At the end of each NFL season, a game of musical chairs occurs. Out with the old and in with the new, coaches are unceremoniously replaced with new, fresh faces or well-respected retreads. Following the 2023 season, the Washington Commanders seemed poised to make a big splash in the coaching market. They currently hold the second overall pick in the draft and some extra draft capital after trading away players from their defensive front. It seemed all but written in stone that the hire would be a young offensive mind.
Then, like a homely girl in high school, they were jilted by several young, offensive minds. The top two options, Bobby Slowick and Ben Johnson, both withdrew their names from consideration after multiple interviews with the team. They both chose to return to their current teams as offensive coordinators.
This opened the door for former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. In this article, we will examine the fantasy impacts of Quinn and his OC, Kliff Kingsbury, on the Commanders and their players. Without further ado, let us dive into the new Commander in D.C.
Despite his appearance, Quinn is one of the few coaches to never play in either the NFL or major college football. The new head man in the nation’s capital instead spent his time in college as a defensive lineman at D-III Salisbury State, now Salisbury University. I received my Master’s Degree from Salisbury and can assure you that while it is a lovely school, it is far from a football mecca. Quinn jumped into coaching after finishing his time on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
He spent years with several teams in the college and NFL ranks as a defensive line coach before the Seahawks named him the assistant head coach and defensive line coach on Jim Mora’s staff. Quinn then jumped back to the NCAA as the Defensive Coordinator of the Florida Gators. Then, in 2013, The Seahawks and Head Coach Pete Carroll gave him his big break by naming him DC.
As the DC in Seattle, Quinn was the head boss of the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks had a dominant defensive unit during Quinn’s two-year run, reaching the Super Bowl in both years, including a 43-8 domination of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. During their championship season, the Seahawks defense pulled off the rare trifecta of leading the NFL in the fewest yards and points while also leading in takeaways. In short, they were a historically great defensive on par with the 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens, and 2002 Buccaneers. Quinn parlayed his success as the head defensive boss in Seattle into a shot as the Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Head Coaching Run
Dan Quinn took over the Falcons head job in 2015 and spent six seasons in Atlanta. During that time, he experienced extreme highs and lows, sometimes all in the same game. Behind the efforts of Quinn and his league MVP Quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons reached the Super Bowl following the 2016 season, only to blow the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. After being up 28-3, the Falcons famously choked away a massive lead and lost the game in mind-blowing fashion.
While Quinn is an unquestioned fantastic defensive coordinator, having coached incredible units in Seattle and Dallas, his defenses in Atlanta never reached the same levels. Nonetheless, he should be a boost to the Commander’s defensive unit. He will bring his aggressive variant of the 4-3 defense to D.C. For our purposes in dynasty fantasy football, much of the impact of the Quinn hire will fall on his pick for offensive coordinator.
After securing the job, Quinn has tapped Kingsbury to become his new offensive boss. This is a perfect situation for an offensive coach, as he will be given near autonomy over the offensive side of the ball. Kingsbury runs an uptempo scheme that is theoretically heavy on the passing side of things. The nice part about the Commanders is that there is some talent to be found on the offensive side of the ball for Kliff to work with. We will now highlight some of the more important offensive players.
QB: 1.02 Rookie
The Washington Commanders seem destined to draft a quarterback with the second overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Whomever the Commanders select, D.C. isn’t as bad as some situations for rookie signal callers. One of Drake Maye, Caleb Williams, or Jayden Daniels will likely run the show in the nation’s capital after the draft.
Kingsbury is an offensive aficionado who has done some nice things working with quarterbacks in the college and the NFL. In particular his work with Patrick Mahomes in college and Kyler Murray in the NFL. His pass-heavy scheme will likely make his new signal caller a very nice fantasy asset moving forward.
RB: Brian Robinson Jr., Chris Rodriguez Jr.
Robinson has been a nice running back since the Commanders selected him out of Alabama in the third round of the 2022 draft. Robinson has yet to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark, but he has run for over 700 yards in both seasons. He even showed some decent chops this past year in the passing game. Robinson had over 1,000 total yards and nine TDs. It is quite possible that Robinson could be replaced or, at a minimum, forced to fight for his job with the new staff taking over. But with the ability to make plays in both the running and receiving game, he should benefit from the new offensive additions in both the coaching booth and under center.
LIKE THIS TWEET IF HERE— Dead President Picks (@DeadPresPicks) November 12, 2023
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BRIAN ROBINSON JR FIRST TD +1500 BANG✅🔐
Rodriguez is the only other runner of note on the Commander’s roster. Antonio Gibson is a free agent. I fully anticipate the team bringing serious competition to the backfield to help their new franchise quarterback. Rodriguez could well carve out a role as a pass-catching specialist with the juice to contribute some in the running game.
What a touchdown for Chris Rodriguez Jr. and the Washington Commanders offense! pic.twitter.com/i16hqZv1gO— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) December 24, 2023
WR: Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Dyami Brown
The Commanders have some decent weapons on their offense, but none better than their top pass catcher, McLaurin. The former Ohio State Buckeye has been nothing short of a revelation since being selected in the third round of the 2019 draft. During that first year, he had 900 yards. Since then, he has put up over 1,000 yards each of the past four years. He is a quality pass catcher who will unquestionably be the top target for Kingsbury and whoever is throwing passes. He is the perfect WR2 for your dynasty squads.
As things currently stand, former first-round pick Dotson is currently the WR2 on the roster. Dotson had a nice rookie year, scoring seven TDs despite missing several games. In 2023, Dotson seemed to be sidelined in favor of current free agent Curtis Samuel. 2024 will be an essential year for Dotson as he looks to secure a traditional third-year breakout. He should have ample opportunities and will be a nice upside stash for your dynasty rosters. With any luck, he will return to his rookie ways and make more plays like the one below.
Behind McLaurin and Dotson, the Commanders have a couple of not-so-spectacular options. They will likely look to bring in some competition in the form of either free agents or rookies. As things currently stand, Dyami Brown is the most intriguing name on the depth chart. The former North Carolina star has flashed here and there and could find his way into a more meaningful role depending on how things break under the new regime. With some big play chops like the ones you see below, you could do worse for an end-of-the-bench stash.
TE: Logan Thomas, Cole Turner, John Bates
The Commanders find themselves lacking in the tight-end department heading into the 2024 season. Thomas is a grizzled vet and will likely hold the top spot pending free agency. Behind him, Turner and Bates could be a pair of names to take a look at for stash players. The Commanders will look to the free-agent crop to give their young quarterback a nice weapon. A name like Dalton Schultz or Noah Fant could find their way to bigger opportunities with the Commanders. If not, Thomas can still make a couple of plays and would be a low-end TE2 for your dynasty rosters.
Sam Howell threw it ON A ROPE to Logan Thomas to take the lead over the Eagles 🔥pic.twitter.com/4aoX15tmem— Commanders Nation (@WasCommandersCP) October 29, 2023
Quinn is a respected coach in the NFL. He has been beloved by his players everywhere he has coached. In particular, his defensive players have always been effusive in their praise of his leadership and coaching acumen. Matt Ryan, his former quarterback, has always had the best things to say about his former boss.
While perhaps not the flashiest pick the new ownership could have made in D.C., Quinn will bring some bonafide stability to the job. He will help to rebuild a culture that has slipped in recent seasons under former coach Ron Rivera and owner Dan Snyder. Quinn was likely tabbed because he was willing to work with new GM Adam Peters. With this being his second bite at the apple, he likely didn’t make any demands about control over the roster like some of the newer, hotter names the Commanders interviewed.
The combination of Quinn and Kingsbury should be a nice pairing for the Commanders. The sky is the limit, provided Peters and Quinn hit on this all-important draft this spring. Keep an eye on the nation’s capital, as the Commanders should be on the upswing in the coming years.
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