Commanders Notes: Izzo, Norton, Pagano

The Commanders have landed on their new special teams coordinator. Ben Standig of The Athletic reported last week that the team has hired Larry Izzo as their new ST coordinator.

Izzo earned three Super Bowl rings and three Pro Bowl nods as a special teams ace in New England, and he caught on to the coaching ranks shortly after retiring. He had a two-year stint as special teams coordinator with the Texans before joining the Seahawks staff in 2018.

He spent the past six seasons in Seattle, half of which he served as the team’s special teams coordinator. Izzo’s units ranked top-10 in FTN’s DVOA (subscription required) during each of his three seasons at the helm.

With Pete Carroll out in Seattle, his staff was free to seek jobs elsewhere. Izzo was a hot name in this hiring cycle, and he’s ultimately landed with Dan Quinn’s staff in Washington.

More coaching notes out of Washington…

  • As Joe Whitt Jr. prepares for his first defensive coordinator job, he’s adding some experience to his defensive staff. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Commanders have hired Ken Norton Jr. as their new linebackers coach. The former Cowboys and 49ers star had a three-year stint as the Raiders defensive coordinator before spending four years leading the Seahawks defense. After getting fired by Seattle following the 2021 campaign, he caught on as UCLA’s DC.
  • Elsewhere on defense, the Commanders are adding John Pagano in an unknown role (via Benjamin Allbright of KOA in Colorado) and Jason Simmons as their defensive pass-game coordinator (via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). Pagano previously served as the Chargers and Raiders defensive coordinator, and he most recently spent time as the Broncos outside linebackers coach. Simmons spent almost a decade on the Packers coaching staff before recently serving as the Panthers and Raiders pass-game coordinators. Simmons was rumored to be joining Washington’s staff following Whitt’s hiring.
  • On the offensive side of the ball, the Commanders are hiring Bobby Johnson as their offensive line coach, per Pelissero. The veteran coach has spent more than a decade guiding tight ends and offensive linemen, including the past two as the Giants OLs coach. The Commanders will also be retaining Tavita Pritchard as their quarterbacks coach, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. Pritchard garnered interest from other teams, but the Commanders pushed to keep him after he impressed in meetings with Quinn and new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Jhabvala passes along a handful of Commanders coaches who won’t be returning in 2024: tight ends coach Todd Storm, run game coordinator Juan Castillo, offensive line coach Travelle Wharton, and senior defensive assistant/safeties coach Richard Rodgers.
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