Assessing the Washington Commanders’ New Head Coach: Reigniting NFC East Competition

The Washington Commanders have replaced former head coach Ron Rivera with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn, who has previous head coaching experience with the Atlanta Falcons and even took the Dirty Birds to the Super Bowl (where they blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots), made significant improvements to the Cowboys defense during his tenure.

Quinn had ties with the Seattle Seahawks, as he served as their defensive coordinator during the Legion of Boom era, in which Seattle won a Super Bowl. However, the Seahawks instead hired Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who now becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL.

With Washington, Quinn will inherit a team which picks second in the 2024 NFL Draft. While most pundits assume the Commanders will take a quarterback, they could also use some upgrades at the skill positions and on defense, where Quinn excels. The first order or business for Quinn will be forming a coaching staff. It’s unclear if that will include Eric Bieniemy.

Quinn deserved another chance as a head coach, especially considering he had moderate success in Atlanta his first time around. While his tenure with the Falcons ended badly — Quinn was fired midseason — he did win an NFC Championship with Atlanta.

The Commanders new ownership group is looking to make a big splash. Quinn isn’t that kind of hire, but Washington can still make the right additions in free agency and the NFL Draft — where they can land a new face of the franchise — to accomplish their ultimate goal.

It’s been awhile since Washington has had a consistent winner. Dan Snyder tainted the franchise for years. Now with Josh Harris in charge, the Commanders have a chance to change the narrative. Hiring the Cowboys defensive coordinator is a good start, and should re-energize a rivalry that has looked relatively one-sided in recent years.

Grading to Commanders hire: B

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