November 21, 2023
Week 11 of the NFL season is in the books, and we have a new obituary. That would be the "new owner, same results" rudderless Washington Commanders.
2023 was a good year for the Washington Commanders on the simple basis that Dan Snyder sold the team. During his 24-season reign of awfulness, Snyder cycled through 10 different head coaches and 27 different starting quarterbacks.
• The head coaches: Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, Mike Shanahan, Jay Gruden, Bill Callahan, and Ron Rivera.
• The quarterbacks: Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy, Kirk 'Kurt' Cousins, Alex Smith, Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Garrett Gilbert, Carson Wentz, and Sam Howell.
Washington's record during the Snyder era was 164-220-2 (0.427). They had just three 10-plus win seasons during that span, and did not play in a single NFC Championship Game.
But beyond all the losing, Snyder was almost cartoonishly evil, constantly embroiled in heinous scandals that were so numerous it was hard to keep track of all of them.
So that's all over. Well, sort of.
The product on the field in 2023 didn't look any different. The Commanders are out to a 4-7 start, and they got swept by arguably the worst team in the NFL. It's not even Thanksgiving, and they're done, as usual. The highlight of their season was a preseason win over the Ravens, who at the time had a preseason winning streak of 24 games. 🥂🍾
Looking ahead, this franchise is in terrible shape, and I mean that from a football perspective.
• The one thing the Commanders could hang their hat on over the last few seasons was their defensive line, but after trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young at the deadline the cupboard is bare on the edge.
• We'll see if Sam Howell remains the starting quarterback. He actually leads the NFL with 3038 passing yards. Of course, he has 60 more pass attempts than any other quarterback, and hasn't been super efficient (24th in success rate, 19th in EPA/play).
A few weeks ago Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported that the Commanders think that Howell is "the guy."
There is a strong belief in the building that the Commanders have found their franchise quarterback in Sam Howell, and now it’s about building for 2024.
Howell has shown enough potential that the franchise shouldn't feel like they have to make some drastic move for a quarterback, and that giving him a second "tryout" year in 2024 — much like the Eagles did with Jalen Hurts in 2022 — is also an acceptable solution. However, if an opportunity to solve the quarterback spot presents itself either in the draft or elsewhere, then by all means they should jump all over that. But for anyone in that building to have a strong belief at this point that they have found their "franchise quarterback" is just... 🤯.
• And finally, the Commanders will have a new head coach in 2024. Rivera is seemingly a good guy but a bad head coach, and his firing — whenever that happens — will be viewed by the locals as a positive. The search for the new guy/gal will not be led by Snyder, which will of course mean that "it's different this time."
Eh, we'll see. It's not as if this is an attractive setup that will appeal to the best candidates. If you look at the most important parts of the roster — notably the quarterback, offensive line, and pass rush — how many teams out there are worse than Washington? Also, while promises will almost certainly be made about the upgrade of the team's facilities, they're not moving out of FedEx anytime soon. Oh, and speaking of FedEx:
Giants’ and Commanders’ locker rooms at FedEx Field have no hot water for showers.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 19, 2023
A Commanders’ official said: “We had an equipment failure in the main water heater that provides hot water to the field level locker rooms. We can’t resolve the matter without completely shutting…
With the new ownership, there should be a substantial downtick in sexual harassment and racism within the Commanders' walls, which, well, is great! But this team is still going to suck on the field for the foreseeable future.
10) Packers (4-6): Jordan Love had a career high 322 passing yards against Brandon Staley's fraud defense, which elicited a question about whether Staley should give up play calling. He did not like the question.
Brandon Staley is a broken man.— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) November 19, 2023
It’s over and he knows it. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it.
Need to put him out of his misery for the good of the team
Anyway, I guess this is more about the Chargers than the Packers, but I'm just happy that offenses are now consistently shredding these Staley-style "no big plays" defenses because they suck and I don't like watching them.
Last week: 10
9) Buccaneers (4-6): The Falcons and Saints had their byes this week, but Bucs and Panthers both lost.
The NFC South is now 10-22 (0.313) in games against other divisions with a combined point differential of -132.
Last week: 8
8) Falcons (4-6): The Falcons have lost six of their last eight games, as well as three straight games to the following quarterbacks:
• Will Levis, who was making his professional debut. 19 of 29 for 238 yards (8.2 YPA), 4 TDs, 0 INTs.
• A combination of Jaren Hall, who was making his professional debut, and Josh Dobbs, who has been on five teams since 2022. 25 of 36 for 217 yards (6.6 YPA), 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
• Kyler Murray, who was making his first appearance of the season. 19 of 32 for 249 yards (7.8 YPA), 0 TDs, 1 INT.
This garbage team will be in first place if they beat the Saints Week 12.
Last week: 9
7) Saints (5-5): As long as the Saints were on their bye Week 11, let's take a quick check in on the trades they made with the Eagles prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Commanders during it. As a reminder, this was the Eagles-Saints deal:
|Eagles got||Saints got|
|18th overall pick, 2022||16th overall pick, 2022|
|Third-round pick (101st overall), 2022||19th overall pick, 2022|
|Seventh-round pick (237th overall), 2022||Sixth-round pick (194th overall), 2022|
|2023 first-round pick|
|2024 second-round pick|
Aaaand their trade with the Commanders:
|Commanders got||Saints got|
|16th overall pick, 2022||11th overall pick|
|98th overall pick, 2022|
|120th overall pick, 2022|
• With the 11th overall pick, the Saints selected WR Chris Olave.
• With the 19th overall pick, they selected OT Trevor Penning.
• With the 194th overall pick, they selected DE Jordan Jackson.
So in summary, they traded all of the following for Olave, Penning, and Jackson.
Olave is a nice player. 72-1042-4 as a rookie, 56-657-3 so far in 2023. Penning got benched earlier this season in favor of a 32-year-old JAG. Jackson never made the team.
Last week: 7
6) Vikings (6-5): In the latest edition of terrible NFL officiating:
The NFL is reviewing #Broncos safety Kareem Jackson’s hit on #Vikings QB Josh Dobbs on Sunday night for potential discipline.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 20, 2023
Jackson just returned from a two-game suspension, so a violation could trigger another suspension.
No flag was thrown. pic.twitter.com/0uS3B0mCgG
Last week: 6
5) Seahawks (6-4): Last week in the Hierarchy:
Jason Myers made field goals from distances of 45, 43, 33, 45, and a walkoff from 43. The Seahawks needed all of regulation to beat the Commanders. That's the kind of game you lose when your kicker sucks.
A few days later:
Last week: 5
4) Lions (8-2): In the first 55 minutes of the Lions' matchup against the Bears, Jared Goff was 13-24 for 121 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs. He also had this throw that should have been a pick-six (ignore the dumb comment in the tweet and focus on the video, please):
Jaylon Johnson wants to get paid big money?— Dave (@dave_bfr) November 19, 2023
Then make this catch and take it to the house.
Ryan Poles will show this at the next negotiation meeting. pic.twitter.com/3ZELuzDYpL
But never count out the Bears to impossibly lose games that they seemingly have on lock:
1. Matt Eberflus:— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) November 20, 2023
November 13th, 2022 – Blew two 4th quarter leads vs. DET
December 4th, 2022 – Blew 4th quarter lead to GB
October 1st, 2023 – Coughed up 28-7 lead in 4th to DEN
November 19th, 2023 – Lost a 26-14 lead with 4 minutes left to DET
Not much left to say. #Bears
And, sure enough, they Bears'd that game away, but even with the late Lions heroics I think this game showed that Detroit is pretty clearly not as good as the Eagles, Cowboys, and 49ers, hence their drop to fourth in the Hierarchy.
Also, this may be a silly thing to say about a young, ascending team, but I wonder if the Lions have a window of opportunity that might not be there in 2024 and beyond. With success comes harder schedules, and they're also very likely going to lose star offensive coordinator Ben Johnson to a head coaching job elsewhere.
Last week: 2
3) 49ers (7-3): Brock Purdy did not play well during a three-game stretch to close out October against the Browns, Vikings and Bengals, all of which were losses.
He has bounced back in a big way. Over the last two games, he's 40 of 51 (78.4%) for 629 yards (12.3 YPA), 6 TDs, and 0 INTs.
Purdy's numbers on the season are right there with the frontrunners for the MVP race and from what I can tell, he is being universally praised over the last couple of days for his performances.
I love the following video from Richard Sherman:
In other Niners news, First-Team All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga is done for the season with a torn ACL. Next man up is rookie third-round pick Ji'Ayir Brown.
Last week: 4
2) Cowboys (7-3): DaRon Bland has as many pick-sixes (4) as Davante Adams, DeVonta Smith, Tyler Lockett, DeAndre Hopkins, and Brandon Aiyuk have touchdown receptions. (They all have 4.)
Last week: 3
1) Eagles (8-1): This stat made the rounds after the Eagles' win in Kansas City:
I went back and tried to find those seven games, but only found five. In reverse chronological order:
Last week: 1
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