Commanders owner Josh Harris makes first big hire
Josh Harris and members of his new ownership group have sat back and assessed since buying the Washington Commanders from Dan Snyder for $6.05 billion. This was the right approach considering the timeframe before the season began.
They've clearly been doing a lot behind the scenes and already invested substantial sums in improving the fan experience. But in terms of matters on the football operation side of things, there's been relatively little movement.
The Commanders announced on Thursday that Eugene Shen has agreed to become the team's senior vice president of football strategy. This is a major boost to the analytical side and a sign that Harris could be about to embark on landmark changes if things don't improve.
Shen is one of the most respected figures in the analytics world, bringing vast experience and changing the way teams approached this area during the 2010s. This is also in keeping with the methods adopted by Harris' other sports franchises.
Ron Rivera is seen more as an old-school coach with traditional values, so this appointment is significant. And in honesty, it's about time the Commanders got with the times after languishing among the NFL's basement dwellers for decades.
Whether this is the start of a franchise-altering shake-up remains to be seen. However, it does nothing to diminish the sense of urgency Rivera and others in positions of power should be feeling with Harris' ownership group apparently ready to pull the trigger on their long-term strategy.