future if he garners a quick-hook reputation. And the argument could be made that giving Sirianni a season to fix what happened is fair, especially given the success he had in 2022.

But that would also be a big roll of the dice. The coaching staff at no point showed any ability or willingness to adjust. They failed to put players in a position to succeed and, in many cases, put them in positions to fail. They indecisive and panicky, and it seems clear to everyone watching that most of the players on the field last night gave up.

The fanbase will revolt if Lurie doesn’t fire Sirianni, but the fanbase is not always right. Canning Nick will feel good, just like canning Jonathan Gannon felt good last off-season. But one could argue being able to retain Gannon might have prevented the out-and-out failure of the defense over the final two months.

Either way, Lurie and Roseman have a decision to make in the coming days that could change the course of the franchise for the foreseeable future.

Pro Football Talk

Report: Eagles coach Nick Sirianni will meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie on Wednesday

The football world has been closely watching a pair of teams in the NFC East since both made ugly exits from the postseason in the wild-card round. On Wednesday, there could be some clarity from one of them.

Via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni will meet Wednesday with owner Jeffrey Lurie and G.M. Howie Roseman.

It’s a routine meeting, which will follow exit interviews with players and meetings with coaches. The circumstances are anything but routine.

As McLane notes, if Sirianni stays, there will be major changes to the coaching staff, possibly with new defensive and offensive coordinators for 2024. It’s also possible Sirianni will be gone.

Blogging the Boys

Dallas Cowboys offseason: The Dak Prescott top of market extension feels inevitable given all details

All factors considered it feels inevitable that the Cowboys are going to give Dak Prescott an extension this offseason.

The Cowboys will need financial flexibility which a Dak Prescott extension not only can provide but is almost necessary to provide

At this moment in time, Dak Prescott’s cap number for 2024 is just south of $60M. That is not tenable for the franchise to absorb in general let alone as a result of the pending Lamb and Parsons deals, as well as literally everything else they will need/want to do in terms of shaping their roster.

The only way that Dallas can lower this number is by way of an extension and obviously Prescott is only going to (assuming here, but a safe one) be if he is compensated properly. This means a top of market deal.