New Washington head coach Dan Quinn is wasting no time in putting together an impressive coaching staff.
Shortly after the Commanders officially announced his hiring on Saturday, it was revealed that Quinn had hired former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury as his offensive coordinator. Dallas’ former secondary coach, Joe Whitt Jr., then followed Quinn to Washington to be his defensive coordinator.
On Friday, Ben Standig of The Athletic reported that the Commanders were hiring Larry Izzo as their special teams coordinator.
Quinn isn’t playing around. Izzo is considered one of the NFL’s best special teams coaches.
Want to learn more about Izzo? Here are six things to know about Dan Quinn.
He's from Ashburn
The Washington Commanders’ headquarters and practice facilities are in Ashburn, Virginia. Larry Izzo, the new Commanders’ special teams coordinator, has a special connection to Ashburn.
During his first two years of high school, Izzo attended Broad Run High School — in Ashburn. Izzo’s family would move to Texas before his junior year, and he’d play college football at Rice.
An early favorite of a Hall of Fame coach
Izzo played 14 NFL seasons across three teams. He began his career as an undrafted free agent for the Miami Dolphins. Legendary former head coach Jimmy Johnson was a huge fan of Izzo. During the summer before his rookie year, Johnson once said only two Dolphins were guaranteed to make the 1996 opening-day roster: Dan Marino and Izzo.
At the time, Izzo was an undersized, undrafted rookie linebacker from Rice.
“I’ve got two guys on this football team,” Johnson said, according to Izzo via John Tomase and John Tomasered of the Boston Herald. We’re looking for 51 more.”
That’s how Izzo’s career began, and outside of 2010 — the year between his retirement and the start of his coaching career — he has been in the NFL ever since.
Johnson wouldn’t be the last Hall of Fame coach Izzo impressed.
His Patriots' run led to three Super Bowl rings
After five years with the Dolphins, Izzo signed with the Patriots in 2001. That’s the season Tom Brady replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe under center for New England, and the rest is history. The Patriots would upset the Rams in the Super Bowl to kick off a dynasty that would lead to six world championships.
Izzo played for the Patriots for eight seasons, winning three Super Bowl rings. He was a three-time Pro Bowl player and was once named first-team All-Pro. He is a member of the Pats’ All-2000s Team and also a member of New England’s
He is credited with the most special teams tackles in NFL history
In Izzo’s 14 seasons, he finished with 298 special teams tackles. While it’s not an official statistic, the history books do indicate that Izzo holds the NFL record.
Could Izzo end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday for his outstanding work on special teams?
He received a game ball for what?
Izzo was a favorite of Jimmy Johnson. He was also a favorite of arguably the greatest head coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick.
According to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, Belichick once gave Izzo a game ball for……well, read below.
During an interview with Dan LeBatard of ESPN, via Larry Brown Sports, Wes Welker spilled the beans on a story about former Pats linebacker Larry Izzo. LeBatard, likely inspired by Welker’s inspired work in commercials for Depends, asked the receiver if it was true that Izzo had once defecated while on the sideline during a game. LeBatard originally heard the story from Zach Thomas and Welker confirmed it was true. What’s more, Bill Belichick gave Izzo a game ball for pulling it off.
“This is 100% true,” Welker said. “And Larry would be so mad at me if I said that this did not happen, because he takes ultimate pride in this whole deal. Of all the special teams tackles and Pro Bowls he’s made, I guarantee you that game ball is probably a more prized item for him than his Super Bowl rings.”
A successful coaching career
It’s no surprise that Izzo has gone on to enjoy a successful coaching career. He’s had stops with the Giants, Texans, and Seahawks before landing with Washington. He spent the past three seasons as Seattle’s primary special teams coordinator and the numbers prove he’s one of the best.
Using the DVOA metric from FTN, Seattle’s special teams were ranked inside the top 10 in each of the past three years:
2021: No. 5
2022: No. 4
2023: No. 8
It was during his time with Seattle that Izzo worked for another future Hall of Fame coach, Pete Carroll.