‘It Starts Up Front!’ Dan Quinn Reveals Commanders’ Strengths - Anthony Licciardi, Sports Illustrated
New Commanders’ head coach Dan Quinn knows it all starts in the trenches.
After an exhaustive coaching search left the Washington Commanders burnt by the favorite for the job, they turned to Dan Quinn to right the ship. His experience and connections will be trusted to stabilize the organization while new ownership attempts to work its magic.
Washington is staring down the barrel of a rebuild, having traded its two best edge rushers at the deadline and possessing the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, good quarterback play can accelerate a team’s timeline, and the Commanders are not completely devoid of talent.
“I’ll start with the defense because that’s unfortunately sometimes where my eyes go first,” Quinn said. “But, I would say man was I impressed by the inside of the defense, with the defensive tackles. Knowing that it starts up front on both sides, man, defensive line and offensive line, so that was the spot that jumped out to me, the defensive tackles.”
Defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne headline a Washington defense that was bad on both a down-to-down and explosive play basis. However, a strong spine is integral to building a physical defense – something Quinn lacked at his last stop with the Dallas Cowboys – and his two defensive tackles are cornerstones, should they buy into Quinn’s vision.
Quinn also mentioned the offensive line which, despite quarterback Sam Howell doing his best to break the sack record, wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. Former second-round pick Sam Cosmi found immense success while sliding inside to guard. Washington may take a tackle with one of its early picks, but this isn’t a situation where a prospective quarterback is bound to fail because of his supporting cast.
Washington certainly has its problems – under center and encompassing much of the defense, especially – but if Quinn’s hiring of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury pans out, there’s enough talent to be feisty in the first year of this administration.
New York is hiring the former Titans’ coach to lead their defense.
Shane Bowen, who was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, will take over the same position with the Giants. Tim Kelly, meanwhile, was announced earlier as the team’s new tight ends coach after serving as the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2023.
Bowen just completed his sixth season with the Titans, eighth overall in the NFL. Tennessee promoted him to defensive coordinator in 2021 after he spent his first three seasons as outside linebacker’s coach.
In 2023, Bowen boasted the No. 1 defense in red zone scoring (allowed touchdowns on 37.7 percent of drives inside the 20), goal-to-go scoring (42.9 percent resulting in touchdowns), and third-down conversation rate in the red zone (23.4). In addition, Tennessee ranked second in inside the 30 touchdown efficiency (34.7 percent) and opponent third-and-short conversions (50.0 percent).
From 2021 to 2023, the Titans surrendered the fewest rushing yards in the NFL (89.7 yards per game) and a league-low 3.70 rushing yards per carry. They allowed 33 rushing touchdowns in that span; only the Ravens and Patriots gave up fewer with 30 apiece. Overall, the Titans allowed 106 touchdowns from scrimmage in Bowen’s three seasons as defensive coordinator, the seventh fewest in the NFL.
From 2021 through 2022, opponents averaged a league-low 80.7 rushing yards per game (2,745 total) against the Titans. In that span, Bowen’s defense allowed a total of two individual 100-yard rushers—one in each season.
In 2022, the Titans led the NFL in rushing defense for the first time since 2003, surrendering a league-low average of 76.9 yards per contest (1,307 total) for the second-best finish in franchise history (73.4 in 1960). The Titans also ranked third in third-down defense in 2022, allowing a conversion rate of 34.2 percent (77 of 225). The 28 total starters used on defense was the second-highest total in the NFL, and the 40 total players used on defense led the league.
Philadelphia will head international for the first week of the season.
LAS VEGAS — The Philadelphia Eagles will play host to the NFL’s first regular-season game in Brazil, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Monday in his state of the NFL media conference at Allegiant Stadium.
The Eagles, who last played an international game in 2018, will face a to-be-announced opponent in São Paolo on Friday, Sept. 6, the day after the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night. This will be the NFL’s first Friday game on opening weekend in more than 50 years.
“We are just incredibly enthusiastic about our growth on a global basis,” Goodell said. “We are convinced we can be a global sport in the near future. Our ownership has committed to allow more games to be played on an annual basis, on a global basis. We are excited about the fans’ reaction and our media partners. I think this is a great opportunity for the league and we are committed to making it a global sport.”
The Eagles’ home opponents for the 2024 season are the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Commanders, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Brazil is new for us this year,” Goodell added. “We think this is giving us the ability to access more fans. Not just here in the States, but on a global basis. And I think it’s going to be a huge hit. We’re excited.”
Per NFL.com, the league counts 38 million fans in Brazil with an “increased” interest in recent years when it comes to the playoffs and the Super Bowl. The league’s website also noted 49,000-seat Corinthians Arena, which played host to World Cup matches in 2014 as well as Olympic soccer matches in 2016, as the likely site of the game.
The NFL already plays international games in England and Germany and could be targeting Spain in 2025 as owners passed a resolution in the fall compelling each team to play an international game once every four years.