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Dan Quinn named Washington Commanders' 31st head coach

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A new era in the Washington Commanders' history has begun.

Former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who helped direct one of the league's best defenses in 2023, has been named the Commanders' 31st head coach in franchise history.

"My partners and I entered this offseason intent on hiring elite candidates to shape the next chapter of Commanders football and I believe we did just that -- first with Adam Peters and now by welcoming the highly respected Dan Quinn as our head coach," Josh Harris, Managing Partner of the Washington Commanders, said. "Dan has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the NFL's top defensive minds, building tough, explosive and dynamic teams that compete hard. But most importantly, he is an incredible leader who brings out the best in his players, coaches and staff. We heard that from everyone we spoke to throughout this process, and it was reaffirmed when we discussed with Dan our shared vision for building a winning franchise. By adding such a respected, accomplished and determined leader as head coach, we've taken another important step in our mission of delivering a championship-caliber team to our fans. I'm incredibly excited for our future and to welcome Dan and his wife Stacey to the Commanders family."

Quinn, who was named the Cowboys' defensive coordinator in 2021, brings decades of coaching experience, most of which comes at the NFL level. He's spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks. He was also the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for six seasons, helping the franchise reach a Super Bowl following the 2016 season.

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to become the next head coach of such a storied franchise and fanbase," said Quinn. "Under the leadership of Josh Harris, the ownership group, and Adam Peters, we cannot wait to help usher in a new era of Washington Commanders football. The organization has an outstanding vision, and I'm honored to be a part of what's next.

"I want to thank Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Coach Mike McCarthy, and the entire Dallas Cowboys organization for the past three seasons. The players, coaching staff, and everyone across the organization became family in such a short time. We have a great task ahead of us, but the ownership group, Adam, and I are lockstep in putting in the work to achieve our goal: consistently competing for Super Bowls year in and year out."

Quinn comes to Washington with a defensive background, and he has a history of putting together some of the most impressive units in the league. He was the defensive coordinator during the Seahawks' most successful stint in recent memory, leading the "Legion of Boom," which led the league in points allowed, yards allowed and takeaways, becoming the first team to do so since the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Quinn also played a vital role in turning around a Cowboys defense that gave up 29.6 points per game in 2020. In the time that he was the Cowboys' defensive coordinator, the defense finished top 10 in points allowed, ranking fifth during the 2023 season. The Cowboys were also fifth in total yards allowed and tied for 12th in turnovers. He was named Assistant Coach of the Year by The Associated Press in 2021.

But one 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 moved to the collegiate level and served as the Gators' defensive coordinator in 2011. In the two seasons he was with the program, the team had a top 10 finish in total defense, allowing 299.5 yards per game.

Quinn returned to the Seahawks in 2013, this time as their defensive coordinator and orchestrated one of the best defenses in league history. The Seahawks had 63 turnovers in that two-year span, including a league-leading 39 in 2013. They also led the league with the fewest yards allowed (270.4), points allowed (15.2) and passing yards allowed (178.8).

The 2013 season culminated with the Seahawks cruising to a 48-3 Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos, which boasted the NFL's best offense that season and one of the best in league history.

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. The Falcons were led by an exceptional offense, fueled by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, that finished second in yards, first in points, fifth in rushing yards, third in passing yards, second in passing touchdowns and tied for fourth in rushing yards per game.

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.

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