Commanders Head Coaching Job ‘A Truly Blank Slate,’ NFL Coach Says
Julia StumbaughJanuary 19, 2024

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 24: A Washington Commanders helmet on the field before a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Whoever takes the job at the helm of the Washington Commanders next season will have the opportunity to build a new culture from the ground up, according to other NFL coaches.

“If you’re taking over as the head coach and you want to instill your culture and your belief system, it’s a truly blank slate,” an NFL coach told Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein and Charles Robinson. “To me, that’s more important to long-term success than anything.”

The Commanders fired head coach Ron Rivera after he led the team to 4-13 record in 2023. Washington went 26-40-1 through four seasons under Rivera.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, owner Ron Rivera is now looking to make a “sweeping overhaul” of the Commanders’ leadership by hiring a new coach and head of football operations.

The Commanders are also heading into next season with the No. 2 pick in the 2024 draft, giving them the chance to draft a potential franchise quarterback in either UNC’s Drake Maye or USC’s Caleb Williams.

The high pick and empty front office present an opportunity for a fresh start that may have helped lead former San Francisco 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters to make the decision to join the team as general manager.

“Exciting new ownership group, and it speaks volumes the fact that they were able to hire Adam Peters, who could have had any GM job he’s wanted for years now,” a coach told Epstein and Robinson. “I think that shows you how attractive this place is.”

Which coach will be taking advantage of the opportunity remains to be seen, however, with a variety of aspiring head coaches reportedly in the running.

The Commanders have expressed interest in candidates including Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald.

With teams like the Ravens and Lions still alive in the playoffs, Commanders fans may have to wait until later— perhaps even after the Feb. 11 Super Bowl— to find out the identity of the new head coach. Whoever it is will get the chance to shape the Commanders’ new identity for the first time since Harris purchased the team in November.

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