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Five takeaways from Adam Peters' combine press conference

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Washington Commanders general manager Adam Peters addressed the media at the 2023 scouting combine earlier today. Here are five takeaways from his press conference.

1. No decision at quarterback yet.

The Commanders have an important decision to make at the quarterback position. They could stick with Sam Howell, who started the 2023 season, sign a veteran or take one with the No. 2 overall pick.

Certainly, there have been conversations about the position -- Peters and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury have discussed the qualities that he values in quarterbacks -- but as of now, no decision has been made about who will be under center for 2024.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Peters said.

Peters admitted the obvious when he said that it's difficult to evaluate quarterbacks. While it's easier to see whether players like Nick Bosa are talented based solely on film, quarterbacks are more nuanced because they affect so many parts of the offense.

Peters joked that if he had the answer to finding the perfect prospect, he would probably be retired by now. The only thing he can do is learn through trial and error.

"You learn more and more every time you do it," Peters said. "You just try to get better and understand what you did the last time that was really good and what you did last time that was really bad."

Peters didn't say much about the possibility of drafting a quarterback, but he did have praise for Howell, saying that the team is excited about his skill set. Regardless of what they do, Peters wants to have good competition in the room to help make the best team.

2. The staff has started laying out what they look for in players.

As much as the team and fanbase wants the Commanders to have immediate answers for how to recalibrate the roster, the truth is that there are several steps before they have a clear vision of what they want. The good news is that the process is starting to pick up steam.

Peters informed the media that the staff met with the scouting department last week to give them "profile tapes," which helps to provide the scouts with clear directions on what the staff is looking for at each position. The coaching staff also gave comprehensive presentations laying out specific qualities that will work best in their schemes.

"That was new for all of us including me," Peters said. "Because I haven't worked with most of these coaches, so understanding what [Commanders defensive coordinator] Joe Whitt looks for on defense, what Kliff looks for on offense and all the different positions."

Peters said that experience helped him learn how the staff can effectively communicate through those profile tapes, but the best way is still to watch them in the meeting rooms, in person.

"I'm really confident in our ability to do that," Peters said.

3. People evaluating people.

Finding talented players is always an important part of scouting, but Peters said that isn't normally what people miss on. Instead, it's learning how players tick and whether they fit into the culture. That's why the interview portion of the combine is so important.

"That's a huge part of...any position, is getting to know the person," Peters said.

Peters is looking at several factors of a player's personality to determine whether they are right for the team he and head coach Dan Quinn are trying to build. He wants to see how they would fit in the locker room and if they can add something to the team, both on and off the field.

That process will begin in earnest starting today. The defensive line and linebackers are the first up on the schedule. They will be followed by defensive backs and tight ends until each team has had time with every position group.

4. Lance Newmark's skill set is "immense."

The Commanders continued to add to their front office on Valentine's Day by hiring Lance Newmark, who had been with the Detroit Lions for most of his career, as their assistant general manager. He and Peters had never worked before, but Peters is aware of how impressive Newmark has been in his work with the Lions.

"His skill set is immense," Peters said. "He's an excellent player evaluator."

Prior to being named the senior director of player personnel in 2022, Newmark served as the director of player personnel for five seasons (2016-21). He also held the roles of director of college scouting (2015-16), assistant director of college scouting (2008-14), national scout (2005-07) and area scout (1999-2004). His first season in Detroit was in 1998 where he assisted the player personnel department with various scouting assignments during the season and in preparation for the 1999 NFL Draft.

Beyond just providing insight on players, Newmark has been a "north star" for Peters, both in the NFL and in life.

"Having him in the building, I couldn't be happier and really excited to work with him," Peters said. "I don't think people really know how good he is. He's gotten a lot more notoriety with Detroit's success, and rightfully so. They've done an excellent job, but he's been a big part of that."

5. He's loving the energy in the building.

The Commanders are going through change in almost every aspect of their football operations, and that can understandably create some growing pains as everyone gets adjusted to working together.

That's not the way Peters sees it, though.

"I look at it as more exciting," he said. "It's a lot of fun. I've done it a few times now, and with all the new people, you get a chance to learn how people work."

Quinn put together a staff that has earned praise, but as Peters alluded earlier in his press conference, he hadn't worked with most of them. It's going to take time to get to know all of them, and they are just getting started in that process with the staff being announced almost two weeks ago.

With that said, everything is going smoothly for Peters and the Commanders so far.

"It's a great energy in the building right now," Peters said. "It's awesome. It's really fun walking around. Coaches, personnel, we all got together and we did a lot of cool things ... It's been a lot of fun.

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