Adam Peters takes over as Commanders GM. His first task is to hire a coach

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Adam Peters is already at work trying to find the next Washington Commanders coach, the first task for the team's new general manager in what he believes is “not a total rebuild.”

A group led by Peters and controlling owner Josh Harris is expected to hire a replacement for Ron Rivera within the next few weeks. Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Baltimore Ravens assistant coach Mike Macdonald are among the likeliest candidates.

“This is something we dove into headfirst as soon as I was hired,” Peters said Tuesday at his introductory news conference, adding that he's looking for a good communicator who can be honest, direct and upfront.

“We’re looking for the best leader for this team. We have set criteria that we’re going to be aligned in that vision.”

Harris, who isolated Peters as the right fit to run Washington's football operations, cited the need for football intelligence and a coach who can attract a strong staff.

“I think IQ matters,” Harris said. “I think it matters increasingly. All of those things will be important, but ultimately (we are looking for) a partner where the three of us can be aligned.”

The ability to hire a new coach and mold an entire front office attracted Peters, 44, to the Commanders after seven years with the San Francisco 49ers. Armed with a five-year deal, he'll be able to put his stamp on the organization, from the decision of who plays quarterback to what to do with the second pick in the draft.

Asked about all those things, Peters kept coming back to the same premise: “We still have to hire the head coach.”

As for the roster of players that went 4-13, including eight consecutive losses to finish the season, Peters said he thinks there are “a few cornerstone pieces” around but acknowledged there's a lot of work to do. It does not sound as if he'll do a complete housecleaning of the front office.

"This is a wonderful group of people here that just needs leadership,” Peters said. “I don’t think there’s wholesale changes needed."

The opportunity for wholesale changes exists, though, with the most salary cap space of any NFL team and nine draft picks to use. Peters expects the Commanders to be “process-driven and diligent in free agency” but ultimately build through the draft.

“We’re going to build this team the right way: We’re going to build it with a great process and a clear vision,” he said. “The foundation and the resources that this ownership group has given us is all we need, and it’s my job to execute that vision now.”