[O]ne of his best qualities is being able to connect with players, provide leadership and build a strong culture. Those are also some of the qualities general manager Adam Peters and Managing Partner Josh Harris said they valued in a head coach.
“Leadership, great communication, being able to be honest, direct and up front...and they’re all intertwined,” Peters said. “You have to be very smart, you have to be very driven. There’s so many different qualities that make up a great head coach and a great leader, but really, it’s just about being a great person, a great human being that people will follow.”
After playing football at the Division 3 level at Salisbury University (previously Salisbury State University), Quinn coached at William & Mary, Virginia Military Institute and Hofstra before joining the 49ers as a defensive quality control coach. He was then promoted to the team’s defensive line coach — a position he held for two seasons before moving on to the Dolphins in the same role. He stayed with the team for another two seasons before moving on to the Jets and later the Seahawks, where he was given an assistant head coach title along with being the team’s defensive line coach.
Quinn was named the Falcons’ head coach the day after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win, and after a season of taking the team to an 8-8 record, he led them to a Super Bowl appearance.
Now with a second head coaching opportunity, Quinn takes over a team in tandem with Adam Peters that has the No. 2 overall pick, available cap space to reshape the roster and nine total picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
WHO: Head coach Dan Quinn, Managing Partner Josh Harris and general manager Adam Peters
WHAT: Introductory press conference
WHEN: Monday, Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m.
The Commanders will also stream Quinn’s press conference on their website and app.
The Athletic (paywall)
Kliff Kingsbury withdraws from Raiders offensive coordinator search and is in play with the Commanders
Kingsbury potentially joining the Washington Commanders is something to monitor, a league source told The Athletic. With the No. 2 pick in the draft, the Commanders have a clearer shot at drafting a top quarterback than the Raiders do at No. 13.
Kingsbury, who coached Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M and Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, worked with Caleb Williams last season at USC.
And you thought the Commanders had their fill of coaching hire drama this year.
Similar to the head coach exploration that landed on Cowboys DC Dan Quinn after weeks of speculation that the job would go to Detroit OC Ben Johnson, Washington is weighing options with the offensive coordinator scenario.
Kingsbury would provide added fodder to the off-season buzz. Washington is likely to draft a quarterback with the No. 2 selection to compete with or supplant incumbent Sam Howell. Williams is a possibility either by remaining on the board or the Commanders trading with the Bears for the first pick. North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels are in play for top three selections.
Washington OC Eric Bieniemy has one year remaining on his contract. Though interviewed for the head coach job, the coordinator does not appear in consideration to remain in that role.
Other rumored candidates include UCLA’s Kelly, Cowboys OC Brian Schottenheimer and former Eagles OC Brian Johnson. 49ers QB coach Brian Griese, Lions passing game coordinator Tanner Engstrand and 49ers TE coach Brian Fleury are among other possible targets.
Washington Post (paywall)
Cowboys’ Joe Whitt Jr. is front-runner at defensive coordinator
In April, after being fired by Arizona with a record of 28-37-1, Kingsbury joined USC to help mentor Caleb Williams, projected to be a top pick in this year’s NFL draft. If Washington hires Kingsbury, it will fuel speculation the Commanders could trade up with the Chicago Bears to select the D.C. native.
Kingsbury runs a spread offense derived from the Air Raid, a pass-heavy scheme based out of the shotgun. But he calls runs at a higher rate than Bieniemy did last season.
A former quarterback at Texas Tech, Kingsbury excelled in the Air Raid from 1998 to 2002. The New England Patriots drafted him in the sixth round in 2003, and he became a journeyman backup in the NFL and the Canadian Football League until he retired in 2007. The next year, he joined Houston as an offensive quality control coach and began ascending the coaching ladder.
Washington officially hired Dan Quinn as its head coach Saturday. Eric Bieniemy has one year left on his contract as the Commanders’ offensive coordinator, but Washington has a list of coaches it has interest in for the position.
They have shown some level of interest in UCLA coach Chip Kelly and possibly San Francisco tight ends coach Brian Fleury, among others. 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese has drawn praise for his work with Brock Purdy. Griese interviewed for New Orleans’ offensive coordinator position.
Washington general manager Adam Peters, who worked for the 49ers from 2017 until joining the Commanders last month, would have insight into both Fleury and Griese.
Kingsbury, 44, also interviewed with Chicago for its offensive coordinator opening, but the Bears instead hired Shane Waldron. Kelly also interviewed for that job. Fleury interviewed with New England for its offensive coordinator position, which eventually went to Alex Van Pelt.
This past fall, Kingsbury was USC’s quarterbacks coach and senior offensive analyst, working directly with the projected No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Caleb Williams.
Kingsbury’s experience working with young quarterbacks would appeal to Washington, which owns the No. 2 pick and will strongly consider drafting a quarterback. He drafted Kyler Murray when he coached Arizona and, as head coach at Texas Tech, he worked with Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield.
Washington also has Sam Howell, who has started the past 18 games for the Commanders and will be entering his third season.
Washington Post (paywall)
Washington’s new leadership group is coming into focus. This week, General Manager Adam Peters hired a new head coach, Dan Quinn, and debuted as the team’s top personnel boss during the week leading up to Saturday’s Senior Bowl, a college all-star game that marks the unofficial start of NFL draft season.
Peters attended practice Wednesday and Thursday and led a front-office contingent that included former general manager Martin Mayhew, who is expected to remain with the team under a different title. (Peters and Mayhew worked together on the San Francisco 49ers from 2017 to 2020.) Notably absent was Marty Hurney, executive vice president of football and player personnel, whose role with the club is unclear.
Others in attendance: senior director of player personnel Eric Stokes, director of college personnel Tim Gribble and the college scouting staff.
Several scouts and personnel executives with other teams praised Peters and predicted he and Quinn should be able to turn the franchise around.
The race is on to land an offensive coordinator. This will be Quinn’s biggest hire, and whoever he chooses will probably be tasked with developing a quarterback selected with the No. 2 pick. But it’s a competitive market. Eleven teams have already hired an offensive coordinator this offseason, and four still have vacancies: Washington, the Seattle Seahawks, the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Peters has a history of targeting players from the Senior Bowl. He was in San Francisco’s front office for seven drafts, and across the first two, the 49ers used just two of 19 picks on prospects from the Senior Bowl. In 2019, the 49ers’ staff coached at the Senior Bowl and used three of the team’s eight choices on players who had been in Mobile, including a second rounder on wide receiver Deebo Samuel. In the next four drafts, San Francisco used 18 of its 31 picks — a whopping 58 percent — on Senior Bowl alums.
The reason for the uptick is unclear. Coaching at the Senior Bowl could have helped the 49ers value it more. Or perhaps as they became a perennial Super Bowl contender, the front office prioritized older, more polished players who could contribute right away.
Brian Johnson, Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator in 2023, is expected to interview with Washington for [offensive coordinator].
This news isn’t likely to excite Washington fans, and for good reason. Johnson, 36, was with the Eagles for the past three seasons and received a promotion to OC last season after Shane Steichen left to take over as head coach of the Colts.
Philadelphia’s offense and quarterback Jalen Hurts took several steps backward in 2023 under Johnson’s leadership.
A former college quarterback at Utah, Johnson began his coaching career in 2010 at his alma mater.
Podcasts & videos
It’s OFFICIAL! Dan Quinn is In as Commanders Head Coach | Command Center | Washington Commanders
NFC East links
Bleeding Green Nation
For the third year in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles will have a new defensive backs coach.
D.K. McDonald is leaving Philly to become the Kansas Jayhawks’ new co-defensive coordinator and DBs coach, according to a report from Bruce Feldman.
It’s not perfectly clear if McDonald was fired or his contract expired. In either case, the Eagles were seemingly not interested in having him back for 2024.
McDonald’s departure is especially notable considering his close relationship with Nick Sirianni. McDonald was a groomsman in Sirianni’s wedding.
McDonald originally joined the Eagles as an assistant defensive backs coach in 2021. He was then promoted to defensive backs coach after Sirianni reportedly fired Dennard Wilson last year.
Blogging the Boys
It’s hard to know what someone like Rivera would do with this Cowboys team. Quinn’s shoes are going to be hard to fill. Rivera does bring a lot of experience and he specializes in the one area where the Cowboys defense needs the most help. That alone is something.
If the Cowboys did roll with Ron Rivera as their new DC, at least we could say that their LB group is likely to improve. He's an LB whisperer with an impressive collection of All-Pro students.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) February 3, 2024
Jeremiah Trotter (PHI)
Brian Urlacher (CHI)
Luke Kuechly (CAR)
Thomas Davis (CAR)
Big Blue View
Which players generated momentum at the Senior Bowl?
The practices preceding the Reese’s Senior Bowl are always one of the highlights of the Draft process.
They’re a fantastic opportunity to see some of the top prospects from around the country on the field together, while getting actual NFL coaching. Every year there are players who take advantage of the opportunity and start their climb of draft boards.
Let’s take a look at some of the players who stood out the most.
Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
Rattler was one of the players with the most to gain from his opportunity this week, and he seemingly made a good impression. Each of the quarterbacks had their share of good plays, and Rattler certainly showed off the physical traits that once made him considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner. But nobody has ever really doubted Spencer Rattler’s mobility or arm talent. What Rattler really needed to show was consistency and he did that.
Christian Haynes (G, UConn)
Giants fans might roll their eyes at a relatively unheralded offensive line prospect from a bad UConn offense, but Haynes had himself a week. He showed off all the mobility and play strength we saw on tape at UConn, and held up against whoever went against him.
Haynes not only held his own against the SEC tackles, but finished those reps with authority and the kind of nastiness you love to see from a guard. He seemed to live under the skin of the defenders who went against him.
NFL league links
Could the 2025 QB class impact how many passers go in Round 1 this year?
The 1983 NFL draft will long reverberate in draft lore for its record six first-round quarterbacks, bookended by John Elway at No. 1 overall and Dan Marino at No. 27. Could that record finally have some company?
There are six quarterbacks who have a chance to get picked on Day 1 this year. USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and UNC’s Drake Maye all seem destined for the top five, while the next tier consists of three possible first-rounders in Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. McCarthy, fresh off a national championship with a 27-1 record as a starter, appears to be a first-round lock. Both Penix and Nix — who had up-and-down weeks at the Senior Bowl — are coming off prolific college seasons; Penix led college football in passing yards with 4,903, while Nix was second at 4,508.
But there’s also a tailwind that could impact where these signal-callers are picked. The 2025 quarterback crop, at this stage, looks poor in terms of depth. Georgia’s Carson Beck, Texas’ Quinn Ewers and Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders are the early headliners, and then there’s a drop-off in proven contenders.
“It won’t be anything close to this year,” said a veteran NFL scout.
Another scout said, “There’s no sure-thing sophomore quarterback. There’s always a riser or a one-year wonder, so it may not be that bad.”
The sophomore class point is interesting. ESPN’s top five quarterbacks in that 2022 recruiting class — Texas A&M’s Conner Weigman (No. 27-ranked recruit), Clemson’s Cade Klubnik (No. 29), Alabama’s Ty Simpson (No. 34), Ole Miss’ Walker Howard (No. 42) and Penn State’s Drew Allar (No. 51) — have yet to establish themselves as no-brainer early draft picks. Weigman and Allar have put together the strongest college careers of the bunch, but they need a lot more high-end tape before entering the first-round conversation. (On the riser front, I wonder if South Florida’s Byrum Brown will make a leap.)
Could that have an impact on executives’ thinking this year? If a solid quarterback is available in the mid-to-late parts of Round 1, could he get picked partially because there might not be a comparable quarterback in a comparable spot next year?
“Smart teams look ahead to next year’s class to assess this year’s decision,” said a front office executive. — Thamel
Pro Football Talk
Sweat told NFL.com that he was “definitely discouraged” by being traded after opening his fifth season with 6.5 sacks in eight games for the Commanders. He got more encouragement from the four-year, $98 million contract extension he signed days after the trade, however, and posted six more sacks in his first nine games with his new team.
“Yeah, just like any athlete who wants to get paid and get that money secured, it was a big relief,” Sweat said. “I think it allowed me to play more free and more loose.”