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Daily Slop - 18 Jan 24: 10-minute one-on-one interview with new Commanders GM Adam Peters

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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The Athletic (paywall)

Commanders feel they hired ‘the right leader’ in GM Adam Peters — and so does everyone else

“We set out to find a leader, someone who could take this franchise to the next level and build an elite team that consistently competes for championships,” Harris said of the franchise’s GM search. “In Adam, I think we have the right leader. He’s a winner. He’s made an incredible impact everywhere he’s been.”

Such introductions exude positivity. Another one is expected soon once Washington’s search committee, with Peters as its main football voice, lands its next head coach. Whatever happens in the days ahead — Peters agreed to a five-year contract, according to a team source close to the situation — the talent infusion makes reaching the league’s mountaintop feel within arm’s reach, even coming off a 4-13 season.

“This is where I’m supposed to be, the general manager of the Washington Commanders,” said Peters, who turned down two interview requests last year. “And I can’t tell you guys how excited I am to be here. This is absolutely incredible.”

What’s fascinating about the aforementioned notion of setting is that it extends far beyond the Northern Virginia facility and across the league. To borrow from a movie line about how the various high school cliques think of “Ferris Bueller,” everyone seemingly views Peters as a righteous dude.

Decisions on current staffers will occur in the coming days. Martin Mayhew, Washington’s GM from 2021 to 2023, worked with Peters in San Francisco and could remain a familiar face who helps the new front-office lead’s transition. Whoever comprises the staff won’t be challenged with confusing directions.

Peters isn’t and won’t be perfect. Promise is a good starting point for a fan base that never accepted losing but knew it was coming for much of the past two decades. It might take many a long minute to break any gloomy expectations. After listening to some who know Peters, it feels safe to begin gulping in hope.


Commanders.com

John Lynch explains why Adam Peters is ready to succeed as Commanders GM

“His core principles are extremely solid,” Lynch said. “His process is extremely thorough. He’s a very bright guy. He really is. And he’s a tireless worker.”

The 49ers have yet to win it all with Lynch as their GM, but no one would deny they’ve been one of the best teams in the league. They’ve had four winning seasons and as many playoff selections in seven years and won the NFC West in three of the last five seasons. The 49ers earned the No. 1 seed in the 2023 playoffs with home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Peters has been through it all alongside Lynch, serving as his right-hand man and playing a vital role in the team’s recent success. Whether it was handling responsibilities with football operations while Lynch dealt with ownership or adding a voice in roster decisions, Peters helped keep the process running and was critical to establishing the standard that San Francisco now prides itself on.

Now, Peters has been tasked with creating something similar as the general manager for the Washington Commanders. After working in tandem with him for years, Lynch knows that he is ready for the task.

“They [Washington] have a lot of work to do, but he knows that and he’s eager and excited to get going,” Lynch said.

Going along with Elway’s way of thinking was the easy thing to do. Like Lynch, he has decades of experience as a player to lean on, and when Elway made a suggestion, that’s usually the direction the team went in.

Peters was one of the few who would offer a counterargument.

“He was somewhat bold,” Lynch said. “Adam, in a very tactful way, would say, ‘No, I think we should look at this player more.’ So, he had a little gumption to him, and a little conviction. When he was convicted, he wasn’t afraid to say it. And that always impressed me.”

In 2023, the 49ers placed a league-high nine total players in the Pro Bowl. Following the conclusion of the 2023 regular season, San Francisco had five players named First Team All-Pro by the Associated Press, which was the most by a single team in the NFL.


Washington Post (paywall)

As their biggest rivals sputter, the Commanders embrace competence

The power hasn’t shifted in the NFC East, but the first weekend of the playoffs certainly shook its foundation. Division champ Dallas got embarrassed at home by seventh-seeded Green Bay, falling behind 27-0 in an ugly 48-32 loss that is cause for soul-searching. Defending NFC champ Philadelphia completed an epic collapse with a noncompetitive 32-9 shellacking at Tampa Bay that was its sixth loss in seven games, a slide that had Coach Nick Sirianni deflecting questions about his future after the game.

Ouch. In two markets where dissecting the NFL team is a year-round sport, cue the existential questions.

When, exactly, has Washington had the most optimistic outlook in the division?

Now this is all relative, because it’s not as if Peters flipped the roster this week and the Commanders suddenly have more talent than the Eagles or Cowboys. They don’t.

“There’s a few cornerstone pieces on this roster,” Peters said. “I believe we have a lot of work to do.”

Translation: We need players. Lots of them.

The optimism, though, is a vibe.

These men haven’t accomplished anything with their new team, and they know that. But there’s a sense they are smart people who will hire more smart people. No guarantees, but it should be fun to watch play out.


The Athletic (paywall)

Commanders GM Adam Peters has big decisions off the bat in Washington. What if he misses?

The guy knows talent. And considering Washington has six of the top 102 picks in the April draft, that’s encouraging for dreams of a relatively quick turnaround from 4-13.

Lance, though, was a big swing — the biggest swing taken by the Niners while Peters was in San Francisco. And, he was a big, big miss.

We still don’t know if Lance is a starting QB in the NFL, in large part because of the injuries that kept him on the shelf most of his time in the Bay. And Purdy’s unexpected star turn bailed the Niners out. But that doesn’t absolve the 49ers’ brain trust, of which Peters was a big part, from its responsibility — not only in taking Lance but not turning him into the star he was supposed to become.

Having said that, what I appreciate about what the front office/Peters did was that they didn’t waste time trying to justify their gamble on Lance by hiding his inconsistent play when he was on the field behind their great team. They came to the conclusion that he wasn’t the guy, and they sent him on his way: quickly, but with no rancor, no anonymously sourced stories kicking Lance in the rear on the way out — a hallmark of previous regimes here, when someone outlived their usefulness. Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch shouldered the blame that it didn’t work out for Lance in San Francisco. But they didn’t apologize for going forward with Purdy, either.

Not personal. This is business.

You make a mistake in picking players? It happens.

But, address it — quickly.

The Niners were similarly unsentimental with other high-profile, high-draft guys, as our Matt Barrows detailed in August. Linebacker Reuben Foster, a first-round pick in 2017, got outplayed by Warner. Running back Eli Mitchell, taken in the sixth round in 2021, outplayed Trey Sermon, whom San Francisco had taken that year in the third round. Mitchell is still on the roster, backing up Christian McCaffrey; Sermon lasted a year before being waived, and is now with the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers didn’t stand on ceremony, and they didn’t hold the rest of the team back by force-feeding snaps to someone who wasn’t up to the task.

So, you’d hope, Peters will be equally forceful here in getting the best people into place, as soon as possible.

He alluded to this when asked Tuesday by Sports Illustrated’s David Harrison if there was a moment that educated him during his career.

“There’s so many moments that you think of and you really always think of the things that you messed up on, that you learn from,” Peters said. “And I’ve had plenty of those. All of those things have shaped me to who I am today and have brought me here and so, I’m thankful. I could sit here and talk to you guys all day about that. But all those things have brought me here today, next to Josh, and I’m so thankful for everything, good and bad, that’s happened to me.”


ESPN

Ron Rivera says he still wants to coach, even as a DC

Rivera...said he has had “conversations with some people and some teams” and is waiting to see what happens over the next week or so with coaching vacancies.

“I have several opportunities right now,” Rivera told ESPN in his first public comments since being fired. “I just want to make sure it’s the right one.”

Rivera said it would not be difficult to return to being a defensive coordinator again.

“Sometimes you do have to take a step back,” Rivera said. “You take a step back you learn and grow from it. It’s like I told other players, if you look at this year as a lost year, you’re [hurting] yourself. You should look at it as a year to learn and understand why things happen. This was probably the greatest learning experience I’ve had in a while this year. I mean, a lot of things came to light at certain times this past season that I think going forward will really help me.”

He mentioned delegating authority and wanting to be given information that he needed to know, not just what someone thought he wanted to know.

[H]e said he would not favor the coach-centric model that he was part of in Washington. Rivera said that was the deal presented to him by previous owner Dan Snyder. But Rivera said it was a difficult model, especially during a turbulent period that included multiple investigations of Snyder and the culture he created before Rivera arrived in January 2020.

“I would’ve loved a different model just because, in hindsight, now you really see how much more time you spend on personnel and as a coach, that’s not necessarily what you want to do,” he said. “What I really enjoyed more than anything else the last five weeks was just being right in the middle of everything. Now your only focus is just that one thing. That’s what you do; you want to teach.”


DC Sports King

Ron Rivera regrets his handling of QB Sam Howell

“I took a big gamble,” Rivera said. “I put a lot on Sam, and I probably shouldn’t have put as much pressure on him, and I think that was probably one of the mistakes I made this year. He didn’t deserve to have that put on him. He’s a good young quarterback, has some talent and some ability, and I think that’s something I should have backed off on.

I should have kept emphasizing he was going to be the guy that got the first opportunity. …. Just phrasing it that way would’ve taken a lot of pressure off of him, just kind of that he hadn’t been anointed.”

Sam Howell threw for 3,964 yards and 21 touchdowns. However, he led the NFL with 21 interceptions and getting sacked 65 times. Howell’s struggles outweighed his flashes. His having the once-revered Eric Bieniemy as his offensive coordinator didn’t help.


Podcasts & videos

Meet Washington’s NEW GM Adam Peters! | Command Center | Washington Commanders





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Blogging the Boys

BREAKING: Mike McCarthy to return to Dallas Cowboys for fifth season despite playoff loss

Mike McCarthy will officially be returning to the Dallas Cowboys in 2024.

On one hand this move seems fairly logical given that McCarthy has overseen a Cowboys team that has accomplished a great deal in the last few years. The Cowboys have won 12 games in each of the last three years, been a playoff team in all of them and secured two NFC East titles.

On the other hand, McCarthy has only reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs once and did not even win that game. It goes without saying that he also just oversaw the team’s incredible failure against the Green Bay Packers, his former team, in the Wild Card Round.

It seemed like the playoff loss might have been enough to cause the Cowboys to make a change, but they will not be doing so.


Deadspin

Jerry Jones will continue to coach the Cowboys

He isn’t firing Mike McCarthy, because he’s a stooge. And that’s all the Dallas owner has wanted for the last 30 years

It was all the way back in 1994, and Dallas was coming off their second straight Super Bowl win. They were, perhaps for the only time in reality, actually America’s team. They were brash, they were loud, they were on more drugs than the entire continent of South America could produce, Charles Haley was cranking his hog on the reg in the locker room, it was a wild time. They were basically everything everyone loves, and a lot of what it doesn’t love, about the NFL distilled into one team.

And then at the owners’ meetings Jerry Jones got drunk, badmouthed Jimmy Johnson to any media member within earshot, got into a boozy argument with Johnson himself, and basically fired him on the spot because Jones felt that he wasn’t getting enough credit for the Cowboys success as Johnson was. He wanted it all for himself. Johnson was the architect of one of the best college teams of all-time at Miami and then orchestrated the Herschel Walker trade that propelled the Cowboys into the dynasty they became. He is one of football’s greatest coaches. Jones was just some loudmouth oil baron who happened to buy the Cowboys and then canned Tom Landry, as far as anyone was concerned at the time.

Oh, sure, the Cowboys would win a third Super Bowl under Barry Switzer, but they did it with Johnson’s roster. Ever since Jones has taken the helm and gotten his fingers into the roster, the Cowboys haven’t even seen a NFC Championship game, much less another Super Bowl. This is what Jerruh wanted, this is what he started after one too many at an owners’ meeting and mixed business with bourbon. The Cowboys’ now near three-decade haplessness is rooted in a gassed-up Jones yelling at the media that anyone could have done Johnson’s job. Well, someone has, and has proven that not everyone could, and it’s Jones.

Ever since, Jones has only wanted coaches that let him be the Cowboys. Coaches that won’t get in the way. Coaches that need the job more than the Cowboys need them. Coaches that will let Jones have his own postgame presser and pretend he’s George Halas or whatever. Coaches that don’t have the gas to put him back in his place or to point out that he’s basically run the team into the ground more often than not.

No coach who has earned the right to assert their territory would...take a step back and just eat Jones’s sh*t all the time. So, of course, McCarthy is back, he doesn’t have much else to do.


Blogging the Boys

No guarantee that Dallas Cowboys DC Dan Quinn gets head coaching job this offseason

What if Dan Quinn does not receive a head coaching opportunity this offseason?

To date Quinn has been requested by five different teams (we are tracking this for you right here) and while he makes sense with one specifically (Seattle) there is a world where he is not chosen by any of them.

What happens then?

It is not helping Quinn’s case that his most recent stretch was one of his worst and that his unit collapsed further and further as the season wore on.

For what it is worth, ESPN’s Dan Graziano predicted who will be the head coach of every team with a vacancy on Wednesday and did not have Quinn filling a single post. The Seattle job went to Mike Vrabel in the prediction, if you are curious.

This would mean that Quinn would be available, and while we recently had a conversation here at BTB about him potentially filling the head coaching job in the building that he already works in, what if the only option is for him to return as defensive coordinator? Would anybody want that?

It is clear that changes are necessary for the Cowboys in a macro sense but this one felt out of their control. Are they willing to get rid of Dan Quinn themselves? Is he the fall guy for everything that has happened?


Bleeding Green Nation

What’s next for the Eagles?

The dead body of the 2023 season is still warm

Did you see that story about a man in India who was declared dead but the ambulance transporting him hit a pothole and it woke him up? I was thinking about that when trying to do an autopsy of the Eagles season. We can’t examine the body because we aren’t even sure if it is dead.

Is the head coach safe? Eagles ownership and front office can be prone to overreactions, and the panic button they slammed after back-to-back bad losses this season shows that patience is thin in the building this year. And patience is not something that has been in large supply for Jeffrey Lurie lately to begin with. Chip Kelly got fired after one bad year, annoying the hell out of everyone in and out of the building along the way. Doug Pederson got fired after one miserable year when his postseason debriefing went wrong. Lurie is 72, one of the older owners in the league. He wants another ring, and the core of the team is Super Bowl caliber. What can Nick Sirianni say to give confidence to leadership that he can regain the confidence of the team after a miserable end that annoyed the hell out of people inside and outside the building?

Is the offensive coordinator safe? The offense scored 14 TDs over their last 7 games, half of them in two games against the Cardinals and Giants. Firing Brian Johnson would give Jalen Hurts his third play caller in as many years, which typically results in a stagnant offense. But the Eagles offense was already stagnant. Johnson’s playbook is limited, he had play designs openly and deservedly mocked by announcers.

Is the defensive coordinator definitely gone? He has to be. Has to be. Cleaning out the defensive staff is the only option. But there is an argument–a bad one–that Matt Patricia was put into an impossible spot when he took over in-season, unable to properly install his own defense and with players that don’t suit what he wants to do. He tried to install a new defense during the season, only to create embarrassing confusion among his players. There is no reason that Matt Patricia should have a position of authority on a team, but this is a team that gave him a position of authority.


Bleeding Green Nation

Report: Nick Sirianni, Howie Roseman reaching out to evaluate potential Eagles coordinator candidates [UPDATE]

So ... Nick Sirianni isn’t going to be fired?

The Philadelphia Eagles head coach and general manager Howie Roseman “have been reaching out to available NFL coaches and coordinators, as well as coaching agents across the league to evaluate potential coordinator candidates to join their coaching staff as they plan for the 2024 season,” according to a report from NFL insider Dianna Russini.

It’s not yet clear how the timing of this report relates to Jeffrey Lurie’s meeting with Sirianni. Is Sirianni, with the assistance of Roseman, putting together a plan for Lurie to approve before the owner makes a final decision on his future?

FWIW, I think this is what the Eagles did with Doug Pederson after the 2020 season. Howie Roseman tried to help him find new assistants but ultimately Doug had his own vision and Lurie didn’t like it.

UPDATE: As I suspected, this seems to be the case.

Assuming Sirianni is back, it’s not surprising that changes will be coming at the coordinator level. Especially at defensive coordinator, where going from Sean Desai to Matt Patricia proved to be an abject disaster. Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson might have a better chance of returning ... but we’ll see.

Of course, hiring a new coordinator or two does not simply solve all of the Eagles’ problems that resulted in a 1-6 finish over the final seven games. Many of those issues stemmed from the head coach himself; Sirianni must be way better in 2024. And it’s fair to wonder if he can do just that.


NFL league links

Articles

The Athletic (paywall)

Ranking NFL head-coaching vacancies: Why Chargers, Falcons are most appealing

With seven of the 32 NFL head-coaching jobs opening per year on average, candidates for these coveted positions usually cannot be choosy. They take the jobs they can get, and live with the imperfections.

The eight current openings will appeal for different reasons to different candidates. I’ve ranked these vacancies below using three basic criteria: likelihood of winning in the first two seasons, whether winning the division is realistic and to what degree ownership flaws might be fatal. I’m not putting much weight into salary-cap space because it can be created or manipulated, and because the big challenge is finding good players, not finding the resources to sign them.

If the criteria seems a bit short-sighted, that’s because coaches, unlike general managers, frequently must win quickly to keep their jobs. There’s less standing between them and the product on the field. Blame finds them faster. Having a longer runway and some readily available resources makes for a better job.

6. Washington Commanders

It’s an exciting day in Washington with a new owner driving a franchise reset following more than two decades of embarrassment on and off the field under previous owner Dan Snyder. That said, a first-time NFL owner has hired a first-time GM, so there will be a learning curve that could give the team a better shot at success down the line, compared to right away. There is greater uncertainty in the meantime.

It’s possible the new ownership group, which seems to feature lots of potential voices, might have unrealistic expectations. Turning around an NFL franchise can take time. It’s tougher than turning the fortunes of an NBA team, notable given Commanders owner Josh Harris’ background in that league.

The next coach will inherit the second pick in the draft, delivering an opportunity to add a highly rated quarterback in the draft. That opportunity makes the job more appealing. The roster needs significant work beyond that, however.

The division features hard-charging ownership in Philadephia and Dallas, but there could be an opening for Washington if the Commanders land a top-tier quarterback with the second pick. The quarterbacks in Philadelphia and Dallas are good, but they aren’t Mahomes or Allen. There’s also the potential for coaching turnover on the Eagles and Cowboys over the next year, which could help Washington.


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