Washington Commanders Make Dallas Cowboys DC Dan Quinn Next Head Coach

The NFL's last head coaching vacancy has been filled. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Washington Commanders have hired Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to be their next head coach.

Quinn has coached a consistently excellent Cowboys defense since joining the franchise in 2021, leading the team to top-10 finishes in points allowed in each of the past three seasons. He was also the defensive coordinator for a legendary Seattle Seahawks defense that made consecutive Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014 while allowing the fewest points in the league in both seasons.

The Commanders hiring Quinn is somewhat surprising given NFL franchises' tendency to overcorrect following a disappointing head coach. They fired well-respected, veteran defensive mind Ron Rivera earlier this offseason after four underwhelming seasons, and Quinn cuts a very similar silhouette. Like Rivera before him, Quinn is a former head coach with Super Bowl experience getting a second chance. Quinn coached the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 to 2020, winning 43 of 85 games and three of his five playoff appearances.

For whatever reason, Quinn's success as a defensive coordinator didn't carry over to his defenses in Atlanta: they finished in the bottom half for points allowed in four of his six seasons with the team. His best years with the Falcons could mostly be attributed to the consistency of quarterback Matt Ryan, who was already an established star well before Quinn's arrival. Even in the Falcons' NFC Conference-winning 2016 season, they were primarily an offensive team: they led the league in scoring with an incredible 33.8 points per game.

In Washington, Quinn won't have the benefit of an established offensive infrastructure to keep his head above water: miserable play on offense and defense by the Commanders resulted in an NFL-worst -189 point differential this past season. If the Commanders are going to be relevant any time soon, Quinn will need to build the roster from the ground up, starting in this year's draft.

Photo Credit: © Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports