Latest On Commanders’ Dan Quinn Hire

For much of the Commanders’ head coaching search, Lions OC Ben Johnson appeared to be in pole position for the gig. After he bowed out of the running, Mike Macdonald and Dan Quinn remained as the favorites, and it was the latter who was formally hired earlier this month.

Quinn is now in place for his second head coaching opportunity after a three-year run as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. Further details on the hiring process have emerged, courtesy of a detailed piece from ESPN’s John Keim. Among the key takeaways is his report that Quinn was never considered a “Plan B” option for owner Josh Harris and the committee he assembled to find general manager Adam Peters and the team’s new coach.

That comes in the wake of serious interest shown by Washington in Macdonald, who turned a successful two-year stint as the Ravens’ DC into the head coaching position with the Seahawks. Multiple reports have stated the Commanders offered their HC spot to Macdonald before he ultimately joined Seattle on a six-year deal. Still, Peters has expressed confidence in Quinn’s candidacy irrespective of the other candidates looked at during the team’s lengthy search.

“Every time we spoke with Dan, it became more and more clear that he was the guy,” Peters said. “Both times it was like we were speaking the same language. It was really, really cool, had a great connection, had a great shared vision, so it was almost right away that I knew Dan would be a great coach for us.”

As Keim notes, Quinn received more votes of confidence from people outside the Commanders’ search committee than any other candidate. The 53-year-old has spent all but two seasons as a coach at the NFL level since 2001, earning a strong reputation as a defensive mind and leader along the way. He was viewed as being in the same tier for coaching options as Johnson, Keim notes, though the former ultimately received the highest score in the Commanders’ evaluation.

While those factors alone were obviously not the only ones informing Harris’ decision, they underscore how well-regarded Quinn was in the build-up to his hire. He will be tasked with replacing Ron Rivera and overseeing a rebuilding effort after Washington posted a 4-13 record in 2023. Given the nature of his arrival in the nation’s capital, it would not come as a surprise if he received a long leash as part of that process.

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