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#pounditFriday, April 12, 2024

Did Commanders miss out on their top 2 head coach choices?

A Commanders helmet on the bench

Oct 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; A Washington Commanders helmet on the bench against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders will insist that they knew Dan Quinn was the right person to be their head coach from the moment they first met with him, but there is plenty of reason to believe he was not their first or second choice.

Ben Johnson was at one point viewed by many as a lock to become Washington’s new head coach. The Detroit Lions offensive coordinator then abruptly withdrew his name from consideration when he had a second interview scheduled with the Commanders.

According a story published Monday by Ben Standig and Dianna Russini of The Athletic, the Commanders held Johnson in “high regard at the onset” of their coaching search. Reports have indicated that members of Washington’s front office were en route to Michigan with the intent of hammering out a deal with Johnson when Johnson canceled the meeting. The Commanders were then forced to pivot, but they did not immediately focus their attention on Quinn.

Before they hired Quinn, the Commanders reportedly made an offer to former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. Washington’s brass believed they were going to hire Macdonald until the Seattle Seahawks offered more money and a longer contract, according to The Athletic.

None of that means the Commanders did not want Quinn. The 53-year-old coach was said to be in the running all along, and Washington hired him instead of pursuing one of the biggest names in NFL history. However, it seems likely that they would have preferred Johnson or Macdonald, who are both up-and-coming coaches.

There have also been reports that teams were turned off by Johnson’s demands. Of course, that might be something that a team that was turned down would want their fans to think.

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