6 Commanders coaches who can bolster head coaching chances in 2024

These coaches have huge opportunities awaiting them in 2024.
Kliff Kingsbury
Kliff Kingsbury / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Jason Simmons - Commanders defensive pass game coordinator

Jason Simmons played for ten years as an undersized safety. He was always credited for his intelligence and preparation as a player. He then served a long apprenticeship as a coach with the Green Bay Packers, rising from intern to position coach.

He left to take on the role of defensive passing game coordinator with the Carolina Panthers. After two seasons, Simmons moved into a similar role with the Las Vegas Raiders. During both of his two-year stints as coordinator, his pass defense showed improvement.

Simmons inherited a struggling secondary in Las Vegas and chopped their yards-per-attempt by almost a full yard between his first and second seasons. That moved them from one of the worst units in the league to one of the best.

He will have his work cut out for him in Washington. Cornerback is one of the team's biggest question marks. Simmons has young players who have yet to produce as expected and older veterans who are journeymen.

The Commanders are not working with a particularly good set of pass rushers, which could take some pressure off the secondary. Simmons does have excellent support from Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. If he can get Washington’s pass defense into the top half of the league in 2024, he could be in line for a promotion.

This is unlikely to be a head coaching job immediately. However, a potential rise to a defensive coordinator or assistant head coach somewhere cannot be completely ruled out.

Brian Johnson - Commanders assistant head coach, passing game coordinator

Brian Johnson already has the job just described as a potential next step for Jason Simmons. He has already served as an offensive coordinator at the professional level. Unfortunately, it was with the Philadelphia Eagles last year. He will have to overcome the impression that some may have of a coach who inherited a good thing and ruined it.

That is not everyone’s assessment. The Eagles offense fell off in 2023. Many fans felt they became too reliant on screen passes and Jalen Hurts’ patented sneaks. Nevertheless, they still finished in the top ten on total offense with a very respectable yards-per-play. Johnson will have a chance to erase any lingering bad taste if he can get the Commanders' passing attack to soar.

His career trajectory is almost identical to that of Tavita Pritchard. A college quarterback with extensive experience mentoring quarterbacks in both college and the pros. Johnson is also just 37 years old, but he made the jump to the NFL several years earlier and is a little further along the coaching ladder.