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New coach Dan Quinn’s work with the Commanders is well underway with much more still to do

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Dan Quinn landed in the Washington area on Sunday night with wife Stacey and was greeted on the tarmac by general manager Adam Peters and his wife Jennifer.

Peters hugged his new coach and congratulated him. “I’m so pumped,” Quinn replied.

Before even getting on the ground, the Commanders’ new football decision makers were already well underway with the start of a lot of work to do. They hired Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator and Joe Whitt Jr. as defensive coordinator, with those moves announced by the team Monday after reaching agreements with them over the weekend.

“We’re just getting rolling,” Quinn said at his introductory news conference. “This wave is going to keep riding for a long time, but we’re just catching it right now.”

Controlling owner Josh Harris turned to Quinn and said, “You’ve gotten down to work quickly.” Harris also alluded to Quinn having “some more tricks up his sleeve” with his coaching staff.

There’s still plenty more to do in the coming days and weeks.

One thing Quinn confirmed Monday is Eric Bieniemy will not return to Washington after one season as offensive coordinator. Bienemy’s future was murky after players criticized his approach and he interviewed for but did not get the Commanders head coaching job.

“We’re not going to work together here, but in this coaching brotherhood, I wanted him to know, man I really respect what he’s done,” Quinn said of Bieniemy, who left the Chiefs to work under defensive-minded coach Ron Rivera in the hopes of earning a head coaching job somewhere around the NFL. “I wish E.B. nothing but the best, and he’ll do a great job. I was really pumped that he took his shot this year and went for it, and so I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

Harris, Quinn and recently hired general manager Peters sitting side by side represented the start of a new era for the organization. Now the fun part begins with tons of cap space to spend in free agency, the second pick in the draft and, of course, the pursuit of a new quarterback.

“We just got started, so we haven’t even had discussions yet as a staff with that,” Peters said. “Obviously it’s the most important position on the field, and we’re going to put a lot of time into it. But as of now, we haven’t even gotten started.”

Speculation began immediately about Kingsbury and potential top pick Caleb Williams, who he worked with at USC last season as senior offensive analyst and quarterbacks coach. Williams, a Washington area native, posted a message of congratulations to Kingsbury on social media Sunday after the news broke.

Kingsbury is back in the NFL after coaching the Arizona Cardinals from 2019-2022, following five seasons in college at Texas Tech.

“I know people talk about his acumen with quarterbacks, and that’s proven,” Quinn said. “But he’s also an excellent coach. He’s not just a guy that’s going to be with the quarterbacks the whole time. I want to make sure I’m clear.”

UNC’s Drake Maye along with Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels of LSU are considered among the top QBs available in the draft. Maye also ran Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense in college.

And several options could be available by trade or free agency in the coming months as Washington tries to find the answer at the position it has lacked for decades.

“The right way to develop a quarterback is what Dan and Adam and Kliff come up with,” said former executive Rick Spielman, who advised Harris during the search process. “That’s the right way.”

Quinn, focused on his immediate tasks at hand, is first worried about the current roster and not the draft in late April.

“That’s a little too far down the line for me right now,” he said.

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