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Washington Commanders: New Season, New Identity

With the 2023 professional football season approaching, the Washington Commanders hope to turn their luck around with the help of new leadership and talent.

Josh Harris speaks to Commanders fans and press at FedEx Field in Landover, MD. (Kourtney Caroll/Washington Commanders)

On the brink of an exciting new football season, the Washington Commanders are looking to turn last season’s misfortune around and become contenders.

During the 2022 season, the Commanders came into the year with a new name. Now, under new ownership, they are looking to start off by making a good impression on the fans. At the head of this new ownership group, as majority owner, is D.C. native, Josh Harris, who claims he will bring a change of culture.

During the opening conference, Harris told reporters, “We’re focused on changing the culture. It’s about creating a management team that doesn’t look the same. It’s about zero tolerance [for] ethically challenged behavior. When you own a sports team in a city, everyone looks at what you do. Everyone who works at the team … they’re a reflection on [the fans]. It’s all about culture. We’re very intentional about culture.”

Last season, the Commanders finished with an 8-8-1 record, finishing last in the National Football Conference (NFC) East. Under the Harris regime, the Commanders hope to improve with additions like Emmanuel Forbes, a first-round rookie cornerback from Mississippi State University, and Jartavius Martin, a second-round safety from Illinois. Attacking the secondary was a clear priority in the draft, so the Commanders come into the season hoping that their first and second-round additions can help improve their 22nd-ranked secondary.

One person still standing from the previous ownership group’s organization is Ron Rivera, head coach of the Commanders, who said himself that he has a lot to prove to Harris and the company. 

“I’ve got a lot to prove because I really do think we’ve put ourselves in a really good position,” Rivera said Tuesday at his annual camp-opening news conference.

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“We’re a good, young football team with some key veterans at key positions, and now is the opportunity to go. And, yeah, I do feel that I do want to prove some stuff,” Harris said. Rivera’s job could be on the line if the team doesn’t perform as expected. Heading into his third year, Rivera will be pulling all the tricks from his playbook in hopes of saving his job.

Commanders fans, like Howard student and D.C. native Eric Miller, are excited about the potential the team shows this season. “I think this year can be different from all the others,” Miller said. “If we play our cards right there’s no doubt in my mind that we can win the division and do well in the playoffs.” 

Copy edited by Whitney Meritus


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