NFC Notes: Commanders, Cowboys, Eagles


  • The Athletic’s Ben Standig goes through the potential changes new Commanders owner Josh Harris could make once the sale of the team is finalized. He expects HC Ron Rivera and the front office to have the chance to make their case over the course of the 2023 season, with the results going a long way toward deciding their future in Washington.
  • Right now Rivera is the chief decision-maker, with support from GM Martin Mayhew and senior executive Marty Hurney. Standig notes Harris could move toward a more traditional structure with the GM having the final say over the roster.
  • He also points out Harris was not afraid to embrace analytics as owner of the 76ers, hiring infamous GM Sam Hinkie and then GM Daryl Morey
  • The arrival of Harris could potentially grease the wheels for the team to get some extensions done, according to Standig, now that they don’t have to drag their heels on cash spending as much. Some candidates include DE Montez Sweat, S Kamren Curl and possibly RB Antonio Gibson.
  • Apart from the football matters, Standig writes a new stadium will be one of Harris’ top priorities and a big reason the other owners are expected to approve the sale, as former owner Dan Snyder was repeatedly unsuccessful in securing an agreement with local officials. The two leading candidates appear to be staying in Maryland with renovations and a new stadium complex or going back to D.C. and rebuilding the RFK stadium. 
  • Standig mentions rebranding to a new name in the future is also a possibility, as the fanbase hasn’t quite embraced “Commanders.” However, current president Jason Wright seemed opposed to that, understandably so given he helped lead the rebrand efforts to Commanders, and Standig adds that’s probably a consideration for way down the line. Building a winning team would be the first priority. 
  • Wright will also be evaluated by new ownership, per Standig, along with everyone on the football and business side. 


The Cowboys loved first-round DT Mazi Smith‘s ability to be a run-stuffing nose tackle in their defense, which is a big reason they went with him in the first round over some other options. But Dallas also believes Smith, who has outstanding athleticism for the position and was No. 1 on the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman‘s annual Freak List, can unlock more of a pass-rushing element to his game in the NFL. Smith agrees. 

“A lot of people talk about my pass rush in college, but I never had a pass-rush plan,” said Smith via the Athletic’s Jon Machota. “We’re gonna get a plan and see what I can do. I was a run stopper. If we were going to win the game, I was gonna have to stop the run. And that’s what I focused on. That’s what I’m still focused on. … I wanted to win games and win the Big Ten championship. I knew if we were gonna do that, we were gonna have to stop the run.”


Eagles CB James Bradberry is a fan of new Eagles DC Sean Desai and thinks he has a strong, flexible scheme for the defense.

“He just seems like a smart guy,” Bradberry said in a press conference. “He was able to teach the guys the philosophy and whatnot. There’s a lot of verbiage and stuff that’s being changed around, so I’m going to have to learn that. But that comes along with being under a smart guy. He’s going to have a good scheme that’s flexible and allows his guys to think and also make plays when you have smart players.”

“Certain things change in certain coverages,” Bradberry added. “But, of course, when they install man [coverage] and stuff, man is man. As far as the zones and stuff, we might play some things a little differently.”

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