clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Daily Slop - 21 Jan 24: A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web

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

NFL: APR 27 2023 Draft Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Commanders links

Articles

Sports Illustrated

Commanders to Interview Lions’ Aaron Glenn Day Before Playoff Game

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is interviewing for the Washington Commanders coaching vacancy a day before an NFC Divisional Round playoff game.

As owner Josh Harris, new general manager Adam Peters and the Commanders continue their search for a coach, they’ll speak to Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn Saturday about the vacancy, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The NFLPA recently asked players to anonymously rate their coordinators, on a 1-10 scale. Glenn got the highest score among defensive or offensive coordinators in the NFL, so there’s no doubt the 51-year-old is deserving of coaching interviews.

The thing is, the Lions are playing for a trip to the NFC Championship Game tomorrow. We’re not saying Glenn won’t be prepared, but he also interviewed for both the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans jobs on Friday. There’s no way that the time spent not only in the interviews, but preparing for the interviews doesn’t limit his ability to put his best foot forward for his current employer.

This, of course, isn’t a reflection on Glenn in any way — he’s just playing in the system as it’s set up now. Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who many view as the likely pick for the Commanders job, has three interviews Saturday. A day after a virtual meeting with the Commanders, the 37-year-old offensive coordinator is now slated to speak with the Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks Saturday. Again, this is the day before a playoff game.

There isn’t a perfect answer here, but perhaps the best solution would be to have the entire NFL coaching cycle not begin until after the Super Bowl.


Commanders.com

Commanders 2023 position review | Running back

Questions to answer

— Can Chris Rodriguez Jr. keep developing: As the third running back in the rotation, Rodriguez didn’t get many opportunities to run the ball, but he had power, knew how to follow his blockers and fought for extra yards. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 51 attempts and had his best day against the New York Jets, scoring two touchdowns. Gibson is entering free agency, and the team could re-sign him if they want, but if Rodriguez can continue to improve, he could become a solid No. 2 behind Robinson.

— What to do with Antonio Gibson:Gibson is one of the 26 players on the Commanders’ roster set to hit free agency. He didn’t run the ball as much in 2023, finishing the season with a career low 65 carries for 265 yards, but he was productive as a pass-catcher with 389 yards on 48 receptions. The Commanders do have the flexibility to retain him with all their available cap space, but it’s also possible they could look to the draft to find a player with Gibson’s traits for less money.


Commanders.com

Commanders 2023 season review | Offensive line

Questions to answer

— What to do at center: Washington’s problems at center continue to be an issue that has hung over the entire group. The Commanders’ initial plan of making Gates the starter fell through less than halfway into the year, as he was replaced by Larsen. That seemed to work better, but Larsen was eventually placed on Injured Reserve to end his season. Larsen is also set to hit free agency. The Commanders could re-sign him or let Gates and Stromberg compete for the spot with whoever they potentially bring in via trade or free agency.

— What about left guard: Cosmi seems to have adjusted nicely at right guard, but left guard was one of the weak spots on the offensive line. First it was Charles, then it was Paul when the former went on IR. Both had their moments and their struggles throughout the year. Paul was physical but showed some growing pains in pass protection, while Charles had trouble staying on the field because of injuries — a problem that has persisted throughout his career. Washington can upgrade the position if it chooses to do so. Charles will hit free agency, and Paul, as promising as he can be, is a seventh-rounder.


Podcasts & videos

Rick Spielman provides update on his role with the Washington Commanders


NFC East links

Blogging the Boys

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will not receive extension, will coach 2024 in contract year

Mike McCarthy will officially enter 2024 in a contract year.

Despite getting humiliated in the postseason yet again, team owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones announced this week that the Cowboys would be bringing Mike McCarthy back in 2024. Notably it is the final year of the contract that he signed with the team back in 2020.

While it was assumed that Dallas would not be extending McCarthy before the season, nothing is ever truly off of the table with this franchise. You can put those questions to bed though as Saturday afternoon ESPN reported that McCarthy will enter the season in a contract year.

Mike McCarthy is not expected to receive any sort of extension from the Dallas Cowboys and will coach the 2024 season on an expiring contract, league sources told ESPN.

Ever since Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced this week that McCarthy would return in 2024, there have been questions about whether McCarthy’s contract could be adjusted in some way — even something as simple as having one more year tacked on.

The answer, simply enough, is no. Jones believes that a person in the last year of a contract is challenged in a different way, and it often can bring out the best in people — which he is banking on the happening in 2024 with McCarthy.

This is hardly breaking news, but the acknowledgement of it is significant. The Cowboys have made two decisions in bringing McCarthy back and forcing him to go at the season with his job on the line.

Some sources around the league believe that McCarthy could have a more challenging time filling potential openings on his coaching staff since he will be in the last year of his deal. Others say that, during periods of adversity, McCarthy’s lack of an extension could hover over the team.

Some other sources question how the Cowboys players will react to McCarthy’s contract status later in the year if the 2024 season is not going well.


Big Blue View

2024 NFL Draft prospect profile: Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas

Could Sanders fill out the Giants’ tight end position?

If the Giants believe they’re on the right track at tight end, they could look to add another tight end in Ja’Tavion Sanders out of Texas. And it just so happens that Giants’ offensive coordinator Mike Kafka will get a first-hand look at Sanders as the head coach of the West team at the 2024 Shrine Bowl.

Prospect: Ja’Tavion Sanders (0)

Games Watched: vs. Alabama (2023), vs. Oklahoma (2023), vs. Kansas State (2023), vs. Oklahoma State (2023 Big 12 Chamionship)

Red Flags: Ankle (2023)

While Sanders is primarily known as a receiving tight end – he’s averaged 13.1 yards per catch over his career and 15.2 this past season – he has upside as a blocker. He was aligned all over the Texas offensive formation, from wide receiver to H-back, and was used creatively from all of those alignments. He’s at his best as a “move” blocker, getting into motion at the snap of the ball to create a numbers advantage for the offense elsewhere on the field. He was also lined up as a slot or wide receiver to block on screen passes, using his athleticism to match up with defensive backs in space. Sanders made a habit of “losing slowly” as an in-line blocker, doing just enough to slow defenders down and let his teammates get past them.

Not only does Sanders have the quickness, agility, balance, and long speed to move like a wide receiver in space, but he also has excellent ball skills and good route running. Sanders has a good release off the line of scrimmage, with a good feel for delivering chip blocks to disrupt opponents’ timing. Sanders understands how to use his size like a power forward against man coverage, boxing out defenders and extending to pluck the ball away from his body. He also has a good understanding of coverage schemes and has a knack for finding voids in zone coverage. He’s able to settle into holes between defenders and makes himself available for the quarterback.

He does a good job of tracking the ball in the air, making necessary adjustments, expanding the receiving window, and has strong hands to secure difficult catches.

Projection

Sanders projects as an important number two tight end at the NFL level, with the upside to be an every-down player.

Sanders is an NFL-ready receiver as a tight end, with the ability to help out quarterbacks as a safety blanket in the short-to-intermediate area of the field. Likewise, he’s a dangerous ball carrier on tight end screens or if he gets the ball in space. He also has the speed and route running to threaten defenses down the field and the skills to produce against both man and zone coverage.

However, Sanders will also need to improve as a blocker in order to be a factor as a “complete” starting tight end.

Final Word: A solid Day 2 value with upside


NFL league links

Articles

NBC Sports

‘I just pray’: Packers’ Matt LaFleur has brutal comment on K Anders Carlson

The 49ers-Packers NFC divisional-round battle involved vital missed kicks

No. 1-seeded San Francisco ended up coming back late to top No. 7-seeded Green Bay 24-21, with missed kicks making headlines.

Between the two misses — one by each rookie — it was Carlson’s that hurt more. Green Bay led 21-17 and drove 67 yards on six plays that eventually set up a 41-yard field goal try. But, with 6:21 on the clock, Carlson sent it wide left.

Shortly after the miss, FOX sideline reporter Tom Rinaldi said he had spoken to Packers head coach Matt LaFleur about Carlson, to which LaFleur gave a pretty brutal comment.

“[LaFleur] basically said, ‘When he goes out there, I just pray,’” Rinaldi said on the broadcast.