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Daily Slop - 19 Jan 24: Face to face coaching interviews can begin for coaches on Monday — if their teams aren’t still in the playoffs

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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Riggo’s Rag

Ben Johnson quote tantalizes fans ahead of Commanders interview

It seems as if Ben Johnson is a fan of the new Commanders general manager...

Johnson’s primary focus centers on helping the Detroit Lions overcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend with an NFC Championship game berth at stake. His exceptional reputation as a progressive play-caller has only shone further this season. Judging by the schematic masterclass versus the Los Angeles Rams, it shows no signs of slowing down.

Ben Johnson praises Commanders GM Adam Peters

When speaking to the media earlier today (Thursday), Johnson did provide some insight into his upcoming meeting with the Commanders. In particular, his thoughts on their decision to appoint Adam Peters.

As you can see in the video shared on social media by Nicki Jhabvala from The Washington Post, it’s clear Johnson’s been asking about Peters and hearing nothing but good things. This only tantalized Commanders’ fans further heading into tomorrow’s pivotal introduction.

The Carolina Panthers are also meeting with Johnson tomorrow. They’ll have suspect billionaire owner David Tepper and his consultancy firm leading the charge. Perhaps interim general manager Dan Morgan will also be involved in the event he’s given the role permanently.

Johnson hails from the region. The chance to coach his home-state team is probably alluring. But the Panthers are in a complete mess thanks in no small part to Tepper’s decision-making since buying the franchise.

Things have been equally as unstable in Washington - for a much longer period. However, the new era and landmark changes bring a sense of optimism where there was once nothing but abject misery.

Peters is a charismatic individual with a clear direction for the Commanders. He’ll be selling this to Johnson as much as the play-caller will be outlining his credentials to those in power. If they hit it off, an in-person interview will follow. This will probably include Magic Johnson, who’ll only lend further weight to the ambitious plans being made behind the scenes.


Sports Illustrated

Commanders Set to Interview Rams’ Raheem Morris for Coaching Job - NFL Tracker

The Washington Commanders are making moves and noise in the NFL, and we chronicle it all here!

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Commanders are interviewing Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Morris, 47, coached in Washington from 2012-14 as the defensive backs coach. That job came after he was a head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-11. He also served as the interim coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020.


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Bleeding Green Nation

Jeffrey Lurie, Nick Sirianni scheduled to meet for Eagles exit interview on Friday

Jeffrey Lurie and Nick Sirianni were originally thought to be meeting for an exit interview on Wednesday.

As it turns out, though, the Philadelphia Eagles owner has reportedly been in St. Maarten following Monday night’s game in Tampa, Florida.

Lurie is set to return to the NovaCare Complex in South Philly on Friday to meet with Sirianni, according to a report from Jeff McLane.

And so perhaps we’ll finally get a more definitive answer on Sirianni’s status soon. Perhaps a Friday news dump to try to soften the reaction of the unpopular decision to bring him back?


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The Athletic (paywall)

Ranking NFL GM jobs: Raiders top the list; Patriots, Commanders raise questions

The criteria for what makes a good job for an NFL general manager will vary depending on who you ask.

Most fans would say the best job is the one with the best QB. Some might suggest it’s the team that has the most maneuverable cap space. Others could prioritize going where history shows the franchise knows what it takes to win.

Having sat in that GM chair gives me a little different view. Give me the tools, the support and the accountability from ownership and I’ll create an environment that allows us to swing all three of the above to a position where we can compete for the playoffs year in and year out.

My criteria might look something like this:

  1. Ownership
  2. Ownership
  3. Ownership

Five franchises are in the process of making a change at GM: the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots and Washington Commanders, who have already made a decision. Meanwhile, one other team is processing what its structure could look like depending on which head coach it hires, leaving the GM in limbo: the Atlanta Falcons.

Let’s take a closer look at the five openings — ranked from most appealing to least appealing, in my view — and the uncertain situation in Atlanta.

4. Washington Commanders

The Commanders were the first to fill their GM role, agreeing with highly sought-after 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters on Friday, team sources told The Athletic. The team officially announced the hiring Monday.

It’s a good sign that the search committee acted quickly and did not allow any other teams searching for a GM to jump into the game. By making this move, their structure is clear. They want the GM to lead the search for the new coach. That is traditional and transparent, unlike a lot of the other teams still searching for a team-building architect. I think Peters was a no-brainer from the hiring field, but this gig is still complicated and convoluted, with agendas all over the map.

Running any major sports franchise in a market like the Beltway is a different job than 90 percent of the others in professional sports. Bill Parcells once told me, “New York is not for everybody, kid.” Well, neither is D.C.

For that reason, putting a first-time GM in this chair would give me slight hesitation. Peters is qualified, but leading and managing people will be his biggest and most untested task, and that alone will take the majority of his time. He’ll need a go-to talent evaluator by his side, preferably someone with rebuilding experience, because patience for on-the-job training will be in short supply, especially in this media market.

Just look at the star power and resumes of the search committee. I’m certain their advice will not stop now, but it must be used right — it could be a very positive influence, but it could also be a nightmare. Peters better show up with his listening skills intact, because his ears will be burning quickly. He doesn’t know it yet, but his days of sitting in the film room and picking players will be fewer and farther between. I used to find that film room to be my sanctuary, but time can be hard to come by. And believe me, there are plenty in the building who are giving input with that part of the job, too.

Peters fit the specific role in the box designed by new owner Josh Harris and his group. He brings much more versatility than others who were interviewed and has a very good reputation in the league as an evaluator who can make up his own mind while working to establish a consensus.

There are very few jobs that come with three hours in a chair next to the leader of the free world. For many years, it was common practice for the U.S. president to be on hand in the owner’s suite for a Monday night game. Politicians avoided former owner Dan Snyder in recent years, but respectable ownership has returned under Harris, and with the star power of Magic Johnson, the owner’s suite will be popular again. That will only brighten the spotlight in D.C.

Managing all of these separate silos will be challenging. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I think Peters will need an aggressive approach, backed by the confidence to identify, evaluate and acquire players who can thrive despite a skeptical media environment and murky waters that might be filled with sharks in the organization’s own building. As Coach Parcells said, this one isn’t for everybody.


Washington Post (paywall)

The cold case of Patrick Mahomes’s cracked helmet

Usually, Oliver said, a crack forms near a hole that’s been drilled to screw in the face mask, and it’s so small it would go unnoticed without close inspection — and wouldn’t be likely to affect the helmet’s performance. “The way the helmet broke is something I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere,” Oliver said.

Why did Mahomes’s helmet crack? Miller said there are “endless” possibilities: The polycarbonate blend of that helmet’s shell may have been subtly compromised. That precise spot could have been exposed to another hit that weakened the helmet in an unnoticeable way. The hit could have come at just the right angle with just the right force. “Things happen,” Miller said.

One factor, of course, stood out. Mahomes may or may not have been correct that the icy temperatures contributed to the busted helmet. Cold causes materials to stiffen and become less pliable, which makes them more vulnerable to cracking rather than bending when a high-energy force is applied.

NOCSAE tests helmets’ performance in extreme heat but not extreme cold. The reason is straightforward: Heads generate a tremendous amount of heat. Even in extreme cold, a helmet in use stays warm. (There are tests to make sure the outer shell can release heat so players in hot temperatures don’t overheat.) Oliver doubts the cold contributed to the crack of Mahomes’s helmet, because Mahomes’s helmet wouldn’t have been cold.

“There have been a lot of games played at zero and below,” Oliver said. “I’ve not seen any evidence that helmets are more likely to fracture or break at those temperatures.”

“Just because the helmet cracks doesn’t mean it didn’t perform its job,” Miller said. “Now, the next hit, it probably wouldn’t do its job, because it’s cracked. But for that given impact, maybe it did dissipate energy accordingly, but the shell cracked in the process of absorbing energy.”

Most helmets made for purposes other than football — bike helmets, equestrian helmets, snow-sport helmets — are classified as single-impact. They are designed to crack and crumble upon high impact as a way to disperse the energy from an accident, like a crumple zone in a car.

It would be impractical and financially unfeasible for a football helmet to break on impact, which makes it a multi-impact helmet: It must be designed to attenuate energy without breaking. Even when Mahomes’s helmet broke, though, it worked.

“Some engineers would argue slightly better,” Oliver said. “Because when you have things that permanently deform in the course of an impact, those things are taking up energy that otherwise would have been transferred to the head.”

Oliver said the only risk Mahomes’s broken helmet posed was another player getting cut by the sharp edge of the hole in Mahomes’s helmet.

“We got to talk about where we store the backup,” Mahomes said. “Because it was frozen.”


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