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Daily Slop - 6 Jan 24: When the game ends Sunday, Josh Harris goes ‘on the clock’ as an NFL owner

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

Washington Commanders Owners Josh Harris And Mitchell Rales Speak At Economic Club Of Washington Event Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Burgundy & Gold Report

Cosmi Has Excelled at Guard | Washington Commanders

Although former Texas Longhorns tackle Sam Cosmi was drafted in 2nd round (51st overall) in the ‘21 draft to be the starting right tackle, his transition inside to right guard has been one of the few bright spots this season for Washington.

Cosmi will be in his final year of his rookie deal next season and will carry a team friendly cap figure of only $2.10M.

After only allowing only 1 QB pressure and zero sacks since week 13, Cosmi should be in line for an extension.

Drafting a left tackle, right tackle and more help along the interior o-line should be a focus during the draft.

As it stands now, right guard is the one position on the offensive line that the new GM and HC should feel good about heading into the off-season with a rebuild on the horizon.


Washington Post (paywall)

It’s hard to build home-field advantage in the NFL. Can the Commanders do it?

“We would love to have a stadium where the opposing players fear to come, and our fans … and our players love to come and feel welcomed,” he said in late July. “That’s what I experienced at RFK [Stadium as a kid]. And whatever happens with the stadium, that’s the kind of stadium experience I want to create.”

For Washington, the end of this disastrous season has highlighted the strong headwinds it faces to improve at home. The Commanders have not finished .500 or better at FedEx Field since 2017, and their home point differential (minus-116) is on track to be the worst of any team since Jacksonville in 2013 (minus-127). Last week, San Francisco 49ers fans were the latest to flood FedEx, boo the home team and force the offense into silent count with chants of “DE-FENSE!” Expect more of the same Sunday in the season finale against the rival Cowboys, who are playing for the NFC East crown.

Critically for Harris, it seems difficult to manufacture an edge. Oddsmakers said the league’s two newest stadiums, in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, do not give their teams a meaningful boost. In December, the Commanders faced the Los Angeles Rams at beautiful, sterile SoFi Stadium, and afterward, several players said they didn’t feel like the crowd had given the Rams a home-field advantage.

McCormick argued the Commanders shouldn’t be compared to Las Vegas or Los Angeles because the Raiders, Rams and Chargers were relocated from other areas.

“You still have a regional bias in the D.C. area [toward the Commanders],” he said. “If the stadium is built and they can find a way to put a winning product on the field, we know that those people want to be Commander fans.”

“I understand this [fan base] is a sleeping giant,” [Josh Harris] told The Washington Post in July. “That inherent knowledge is how I could be in this situation now. Because let’s face it, we paid the largest price ever for U.S. sports team. That’s just the reality of it. And we did that because we ... believe if we do our jobs, and it’s on us, the city will come back, and the community will come back.”


ESPN

Josh Harris brings measured approach to Commanders ownership

ACCORDING TO MULTIPLE sources who have worked for both Harris and Snyder, his method of running a franchise differs greatly from what Washington experienced under its former owner.

One former coach during Snyder’s tenure described his process as “chaotic.” Sometimes he’d ask questions, the source said, but other times he would simply tell staffers to “get it done.”

Gruden said there were times Snyder and Allen would pursue and sign free agents with little regard to how they fit Washington’s scheme.

It was a difficult way to build sustained success and contrasts with how sources say Harris has operated with his other teams.

Harris has said although he might be in the draft room, he would not be making any decisions on players. He’s considered an involved owner, but not a meddler. He typically meets or talks to his management teams once a week.

“For someone as successful and as just driven as he is, he’s really coachable because he wants to learn,” Brown said, “and he wants to know what the people who work for him, what their thoughts are, because he knows that, as I said, he tries to surround himself with the best people in every situation. ... It’s always about the idea, the collaboration, the information so that you get to the right outcome.”

Harris already met with some potential GM candidates through the accelerator program at the owners meetings last month in Dallas. According to multiple sources, he met with a few participants, including Chicago assistant general manager Ian Cunningham and Las Vegas interim general manager Champ Kelly.

Harris also has talked with other owners and has a strong relationship with New England Patriots president Jonathan Kraft and owner Bob Kraft. Harris can lean on advice from his limited partners, who have constructed successful businesses — namely Mitchell Rales, Mark Ein and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. While none of them has been involved with football, all have been part of hiring leaders or evaluating them for their businesses. Harris also hired Eugene Shen as a senior vice president of football strategy. He has worked in both Baltimore and Miami’s front office.

“I’ve seen in our conversations that his mindset toward the Commanders is very informed by the last decade of his experiences in Philadelphia and New Jersey and even in the Premier Soccer League,” Ein said. “He has never meddled. His business strategy is to hire great people and empower them.”

“Once we get through all this,” Harris said in September, “we want to start to keep the focus on the team and winning football games.”


Riggo’s Rag

Despite Ron Rivera’s claims, the Commanders are not in a better place

Ron Rivera seems happy with the work accomplished...

When Ron Rivera was appointed head coach in 2020, it seemed like a monumental task. As the respected figure embarks on what should be his final game at the helm this weekend, the post-mortems on his Washington Commanders’ tenure are already being written.

All signs point to Rivera being relieved of his duties by Josh Harris’ group once Washington’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18 is in the record books. This is more of a foregone conclusion rather than anything speculatory. After another losing season and the introduction of new ownership, there is seemingly no other option.

Are the Commanders in a better place post-Ron Rivera?

Rivera’s been getting plenty of questions about his feelings amid such uncertainty. Whichever way it goes for him moving forward, he genuinely believes he’s leaving the Commanders in a better place than when he came on board based on comments via the league’s website.

“Well, I’d like to think we’re in a better place, probably a fair way to say it. I most certainly do appreciate my time here, and we’ll see what happens. And again, we’ll focus in on what’s coming first on Sunday, and that’s getting ready for Dallas. What we’ve done with the culture. I think that was one of the things that somebody asked me the same question, I said, the biggest thing more so than anything else I think is I kind of like where we are. Obviously, it’s not where we want to be, but that’s just the nature of this game sometimes.”

- Ron Rivera via NFL.com

Looking at the current state of affairs, it’s hard to see the validity of Rivera’s statement. Four straight losing seasons and one playoff appearance after winning the NFC East almost by default is just the start. So let’s examine things in a little more detail.


Sports Illustrated

Have Jonathan Allen, Kendall Fuller Played Their Last Games For Commanders?

Washington Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen and cornerback Kendall Fuller are out vs. the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen and cornerback Kendall Fuller have been ruled out for Washington in its final game of the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at FedEx Field at 4:25 p.m. ET. Given that wholesale changes are expected to take place this offseason, Allen and Fuller’s futures are on much more unsteady ground compared to years past.

Allen, a 2017 first-round pick by Washington, will have two years remaining on his four-year $72 million extension he signed in 2021. If the Commanders were to cut or trade him before June 1st, they would save $9.5 million in cap space and incur $12 million in dead cap, according to Spotrac.

Fuller’s situation is more clear-cut, as he’s a free agent after this season. His decision will just come down to whether he wants to return and if head coach Ron Rivera or a new regime wants the 28-year-old cornerback back.


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Pro Football Talk

ESPN acknowledges Aaron Rodgers’s “dumb and factually inaccurate joke” about Jimmy Kimmel

ESPN senior V.P. of digital and studio production Mike Foss issued the statement to FrontOfficeSports.com.

“Aaron made a dumb and factually inaccurate joke about Jimmy Kimmel,” Foss said. “The show will continue to evolve. It wouldn’t surprise me if Aaron’s role evolves with it.”

It wouldn’t surprise others if Rodgers’s role eventually disappears. Much of that will depend on how he handles this one.

McAfee apologized for his show’s role in the brouhaha on Wednesday, while also downplaying the situation as “shit talk.” Will Rodgers apologize personally next Tuesday? Or will he decry “cancel culture” and complain about people not being able to take a joke or suggest that the aliens at the Miami Mall were just a way to distract everyone from the Epstein list?

The damage already has been done to the relationship between McAfee’s show and ESPN. Rodgers, quite frankly, might end up delivering the death blow if he handles the situation in the same way he has handled similar situations in the past — by painting himself as the victim and characterizing his critics as the “woke mob.”


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