NFL Rumors: Commanders’ next choice after Ben Johnson likely coming from rival

The Commanders will have to pivot after Ben Johnson decided to stay with the Lions.

Detroit Lions, Ben Johnson
Detroit Lions, Ben Johnson / Rey Del Rio/GettyImages

Perhaps no name has been more coveted by NFL teams as a potential 2024 offseason head coaching hire than Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. The 37-year-old has established himself as one of the most innovative minds on the offensive side of the ball, having played a crucial role in leading the Lions within a doorstep of their first Super Bowl.

Among the teams heavily interested in Johnson, the Washington Commanders courted Johnson as a refreshing departure from their previous head coach, the far less innovative defensive veteran Ron Rivera. Johnson could have been a major upgrade and seemed one step out the door after Detroit's heartbreaking postseason exit, but the offensive coordinator decided to stay loyal to the Lions in the end.

Now the Commanders are looking for a backup plan, and they seem to be zeroing in on a familiar name, though it may be one met with chagrin by Washington supporters. Per ESPN's John Keim, there have been more "glowing" remarks made about Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn than about any other head coaching candidate.

Dan Quinn would be an underwhelming option for the Commanders

Famous for his tenure as the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator during their unstoppable Legion of Boom days, Quinn parlayed that success into the Atlanta Falcons head coaching gig. Quinn made the playoffs twice, including a Super Bowl appearance in which the Falcons would have nabbed a ring, had it not been for a historic Tom Brady comeback. He was never worse than 7-9 in a given season, though he surely would have been in 2020 if the Falcons gave him more time after a ghastly 0-5 record.

Although Quinn was a great defensive coordinator in Seattle, Dallas Cowboys fans don't have a rosy view right now. While the Cowboys were fifth in the NFL in points and yards allowed during the regular season, they collapsed woefully in the end, needing Dak Prescott to carry them to wins in the NFC East battle. In the end, even Prescott couldn't save Dallas from a defensive-induced demise to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.

While there are worse hires available than Quinn, his head coaching experience isn't as impressive as one singular Super Bowl appearance seems to indicate, given a lot of that success was out of his hands on the offensive side of the ball. Quinn is indeed a candidate, but for him to be the new top candidate for the Commanders is not a good sign for fans.

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