Commanders veteran lifts lid on schematic crash course under Dan Quinn

It's a make or break year for Darrick Forrest.
Dan Quinn
Dan Quinn / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody needs a state-of-the-art microscope to figure out how things are looking different across the Washington Commanders during the 2024 offseason. The injection of front office purpose, an accomplished staff mixed with the right blend of old-school and progressive methods, and Adam Peters' drastic roster overhaul brought a level of anticipation not seen in years. Now, it's up to the players to do their part.

There's been heightened energy, professionalism, and cohesion over early workouts. Standards have been raised by those who've been right to the top. Anyone not responding well will be found out quickly. And as Peters demonstrated throughout his first offseason as general manager, he'll act swiftly in the best interests of the franchise.

Darrick Forrest's excitement over Commanders' new direction

Darrick Forrest is someone hoping for increased responsibilities within Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr.'s defensive system. It's been a crash course in creative schematic concepts for the fourth-year safety based on comments via USA Today Sports. While he acknowledged there's more work to do, his excitement when speaking to Team 980's Craig Hoffman was evident.

"It’s been great, getting to know the new coaching staff and learning the new defense. Just having fun, getting to know each other. It’s about growing together. If our brotherhood is strong, then I know nothing is going to be able to stop us. Now I have a lot more roles, so I am going closer to the line of scrimmage. It’s really about learning the full defense. It’s about knowing how to communicate. I can’t come out here and BS because I know it like the back of my hand. I am still learning things as I am going."

Darrick Forrest via USA Today Sports

Forrest won't have Kamren Curl to lean on in 2024 after the Commanders didn't offer him a new deal in free agency. Jeremy Chinn and Dominique Hampton came into the fold. Jeremy Reaves was re-signed. There's also the prospect of 2023 second-rounder Quan Martin playing deeper in the secondary under Quinn's exceptional guidance.

These new arrivals lay down the gauntlet to Forrest. His campaign was cruelly cut short by injury last time around. People also forgot how talented he was and how much the former Cincinnati star was ascending. Fortunately, that didn't go unnoticed by Quinn during his roster evaluations upon taking the head coaching gig.

There's also some added incentive for Forrest next season. He's entering the final year of his rookie deal. A strong campaign free of more health complications is the goal - something that should get him a long-term commitment from the Commanders or elsewhere next spring.

This extra motivation and Quinn's intent to get more creative with his gifted defensive backs is good news for Forrest. He admitted there are things left to enhance before Week 1 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arrives. But the elevated enthusiasm and urgency should be enough to spur everyone on.

It'll be interesting to see the dynamic in Washington's safety room evolve throughout training camp. Forrest has a big role to play. At the same time, complacency cannot rear its head in pursuit of a bumper new deal.

That's for the future. For now, Forrest must focus on bouncing back from some rough luck and let the chips fall where they may after.