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Daily Slop – 27 Mar 24 – Adam Peters talking about Commanders quarterbacks, past, present & future

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By: Bill-in-Bangkok

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

Commanders links


The Athletic (paywall)

Josh Harris, Dan Quinn excited about Commanders’ future, still unsure about No. 2 pick

“My first annual (league) meetings in the NFL,” Harris exclaimed during a question-and-answer session with Washington beat reporters. He declared the meetings, which included notable rule changes and business announcements like scheduling two games on Christmas, even with the date falling on a Wednesday, as “super productive.”

“And obviously, we got some stuff done ourselves,” he said.

Harris seemed to reference an $86.5 million funding loan for stadium upgrades at the home facility without a corporate name approved by the other owners. He could have pointed to an overhauled roster and the new voices leading the way during the three-month sprint of hiring coaches, signing 22 external and internal free agents and preparing for April’s NFL Draft.

“We’re all drinking from a fire hose,” Harris cracked about the group dealing with the jammed NFL calendar while learning to become a cohesive group. “But it’s an amazing opportunity to start with, in essence, somewhat of a blank slate. To bring together a new coach, new GM, new front office, new ownership, obviously, and that was really exciting. … You saw how we did in free agency, and now on to the draft. So, I think we’re building, and it’s exciting.”

“I think Kam [Curl]’s a fantastic player, and I think he’ll continue to do great in LA,” Quinn said at the beginning of his answer about what he sought at safety. “When you’re looking … at safeties, there’s some that are down and play in the box (and) can play multiple roles, and that’s what I think Jeremy can do.”

Quinn sees Chinn “blitzing” and “guarding tight ends” while positioned by the line of scrimmage more than playing center field. “We want to play tight. We want to play aggressive,” the coach continued, “so the more man-to-man, the more blitzing ability, that’s what we’re looking for into that spot.”

Commanders Wire

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell optimistic about a Commanders’ stadium in Washington D.C.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell grew up in Washington, D.C., as a fan of the then-Washington Redskins, attending games at the legendary RFK Stadium.

everyone is optimistic that Washington D.C. and the Commanders can find common ground, including Goodell.

“Well, I’ve talked to the mayor (D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser) several times going back, I think, two years, about allowing D.C. to have the ability to have a long-term lease,” Goodell said Tuesday at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post.

“As you probably know, I grew up in Washington, D.C. I spent a lot of time at the old RFK Stadium. It’s something that I think (owner) Josh (Harris) and the Commanders want to evaluate. I think the city wants to evaluate (it), and I think the NFL does. So, I see it as a very positive development that we can have another alternative that will allow us to get the kind of stadium in our nation’s capital that is warranted, in my view.”

Five things to know about Austin Ekeler

1. He was a zero-star recruit.

It’s strange to think about how some of the best players in the NFL over the last 20 years received such little attention as high school prospects. Bobby Wagner, one of the best linebackers of all time, was a two-star recruit and only got one offer from Utah State.

Ekeler was in a similar situation. Despite being a four-year starter at Eaton High School, he was a zero-star recruit and generated hardly any interest from Division I programs.

Perhaps it was Ekeler’s height; he was, after all, just 5-foot-5 as a freshman. Or maybe he just wasn’t fit for teams’ systems. Despite his physical appearance, it was clear that Ekeler could ball, though. He started his playing career rushing for 454 yards to go with eight touchdowns, and by the time he had wrapped up his senior season, he had amassed 5,232 yards and 71 touchdowns, including 39 in his final year.

There were also shades of his abilities as a versatile offensive weapon on top of averaging 9.2 yards per carry. He also accounted for 581 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in four seasons.

None of that amounted to much attention from scouts. Wyoming was interested in Ekeler, but that was about as far as it went. He eventually did receive offers from schools, but most of them had different plans for him.

Riggo’s Rag

4 Commanders who’ll benefit most from Adam Peters’ roster overhaul

These players should be happy…

Darrick Forrest – Commanders S

The Washington Commanders didn’t offer Kamren Curl an extension after signing Jeremy Chinn in free agency. That’s the only change in the safety options heading into the draft, which could be great news for Darrick Forrest as he looks to become the team’s backend alpha in 2024.

Forrest’s promising career start was derailed last season by injury. He featured in just five games, which was a body blow considering Percy Butler didn’t show enough deputizing for the former fifth-round pick out of Cincinnati.

With Chinn expected to be deployed in a box safety role, this allows Forrest the freedom to operate as the secondary’s anchor – a role he’s best suited for. The presence of Dan Quinn as ahead coach within a more dynamic defensive scheme only provides more reasons to be optimistic.

Sports Illustrated

Commanders Coach Dan Quinn Reveals Emmanuel Forbes Jr.’s ‘Super Power’

Washington Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes struggled mightily in his rookie season after he was a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Given his ability to take the ball away, Quinn said that’s what he and the Commanders’ defensive coaches need to get him back to.

“I did a lot of work on him coming from the draft before that,” Quinn said at the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando. “The number one thing that stood out was the ball skills and the ability to go take the ball [and] eliminate it. When you have that kind of rare ball skills and return ability with it, that’s his superpower. That’s I think what makes him so unique. We’ll certainly try to accentuate that, but that’s the thing that jumped out to me more than anything is he has got this rare ability to find the ball.”

Forbes Jr. had one interception in 2023, and he was also credited with allowing 37 catches for 598 yards and three touchdowns by Pro Football Reference, two of which came when he was covering Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro receiver A.J. Brown. He also had a 15.7 percent missed tackle rate after he missed seven tackles last season, according to Pro Football Reference.

Forbes Jr. also didn’t grade favorably with Pro Football Focus, as it gave him a grade of 50.9.

With a new regime, Forbes Jr. will likely have a shorter leash as opposed to if he was playing for the one that drafted him last season. With that, the impetus is there for the second-year cornerback to turn things around in a new system. And through the competition that’s set to take place under a new coaching staff, Quinn hopes that will bring the best out of Forbes Jr.

“It’s all about our competition and so we want it at every single position and it’s really the central theme in what we do,” Quinn said.

Podcasts & videos

Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders Adam Peters on Quarterbacks and NFL Draft | Rules Changes from League Meetings

(Note: this podcast has a really good detailed discussion with Adam Peters talking about Marcus Mariota, Sam Howell and the future at the QB position in Washington that starts around the 1:55 mark — I haven’t seen this video anywhere else)


NFC East links

The Athletic (paywall)

Why Cowboys could be willing to allow Dak Prescott to play out final year of his contract

A restructure would push more dead cap money into the future. As things sit, he will already count $40.46 million against their cap in 2025. That’s even if he’s on another team.

Not restructuring his contract or getting a new deal done before free agency started three weeks ago was a good sign Jones is willing to allow Prescott to play out the final year of his deal.

It has become more and more clear over the last month that Jones’ definition of “all in” was not spending big in free agency to put the best possible team on the field for the 2024 season. It’s that the Cowboys are “all in” on the 2024 season because if things go poorly, there will be notable changes, which could include coaching staff and franchise QB.

Prescott is on the books to count $55.45 million against Dallas’ salary cap this season, the second-highest cap number in the NFL. An extension or restructure would lower that number for the upcoming season. The Cowboys deny they have given up trying to get a new deal done before the season.

Jerry Jones was very aware that Prescott and his agent, Todd France, got the best of Jones on the franchise quarterback’s last deal. The four-year, $160 million contract that was signed in March 2021 made Prescott the second-highest-paid quarterback behind the Kansas City Chiefs’Patrick Mahomes (10 years, $450 million). Jones was hoping Prescott would take a little less. It never happened. Not only did Prescott get top dollar but he also got a no-trade clause and a no-tag clause.

Big Blue View

‘Very passionate’ Brian Daboll addresses sideline demeanor, aims to evolve

“There are times where I wish handled things a little bit differently”

Does he think that needs to change?

“Every year, there’s a self evaluation process that goes on. I’m a very passionate person. But yeah, there are times where I wish handled things a little bit differently, certainly. So you continue to grow. You continue to evolve. That’s what I try to do every year,” Daboll said Tuesday morning at NFL league meetings.

“I’m passionate about winning. I’m passionate about our team. When we lose, I’m very passionate. So my focus always is: What can I do better? How can I be a better coach? How can I be a better leader?”

Giants co-owner John Mara said on Monday that he had not addressed the topic with Daboll, but does wish the coach would “tone it down” at times.

NFL league links


Front Office Sports

No vote for now: Why Private Equity’s NFL Wait Continues

[T]he NFL is in no rush to approve private equity ownership in teams, pushing back a vote that last year many thought would take place this week to now possibly October.

NFL owners still are studying the right type of investors as the universe of institutional money is larger than just private equity, says an NFL official. Questions about how private equity firms, or others, would exit their investment in the teams is also a question, as to date there has been only one exit among the dozens of such investments in NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS teams, this official says. That was Dyal HomeCourt and the Suns, which were bought last year by Mat Ishbia. What the maximum percentage of investment would be allowed is undecided (the top percent in the other leagues is 20%). There are even questions about which level of vetting the secretive funds would tolerate to meet the NFL’s probing requirements.

Rising franchise values and tight debt rules have created a limited pool of buyers who can afford an NFL team. The Commanders sold for $6.05 billion last year, and owner Josh Harris struggled to make the deal work. Also, as heirs to teams face steep estate taxes, private equity investment could play a role in raising funds to pay the IRS bill.

“Well, I believe our ownership policies are really important,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Tuesday. “I know our ownership does, too. We had a report on it yesterday and a lengthy discussion about it. I think the committee has worked incredibly hard. And they’ve been very deliberate in the way they’ve evaluated the different alternatives. We’re making progress. I think there’ll be some changes, maybe as early as May, probably closer to October. I feel very comfortable with the timing. I feel zero pressure. I don’t think our committee does nor our membership. So we’ll continue to go through that process and come to the best conclusion, regardless of the time.”


NFL owners approve massive revamp to kickoff play

During the 2024 season, kickers will continue to kick from the 35-yard line, but the other 10 players on the kickoff team will line up at the receiving team’s 40-yard line. At least nine members of the return team will line up in a “setup zone” between the 35- and 30-yard lines. Up to two returners can line up in a “landing zone” between the goal line and the 20-yard line.

No one other than the kicker and returner(s) can move until the ball hits the ground or hits a player inside the landing zone. Touchbacks will be marked at the 30-yard line, and no fair catches will be allowed. In the event a team wants to attempt an onside kick, it will have to inform officials of its intent and would then be allowed to use the NFL’s traditional formation. No surprise onside kicks will be allowed.

“We’re in the business of creating an entertaining product and putting a product on the field that should be competitive in every moment. And we had created a play that was no longer competitive, and our [goal was] to try to find a way to make that play competitive. And this was, in our opinion, our best option,” McKay said. “Yes, it’s a big change, but the time has come to make that change.”

The proposal follows the structure and philosophy of the XFL version with a slight shift in where the players are aligned. In the XFL, they lined up farther downfield, between the returning team’s 30- and 35-yard lines. More than 90% of kickoffs were returned during the XFL’s two seasons. NFL special teams coaches who participated in designing the NFL version of this format are hoping for a return rate of at least 80% in 2024.

The reason for the change is clear. In its efforts to reduce concussions on kickoffs, the NFL over the past 15 seasons has implemented rule changes designed to reduce returns. It moved the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, outlawed wedge and double-team blocks, and in 2023 created a rule that allowed a fair catch to be spotted at the 25-yard line.

Touchback rates dramatically increased over that period, and the return rate fell to a league-record 21.7% in 2023. The number of concussions dropped as well, but only in parallel with the decrease in returns. The rate of concussions per kickoff, according to league officials, has remained relatively constant.

“I think it will [be a positive]. I say that with a little bit of hesitation. We will still have to tinker with it,” commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday. “We will reevaluate it as the season goes on. I think it will be a big improvement. I think it will bring it back to a relevant play, an exciting play.”

NFL to play two games on Christmas, a Wednesday, during 2024 season

“From what we’ve seen the last couple years is really some unprecedent growth, and not just on Christmas, on Thanksgiving, too,” Schroeder explained Tuesday. “The last couple of years have had the highest-regular season game ever viewed in the regular season. That mindset, that opportunity, that belief we have that football brings people together — that’s even truer on these big holidays that happen throughout the year.

“When we saw the viewership from this past year, really our fans spoke. We certainly saw and believe that they are very much enjoying and wanting NFL football on Christmas. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to play a couple of games, like we’ve typically played for well over a decade, probably more than that, on Saturday of Week 16, and then come back and play a couple of games on Christmas Day on Wednesday.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he didn’t anticipate player health concerns being an issue with teams playing Christmas games on a short week.

“Well, I think the days are the same for us. We’ve done this,” Goodell explained. “In fact, COVID was a learning opportunity, I think it was the first time we played on a Wednesday. It will not be a regular thing. It will be when Christmas falls on a Wednesday. But the time period between games has been done before. We have not seen any elevation of injuries. You all, and we, have had a major focus on Thursday night when we first put it in, and we’ve still not seen any kind of elevation of injuries. So I think we have this down.”

Originally posted on Hogs Haven