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7 possible candidates for Commanders’ offensive coordinator position

The Washington Commanders hired Dan Quinn as their new head coach on Thursday. While the move wasn’t popular with a large segment of Washington’s fan base, it was the first significant move from new general manager Adam Peters.

Quinn is a defensive-minded head coach, so who he hires as his offensive coordinator is critical. Many Washington fans wanted an offensive-minded head coach like Ben Johnson because the Commanders are expected to draft a quarterback at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL draft.

The prevailing thought is that an offensive-minded coach paired with a young quarterback is a recipe for success, but that’s not always true. Some believe that if a defensive-minded coach begins succeeding, other teams will poach the offensive coordinator. That is true, but that also indicates success. The key for teams hiring a defensive-minded head coach is to have a pipeline of sorts to replace the offensive coordinator.

In his opening press conference, Peters said leadership was the most important trait he desired. Quinn’s hiring is proof. Quinn is known as a great leader and teacher. When he was Atlanta’s head coach, he built a terrific coaching staff but didn’t have an answer for an offensive coordinator after losing Kyle Shanahan and Steve Sarkisian in back-to-back seasons.

If Quinn is to succeed in Washington, he must get this hire right. Here are seven potential offensive coordinators for Quinn.

49ers QB coach Brian Griese

San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

You are going to see multiple 49ers on this list. Brian Griese is a good place to start. A former star quarterback at the University of Michigan, Griese enjoyed an 11-year NFL career. He is a former national champion at Michigan and a Super Bowl champion with the Broncos.

Griese is a late-bloomer in the coaching ranks. At 48, he didn’t jump into coaching until 2022, when San Francisco hired him as quarterbacks coach. He had been an ESPN broadcaster for 14 seasons after his career ended. Griese is credited with the 49ers drafting Brock Purdy and being instrumental in his development. Griese is already gaining attention as a potential offensive coordinator. He should be atop Quinn’s list.

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly

UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly looks on before the game against the San Diego State Aztecs at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly looks on before the game against the San Diego State Aztecs at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly was an NFL head coach for four seasons with two teams. His NFL coaching career began with two strong seasons before falling apart. He returned to the college ranks in 2018 as head coach of UCLA. Kelly reportedly wants out of college football and back in the NFL as an offensive coordinator. He’s already been linked to Dan Quinn and interviewed twice with the Raiders. Kelly isn’t going to excite Washington fans, but he is an innovative coach.

Dolphins QB coach/passing game coordinator Darrell Bevell

Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins talks with Quarterback coach Darrell Bevell. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins talks with Quarterback coach Darrell Bevell. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Darrell Bevell is a veteran NFL coach who has been the offensive coordinator of four teams for a total of 15 seasons. He’s interviewed for head coaching vacancies, and Ron Rivera wanted to interview him last offseason for Washington’s OC job, but he declined, likely due to Rivera’s shaky job security. Bevell was Seattle’s offensive coordinator when Quinn was the defensive coordinator there for two seasons.

49ers passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak

Offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak of the Minnesota Vikings. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak of the Minnesota Vikings. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Klint Kubiak is the son of former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl-winning coach Gary Kubiak. A former college safety, Kubiak has coached in the NFL since 2013. He was the offensive coordinator for the Vikings in 2021 after his father abruptly retired. Klint Kubiak had been hired to serve as QB coach. Unfortunately, it was Mike Zimmer’s final season as head coach, and Kubiak didn’t get to show what he could do.

He spent 2022 with Denver under Nathaniel Hackett as a QB coach/passing game coordinator and was hired by the 49ers in 2023 as the passing game coordinator. Quinn’s connection with Shanahan, as well as Peters working in San Francisco, gives both excellent insight into Kubiak, who should probably be considered the co-leader alongside Kelly.

This would be the most popular choice for fans.

Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer

Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer during training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer during training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The son of former Washington coach Marty Schottenheimer, Brian Schottenheimer hasn’t had the same success as his father. He began his NFL coaching career in 2001 with Washington as QB coach for his father. He’s been with several teams over the years, including four different stints as an offensive coordinator. Schottenheimer would be an underwhelming hire. He is Dallas’ offensive coordinator in name only, as head coach Mike McCarthy calls the plays. He does help with game planning for the Cowboys.

Here’s this from Albert Breer.

This would not be a good hire for the Commanders. He’s the least inspiring name on this list.

49ers tight ends coach Brian Fleury

San Francisco 49ers tight ends coach Brian Fleury before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers tight ends coach Brian Fleury before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For me, Brian Fleury is the most intriguing name on this list. Kyle Shanahan knows how to develop coaches and saw promise in Fleury back in 2014 when both were with the Cleveland Browns. Fleury has worked in different roles in the NFL, beginning as a linebackers coach before moving into an off-field role for the Dolphins for three seasons. Shanahan brought him to San Francisco in 2019 and promoted him to tight ends coach in 2022.

Fleury was a high school quarterback at Seneca Valley High in Germantown, Maryland, where he was an All-Metro selection and state champion. Check out this gem from the late, great George Michael.

Fleury is exceptionally bright and has terrific knowledge of San Francisco’s vaunted zone running scheme. While his name may not receive much attention now, you can bet Peters knows Fleury well.

Former Panthers and Colts head coach Frank Reich

Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich watches his team play against the Chicago Bears in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich watches his team play against the Chicago Bears in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Reich is 62 and coming off a year in which he was fired after only 11 games as Carolina’s head coach. Don’t blame Reich. He reportedly wanted quarterback C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL draft, but owner David Tepper overruled him for Bryce Young. Reich may not even want to coach, as he’s still being paid handsomely. But don’t let him being fired fool you: He is a terrific offensive coach. Carson Wentz’s best years came when he worked with Reich in Philadelphia — not in Indianapolis.

Would Reich want to be an assistant again? You never know until you ask. The former NFL QB is an excellent teacher and would be an asset for Quinn.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire