The Washington Commanders are this offseason’s most intriguing team

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The Washington Commanders have new ownership and a new GM, with a new coach and quarterback presumably on the way as well. Like a dog who finally catches the mailman, fans in the DMV pined for Dan Snyder’s removal with such fervor that I’m not sure they know what to do now that it’s happened. It’s rare for any professional franchise to wipe the slate entirely clean, so there’s a load of crucial decisions in store over the coming months.

Which ownership group is best suited to buy the Commanders? | Agree to Disagree

There are two paths forward. The first is what the team appears to be doing: Hire a GM from a reputable front office and let him build the roster and coaching staff accordingly. Adam Peters comes over from San Francisco, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit to see a token young offensive coordinator get called up to the bigs.

Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson have both garnered interest from the organization that hasn’t even introduced Peters yet. (That’s happening today.) Who knows what kind of back-alley communications Washington and Peters have had about a potential hire, but you have to assume there’s been some discourse.

Pair a budding coach with a blue-chip quarterback and let them grow together. Not every young coordinator and quarterback are created equal so it’s not risk free. Throw in a first-time owner and GM, and that’s a lot of rookies.

Still, it’s a solid thought process, because under previous ownership, candidates were selected by how good they made Snyder feel about himself. Dan Quinn would have a handshake agreement already in place, playoff drubbing be damned.

This brings me to my second route forward: Repeat previous mistakes.

Ron Rivera and Quinn might as well be the same person. If you’re going to do that, draft Drake Maye and see how long it takes for him to turn into Sam Howell. If owner Josh Harris was desperate to win right away, he would’ve waited to hire a GM until after he made Bill Belichick an all-encompassing tyrant offer that only the ex-Pat might refuse.

My guess is the Hoodie isn’t going to a place where he doesn’t have final say on personnel decisions. If he did, perhaps he’d trust a GM who was a scout with him for a few years in New England? Yeah, I doubt so, too. Seeing as this third option is a pipe dream, let’s consider the first two.

There’s not really a middle ground between GM-down-to-QB learning on the job and a retread coach who thinks he knows best because he’s failed at this before. The Commanders don’t have to nail this next hire. There’s a post-Snyder grace period, but an opportunity to hit the reset button, at least like this, doesn’t come around too often.

The club with the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is still playing behind its stellar rookie coach and QB, which is what makes Washington’s position intriguing. Do Harris and Peters get antsy about another team trading up and stealing the No. 1 QB on their draft board or do they let someone else make that decision for them?

Of the available head coach openings, the Commanders arguably have the most coveted. It’s as fresh of a start as you’re going to find in the NFL and comes with a reinvigorated fan base eager to re-embrace its team. The expectations are “Be better than Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera.”

That won’t be too difficult of a bar to clear, yet with all the wide-eyed potential, there’s a chance to set a new standard, one hopefully up to the standing of the Washington football team. 

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