Commanders must name a new OL coach
The Washington Commanders have not had an offensive line coach since John Matsko was fired on March 14. That has to change soon.
It is hard to understand why Travelle Wharton, who has been the recently removed coach's assistant for the past four seasons and appears to be well-regarded within the franchise, has not been formally promoted. He has been functioning as a de facto head coach for the protection this offseason.
This is a vital job. Apart from quarterback, no position group is undergoing as much transition this year as the offensive line.
Veteran Charles Leno Jr. is the only certainty along the line. Holdovers like Andrew Norwell, Tyler Larsen, and Cornelius Lucas could figure into the mix, but most will be comprised of newcomers or very young players.
There are two rookie draft picks and two veteran free agents new to the team. And there are three young vets all under 25 years old who are hoping to show they can become reliable starters.
Matsko worked wonders with a group of rag tags in 2020, but he was never able to develop young linemen during his years in Washington. That will be Job No. 1 for whoever succeeds him.
It has been reported that Wharton’s official ascendency to the top spot was simply waiting on the ownership issue to be resolved. That is certainly possible. But it also begs several questions.
The Commanders hired Eric Bienemy and brought in new quarterback coach Tavita Pritchard with ownership in flux. They certainly could pull the trigger on the Wharton promotion if they wanted to.
When Bienemy arrived, a lot of us wondered which assistants he might want to bring into the fold. Corey Matthaei, the Kansas City Chiefs assistant line coach under Andy Heck and Bienemy during the entire Patrick Mahomes era, was a very popular name. As of now, he's yet to move.
As with the unsigned defense backs, this will probably work out as expected and Wharton will be formally promoted once Josh Harris assumes ownership. But until that happens, we can keep speculating.
Is there another coach out there – whether it is Matthaei or someone else – who Bienemy wants for the job? Would the necessary offer be significant enough to require the okay of the new ownership group before a deal can be made?