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NFC East news: Jalen Hurts wants to get back to work, Washington looks for a new coach

Here’s what’s happening around the division

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Laying out the next steps for Adam Peters in first offseason as Washington’s GM - Zach Selby, Commanders.com

The Commanders’ new GM now looks to fill their head coaching vacancy.

The Washington Commanders took their first step towards ushering in a new era for the franchise by hiring away Adam Peters — widely considered the most coveted front office executive in the league — from the San Francisco 49ers to be their new general manager.

Now, Peters joins the brain trust organized by Managing Partner Josh Harris to decide where the franchise should go next, and there’s a lot to do.

There’s a reason why Peters said “the work starts now” in the press release announcing the hire. From the time he signed his contract, Peters has been covering a variety of topics surrounding the team, from the draft and free agency to finding a new head coach. It’s going to be a busy offseason for him as he takes on being a general manager for the first time, so let’s look at some of the events on the calendar that will require his immediate attention.

Find a new head coach

Of all the moves that the Commanders need to make, finding a new head coach is the most important. Every decision the team makes, whether it pertains to free agency or the draft, will hinge upon who the Commanders bring in to mold the vision for the roster.

Peters, Harris and the team’s search committee consisting of Bob Myers, Rick Spielman and several limited partners have already begun interviewing candidates virtually, per league rules. In-person interviews can start today (Jan. 22), but coaches for teams still in playoffs (Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald) cannot take place until at least Jan. 29.

As expected, Peters and the Commanders haven’t revealed much about what they’re looking for in a new head coach, other than to say that they’re not going to favor coaches from either side of the ball. All the coaches the team has been reportedly connected to confirm as much, adding more credence to Harris’ desire of having a “thorough, but rapid” process to filling the role.

The only other quality Peters has revealed that Washington is looking for, regardless of what side of the ball they come from, is the ability to bring leadership to the position.

“I think in any head coach, in any leader, is leadership,” Peters said when asked about the most important factor in the search. “Leadership, great communication, being able to be honest, direct and upfront, have all those qualities, and they’re all intertwined. But those are the main qualities. You have to be very smart. You have to be very driven.”

Cover 4: Early thoughts on 2024 NFL Draft cycle - Schmeelk, Salomone, et al. Giants.com

Giants’ GM Joe Schoen was planning for the draft months ago.

Dan Salomone: Our impressions are meaningless. The only one that really matters in the grand scheme of things is Joe Schoen, and we got our first peek into the general manager’s mind back at his bye week press conference.

Two things stuck out that day. The first was about addressing the quarterback position, whether that’s through the draft or free agency, in case Daniel Jones isn’t ready for Week 1. The second was a response to a question about why he made the mid-season trade of Leonard Williams to the Seahawks.

“Draft compensation,” he said. “When Seattle called and offered a second-round pick for a 29-year-old player that was on an expiring contract, we had nine games left. It just made the most sense long-term, in terms of the build.”

Both points are linked. When asked about his assessment of the 2024 class less than two months later, Schoen again brought up the idea of “currency” in his end-of-season press conference, as the Giants hold four picks in the top 70.

“Again, that’s a way to impact the roster and it also gives you currency if you want to move around, or move up, move back, whatever it may be,” he said. “Those are tools that you can use to continue to execute whatever the plan may be.”

We’ll have to wait and see if that plan is using all those picks to amass as many impact players as possible or bundling them up to get a higher concentration at the top.

Jalen Hurts: ‘This is just an opportunity to grow’ - Dave Spadaro, PhiladelphiaEagles.com

Though sooner than he would’ve liked, Hurts’ focus on 2024 begins now.

Every step is a lesson for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. And what he learned in 2023 and how he applies it to the 2024 season, he says, is critical. It starts, Hurts said as the players cleaned out their lockers at the NovaCare Complex and headed into their respective offseasons, with a hard look at oneself.

“I think this year has taught me so much in terms of the many blessings and lessons that have come with it,” Hurts said. “First thing that you do, you look yourself in the mirror and you look at what you could have been better at, how you could have led better, how you could have executed better, and those are all of the things that internally light a fire in me.

“You have challenges in front of you. You do everything in your power to self-reflect and control what you can and learn from it. That’s my No. 1 desire, to learn from everything and be the best I can be moving forward for everyone in this locker room and in this building.”

At the moment, the bitter reality of being out of the postseason is stinging.

“I think the toughest thing about all of this right now is that someone else is going to win the World Championship,” Hurts said, “and there’s a lot of motivation in that itself and there’s going to be a lot of reflection in that internally so I can be the best that I can be to not only operate at a high level out on the field but also to lead the guys.”

“This is just an opportunity to grow. This is just an opportunity to take that next step into what we desire and what we want to be,” he said. “It’s going to take everyone, and that’s something I believe in. I believe in everyone here. I believe in everyone here. It’s just time to get back to work. A little soon, but it’s time to get back to work.”

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