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Commanders fire defensive coordinator Del Rio after Thanksgiving loss to Cowboys

The Washington Commanders have fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in the wake of their crushing Thanksgiving-day defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys extended their longest home winning run in 42 years to 13 games as they ran riot with a 45-10 victory on Thursday, condemning Washington to their third straight defeat.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott finished 22-of-32 for 331 yards and four scores, and he even celebrated the occasion by biting into a Turkey leg on the sidelines after throwing his fourth touchdown pass with just under six minutes to play.

The Cowboys’ lead stood at 20-10 going into the fourth quarter with Commanders QB Sam Howell performing admirably under heavy pressure, but the Washington defense collapsed in the fourth as Dallas finished off with 25 unanswered points.

That miserable finish led the team to make changes to their coaching staff on Friday, with Del Rio joining defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer in being removed from his role.

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Team owner Josh Harris said in a statement: “This morning, I spoke with coach [Ron] Rivera and he recommended that the team make changes at defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.

“I accepted those recommendations and want to thank Jack and Brent for their contributions to the Commanders. We wish them and their families well moving forward.”

ESPN reported that head coach Rivera was likely to take defensive play-calling duties for the rest of the season, with the Commanders defense ranking worst in the league for points allowed and 29th in yards allowed this year.

Washington have struggled in their first season under Harris’ ownership, losing eight of their last 10 games after making a 2-0 start, and he says the focus for the coming weeks is on evaluating the roster and preparing for the offseason.

“I feel exactly how our fans feel today: disappointed and frustrated,” Harris added. “It’s how our players and staff feel as well. I knew our first season of ownership would include challenges along the way, and we will not shy away from hard work, nor will we be deterred by adversity.

“As coach Rivera and I discussed, all of our energy for the remainder of the season will be focused on playing better, more consistent football and developing our players while intently evaluating the areas in which we need to improve this offseason.

“Our fans deserve a team that can complete with the NFL’s best and win sustainably over the long-term. I will not waver from that mission.

“Thank you to our fans for the ways in which you’ve breathed new life into our franchise. We have not been good enough this season, but our resolve for the future is unbroken.”

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