3 severe overreactions from the Commanders' 2024 offseason

Let's not get too carried away.
Dan Quinn
Dan Quinn / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders can compete for the NFC East

It's been a long time since the Washington Commanders were a legitimate postseason challenger. They achieved one playoff appearance under head coach Ron Rivera, but this was almost by default after winning the division with a losing record thanks to how abysmal the NFC East was at the time.

That's not the case now. Something that makes Dan Quinn's life more difficult in pursuit of maximizing his second head coaching opportunity.

Some analysts and fans think the Commanders can make a run at the division if everything clicks right away. While that cannot be completely dismissed, this franchise must learn to walk before it can run. This is a gradual, long-term plan to join the league's best once again. More importantly, their rise needs to be sustainable.

The dismay would be evident if the Commanders didn't improve in some capacity. Asking them to join the race for the NFC East is pushing things.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys harbor hopes to make deep playoff runs next time around. Those within the New York Giants believe their defensive unit can propel them into contention. Where the Commanders fit into this dynamic is anyone's guess, but anything is better than the lousy record against their rivals during Rivera's final two years at the helm.

It's easy to get overexcited at this time of year. Washington fans deserve hope more than anyone after what they've had to endure throughout the last two decades of Dan Snyder's ownership. At the same time, approaching their first season amid widespread change with cautious optimism is the best route.

If the Commanders start well and take a few notable scalps, this can build into something more substantial. Until then, allowing the pieces to jel at their own pace and being competitive through fundamentally sound football in all phases is what fans should be demanding.

Expecting the Commanders to win the NFC East - or even be in with a shout heading into the business end of the campaign - seems far-fetched at this juncture.