Sources: Commanders hire Kliff Kingsbury as OC, Joe Whitt Jr. as DC


ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington commanders quickly moved to fill her offensive coordinator position, hiring a former one Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, multiple sources told ESPN Sunday night.

But the Commanders weren't done yet, adding Joe Whitt Jr. as their defensive coordinator, according to sources.

These are the first big steps for new coach Dan Quinn, who has coached the defense throughout his career. Kingsbury had been close to joining Las Vegas Raiders as their offensive coordinator until Contract negotiations failed on Saturday. Washington spoke to Kingsbury that day and the deal was finalized on Sunday.

Whitt's hiring was reported shortly after it was announced that Kingsbury had joined the staff. Since Quinn took over as commander on Thursday, Whitt has been considered a leading candidate for his defensive coordinator position.

Whitt, 45, has coached in the NFL since 2007 but has never been a coordinator. He was coach for one season Atlanta (2020) with Quinn and joined him again Dallas in 2021 as the Cowboys' secondary coach and passing game coordinator. Whitt has served as the passing game coordinator for three different teams since 2018.

During his three seasons in that role with Dallas and with Quinn as coordinator, the Cowboys ranked eighth in passing yards allowed, third in completion percentage and third in quarterback rating.

Kingsbury, 44, coached the Cardinals for four years until he was fired after the 2022 season. He competed in the same division as Washington's new general manager, Adam Peters, who had worked with the San Francisco 49ers until he was hired by commanders last month.

Eric Bieniemy, who has one year left on his contract, served as the Commanders' offensive coordinator last season.

In Kingsbury's first season in Arizona – as quarterback Kyler Murray was a rookie – the Cardinals' offense ranked 16th in points and 21st in yards. But in its second year it jumped to 13th in points and sixth in yards.

Arizona ranked 11th in points and eighth in yards in Kingsbury's third season before falling to 21st in points and 22nd in yards in his fourth season when Murray suffered a torn ACL in Week 13.

Since 2016, Washington's offense has not ranked higher than 16th in either category. Since 2000, it has only finished in the top 10 in either points or yards receiving five times.

But the Commanders, who own the second pick in April's draft and will strongly consider selecting a quarterback, now have a coach who has experience working with young QBs. Kingsbury spent last fall as USCis a quarterbacks coach and senior offensive analyst, working directly with the Trojans' signal-caller Caleb Williamsthe projected No. 1 draft pick.

Kingsbury also drafted Murray at Arizona and as head coach Texas Techworked with Patrick Mahomes And Baker Mayfield.

The commanders have it too Sam Howell, who has started the last 18 games for them at quarterback and is entering his third season. Howell and Drake Mayean opportunity with the second pick, both played in a version of the Air Raid offense North Carolina under former Tar Heels coordinator Phil Longo.

Kingsbury also interviewed Chicago for its offensive coordinator opening, but the Bears hired Shane Waldron instead.

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