Washington Commanders managing partner Josh Harris said he plans to hire a head of football operations before bringing in candidates to become head coach, but he acknowledged in a public comments Monday that timing might not let him execute his ideal search sequence.
Harris addressed the players earlier in the day, then spoke in public. He said his general emotion at the end of the 2023 season was frustration and felt head coach Ron Rivera was not surprised to be dismissed on Monday.
“It’s very important to have a relationship, to have a dialogue with the players,” Harris said. “It’s very important to be engaged, particularly the captains and the leadership.”
Harris has tasked former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers and former Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman, who has 30 years scouting and personnel experience, to assist with front-office decisions.
“Bob Myers is a winner,” Harris said of going outside of the NFL orbit to hire the four-time NBA championship architect. “Who wouldn’t want him on your team?”
Harris said he considered candidates throughout the season but wasn’t planning to make a change before Monday. He said he committed to the city, and to Rivera, that the coach would have the entire season to be evaluated on the Commanders’ performance after Harris led a group that purchased the franchise from Daniel Snyder prior to the start of the 2023 season.
The Commanders finished the season 4-13 and were 26-40-1 in four seasons under Rivera.
“My message to the Washington fan base is thank you,” Harris said. “You showed up in droves. We sold out every game. … The future is bright. We have a lot of cap space. We have a great ownership group. We’re very committed to winning for this city. We look forward to showing you and not telling you in future years.”
Harris spoke to Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on Monday to hand him the keys to the team temporarily and said in a “perfect scenario,” his head of football operations would discuss the head-coaching position with Bieniemy “and others.”
“We’re right there with the fans in terms of sweating every loss. The ultimate goal is to be an elite team competing for championships. When you do things quickly, sometimes you set yourselves back. … I want a winning franchise — quickly. But for me it’s about making the right decisions.”
One thing not on the Washington to-do list is reviewing the Commanders name, which some fans had speculated new ownership might do.
“In addition to picking a new head of the front office, a new head coach, we’re busy at work working on the next improvements to our stadium,” Harris said. “We’re going to be rolling out a big investment program in the next few weeks. And then obviously we’ve got our new home and thinking about that.”
–Field Level Media