JUNKIES: Michael Phillips on potential on and off-field changes for Commanders under Josh Harris


The NFL owners won’t vote on a Commanders sale this week during the owner’s meetings in Minneapolis, and even though that’s been the expectation of most people in the know, Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch does wonder why Harris himself doesn’t take a little more control of the situation now that there is a signed agreement.

“Doesn’t this feel like the owners are doing a little flex on Josh Harris here?” Phillips asked the Sports Junkies Tuesday morning. “We get that you own NBA team and that’s cute, but this is the NFL, you have to have your house in order and jump through our hoops. Well, if I were him, I’d 100 percent say this: we made an offer, Dan Snyder accepted it, we need a vote by July 1 for the investors, call us when you’re ready. I don’t understand why he has to play this game.”

EB agrees and is convinced it’ll happen, and as Phillips pointed out, a delay only means another chance to put the NFL in the limelight during its offseason.

“The other thing this does is it creates an event for the NFL over the summer to do the ownership transfer,” Phillips said. “The owners will get together and vote, and have a little party for Josh Harris, but I have absolutely no doubt this is happening, and probably before the start of the season.”

Whenever it does become official, what does Phillips see as the course of action for any personnel changes in the organization?

“I don’t think it will be immediate, and obviously not on the football side because it’s too late in the game,” he said. “I think they’ll run with a lot of the current crew this year, which creates an interesting situation with a lot of these guys pushing their messaging about what they’ve been able to accomplish, maybe in case they’re not here anymore. Everyone has an eye towards the future, and that’s fair; this group has run sports teams before and has global management expertise, and you have to think they have people in mind for these jobs.”

The one place they have to try to capitalize right away, though, is on funding and location for a new stadium.

“The day you buy the team, your popularity is as high as it will ever be, you have to take advantage of that goodwill and get as much public funding as you can,” Phillips said.

So, if this is an audition for the on-field staff, will they stick with Sam Howell through thick and thin?

“I think Sam Howell’s job is safe for Week 1; he could have a disaster of a camp, but based on the way he practiced and played in Week 18, he’s the Week 1 starter,” Phillips said. “But, this is the NFL, where nothing is guaranteed beyond Week 1, and these guys know 9-8 won’t save their job – so I don’t think they’ll be shy to make a move if it helps give them a chance to win games.”

Will a switch be enough, though, if it has to be made?

“I have no doubt Jacoby Brissett can do the job, but my question is, in a season where they need to make the playoffs and maybe win a game to save their jobs, are either of these guys good enough to get that done?” Phillips asked.

You can listen to the whole conversation above, which also includes more thoughts on the Anacostia Park/Poplar Point site as a potential stadium site (as discussed on Grant & Danny Monday) and more!

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