4 looming decisions facing the Commanders over second half of 2023

Some big decisions are looming...
Josh Harris
Josh Harris / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Commanders sideline decisions

Potential head coaching candidate is one of the most popular topics of conversation amongst Washington Commanders fans currently. That's what happens when a new owner comes to town and begins to implement change.

Ownership does have other evaluations to make about its coaching staff. It is mostly a given that someone new will want to hire his men. And he should be given a lot of latitude to do so. But if you have good pieces already in place, it is not unreasonable for an owner to make a few friendly suggestions.

The book on Eric Bieniemy is wide open at this point. I don’t know if Josh Harris wants him to stay. I don’t if he wants to stay - if he should be passed over for the top spot.

I like Bieniemy a lot. Average points-per-game, which had been in steady decline throughout the Ron Rivera years, is the highest it has been since 2017.

But the one I am most interested in right now is quarterbacks coach Tavita Pritchard. I think he is the unsung hero of the staff this season. His work with Sam Howell has been excellent.

Most good quarterback coaches don’t last very long because they get snapped up as offensive coordinators - some even go one step further into a top job. They are important, even when the starter is a veteran.

With a young player like Howell, he is crucial. If I’m Harris, I am beginning to have serious discussions with Pritchard about keeping him in the fold.

The other position coach who needs real evaluation is offensive line coach Travelle Wharton. He was dealt a bad hand. There simply isn’t a lot of talent on that line. Under Rivera, the coaches have done a poor job of evaluating their players.

They played Geron Christian when Cornelius Lucas was better in Rivera’s first year. This year, they played Nick Gates at center despite last year’s success with Tyler Larsen. And don’t get me started on how this team can’t draft a college tackle to save its life.

Keep Pritchard, and figure out what you have in Wharton. Beyond that, let the new coach hire his staff if Rivera is let go.