Of Course the Commanders Are the Last Team to Get a Coach

Washington is in a league of its own, in a bad way

A Washington Commanders helmet on the field.
The Washington Commanders are still a rudderless ship.
Rich Schultz/Getty

It’s a week before the Super Bowl. Do you know who your football coach is? Fans of Washington’s NFL franchise can finally say yes as Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is leaving Dallas for the Commanders.

Unfortunately for supporters of the Commanders, they’re the last fans in the NFL to be able to give that response as Washington is the final franchise out of 32 to ink a head coach despite their season ending about a month ago and the team being eliminated from playoff contention long before that. It was also an open secret throughout the season that lame-duck Commanders coach Ron Rivera would not be back with the team as he was a holdover from the Daniel Snyder era and new owner Josh Harris wanted to make a change at the top of the team’s coaching depth chart.

When Harris hired Adam Peters away from the 49ers to serve as the Commanders’ general manager after the 44-year-old spent seven years with San Francisco, Washington’s new executive said at his introductory press conference that his top priority was finding a coach to help turn around a program that has gone 26-40-1 over the past four seasons.

“This is something we dove into headfirst as soon as I was hired,” he said. “We’re looking for the best leader for this team. We have set criteria that we’re going to be aligned in that vision.” He added that those criteria included bringing on a good communicator who can be honest, direct and upfront.

Apparently, that’s Quinn, who was one of the last remaining candidates for the job after interviewees for the position including Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Houston offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald all spurned Washington.

Given how long it took Peters, who signed his five-year contract in mid-January, to sign a coach and the number of candidates who didn’t want the job, Quinn’s hiring seems like somewhat of a desperation move.

Dallas’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, a period during which the Cowboys led the NFL with 93 forced turnovers, Quinn does have a good deal of experience as a head coach. The play-caller for Seattle’s legendary Legion of Boom secondary in the early 2010s, Quinn took over as the head coach of the Falcons in 2015 and compiled a 43-42 record in five-plus seasons in Atlanta. One of those seasons ended with a loss in the Super Bowl when the Falcons lost in overtime after allowing the Patriots to come back from a 28-3 deficit.

Now, the coach who was on the wrong side of that historic loss is tasked with fixing a team that doesn’t have a quarterback but does have the No. 2 pick in April’s draft. It seems curious that Peters went with a defensive-minded coach like Quinn to fix Washington’s quarterback problem, but hopefully, that was discussed during the interview process. At least, at long last, Washington’s NFL team has a head coach.

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