Is Dan Quinn doomed to fail as Commanders head coach?

Dan Quinn inherited a horrendous situation in Washington

Washington Commanders
Washington Commanders / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

It's no secret that the Washington Commanders' job was one of the worst available in the 2024 head coaching cycle. The Commanders play in a brutally tough division. They don't have a franchise quarterback. Until we see the effects of new ownership, they have been one of the most poorly run franchises in the league in recent years. The working conditions in Washington are considered the worst in the NFL multiple years running.

Again, this is not an ideal situation for anyone to be stepping into. But the Commanders landed a pretty darn good GM this offseason when they hired Adam Peters away from the San Francisco 49ers. Armed with the second overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Peters was expected to be paired with an offensive-minded head coach to help rebuild this franchise from the ground up.

Ultimately, however, the Commanders' top targets to become their head coach started dropping out of the running one by one.

And not because the Commanders eliminated them.

Candidates that eliminated themselves from contention in Washington include Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, current Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald, and Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik.

Ultimately, the Commanders hired Dan Quinn as their next head coach. Quinn has been working as the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys over the last three seasons, and has done a pretty great job there, all things considered. Although Quinn's arrival in Dallas was paired with the drafting of superstar pass rusher Micah Parsons, who has become one of the biggest difference-makers defensively in the NFL.

In Washington, Quinn is no longer going to have the luxury of an established quarterback offensively. He's no longer got a Micah Parsons on the defensive side of the ball. As a matter of fact, the Commanders traded away their top two pass rushers last year when they sent Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears and Chase Young to the San Francisco 49ers.

When it comes to overall talent on the roster, the cupboard is borderline bare. With poor working conditions, the Commanders are going to have to overpay in free agency to get guys to come there. They're going to have to rely on players who have a history with Dan Quinn to come in and help him create and establish culture. Six starters from last year's defense are hitting free agency.

The Commanders' decision at the no. 2 overall pick is anything but a no-brainer at this point.

Ultimately, you look at the fact that the Commanders didn't prioritize Dan Quinn as a negative. But then you also factor in that this team desperately needed to get the head coaching position right with such an influx of "new" in terms of player personnel expected. Quinn tabbed Kliff Kingsbury as his offensive coordinator, which is interesting, but again -- we're far down the Commanders' list of preferred options this offseason.

From this point forth, this franchise is going to have to pull every right string. They don't have margin for error. Quinn's propensity for late-season collapses won't play well with the development of a rookie quarterback, whose development is now in the hands of a guy who has the staying power of an NBA star.

It's hard to look at the situation Quinn put himself in and see anything but him being doomed to failure.