Kliff Kingsbury is returning to coach an NFL offense after all as the Washington Commanders are making him their new offensive coordinator under head coach Dan Quinn, per multiple reports.
It was an odd sequence of events that led to this hiring after Kingsbury was expected to join the Las Vegas Raiders and head coach Antonio Pierce in the same role.
However, ESPN reported on Saturday that Kingsbury took himself out of the running, per his agent, Erik Burkhardt.
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Kingsbury, a highly regarded offensive mind who coached with Lincoln Riley at USC last season as the team’s quarterbacks coach, was also considered the leading candidate to join Washington under Quinn, who is back as a head coach after several years as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.
Kingsbury is now onboard, and it makes things very intriguing for the Commanders and the 2024 NFL Draft.
Washington holds the No. 2 overall pick in the draft after a horrendous season under Ron Rivera, who was fired as head coach. Rookie quarterback Sam Howell showed he can definitely work a pass game, but the Commanders as a whole need roster work.
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Kingsbury worked closely with USC quarterback Caleb Williams, who is projected by many to be the first overall pick. However, it’s the Chicago Bears who own that pick.
Could Kingsbury’s addition lead to a trade with Washington and Chicago to make sure Williams is playing in a Commanders uniform next season, furthering his work with Kingsbury?
That will likely be among the speculations leading to this hire. But until then, Kingsbury’s addition as the team’s offensive coordinator brings his signature Air Raid offense to a team ripe with young talent at wide receiver.
Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel did well in Eric Bieniemy’s offense, and Howell finished just under 4,000 yards in his first season.
Speaking of Bieniemy, he’s technically still under contract with Washington, but it appears he’s going to need to find a new role in the NFL with Kingsbury aboard. So, teams still searching for an offensive coordinator may see an experienced Bieniemy hit the open market.
Kingsbury also brings head coaching experience to the table in Washington after spending four seasons as the Arizona Cardinals‘ head coach.
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The team averaged 23.6 points per game during his time at the helm. Kingsbury’s best season came in 2021, when he helped lift the Cardinals to an 11-6 record and a postseason berth.