Getty Images

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Commanders formally introduced Dan Quinn as their newest head coach Monday after a long hiring process that included plenty of twists and turns.

Quinn, 53, and the Commanders reached a verbal agreement Thursday, and the team formally announced the hiring Saturday. The Commanders were the last of the eight teams to fill their head-coaching vacancy this offseason but proceeded quickly thereafter, with Kliff Kingsbury hired as offensive coordinator and Joe Whitt Jr. hired as defensive coordinator on Sunday.

Owner Josh Harris and general manager Adam Peters -- also hired this offseason -- were on hand Monday alongside Quinn. Here were the key takeaways as Washington enters a new era:

1. 'If I get another shot' ... and why this one is 'different'

Quinn said he tries to live his life by five words: "Be where your feet are." But he also admitted there had been another five-word phrase in his mind: "If I get another shot."

That sort of uncertainty gave way to unbridled excitement when he got the call from Peters, and the enthusiasm was on display throughout the hour-long press conference.

"As a coach, you prepare for it, you study for it, and there's some lessons that you can't study for, there's lessons that you just have to live -- sometimes through success and sometimes also through adversity -- but once you learn those lessons, all you want to do is grab them and run and prove it. So let me tell you, I am ready to run and prove it, run like hell.

"There is nothing I enjoy more than doing hard shit with good people. And these guys here, there's some really good people and I cannot wait to get it rocking here."

Quinn made it clear this had to be a fit for him, not just vice versa. He interviewed with five teams -- the Chargers, Panthers, Seahawks, Titans and Commanders -- this year. He interviewed with three -- the Broncos, Cardinals and Colts -- last year. But this one, he said, was "different."

"After you've been through the experience, you want to make sure that you can align it exactly like you want to do to go kick ass," Quinn said. "That's what I was looking for, specific markers, because if I wasn't going to find them, then I wasn't going to do it. I desperately wanted to, but if the markers weren't in line to say, 'Hey, this alignment between ownership, general manager, the club,' I wouldn't have. So when this one was here, it was, 'Please call,' because this one is different."

Peters, in turn, was effusive in his praise for Quinn.

"Coach Quinn has all the qualities we're looking for. He's unquestionably one of the best leaders in the NFL -- you can ask anybody who's been around him, coaches, players. He's a top-notch communicator, an excellent teacher and developer, not only of players, but of coaches.

"He attracts talent because of the type of person and man that he is. He maximizes that talent and that's what we're doing. We're building a great staff and he's really kicking it off really well. He and I have a shared vision that we're going to build a team with the play style and the identity that you guys will all love to watch."

2. Coordinators will call plays

Quinn has connections to both of his coordinator hires, but for different reasons. He's coached against Kingsbury and with Whitt, Dallas' secondary coach and pass game coordinator, for the past three seasons.

The reasoning behind the Kingsbury hire was a somewhat simple one: Quinn felt Kingsbury's offenses were difficult to defend. It's a feeling he had when he hired another notable offensive coordinator nearly a decade ago in Atlanta.

"In the same way of why I wanted to hire Kyle [Shanahan] years ago, [Kingsbury] was hard to go against," Quinn said. "He would stretch the field horizontally and vertically, and going against Kliff, those same feelings you had: This is going to be tough -- matchups, formations, speed, shots down the field, aggressiveness, boldness to go. And so as a coach, you were writing down some names if this is something in your future that said, 'If I get that shot, this is somebody I would want to talk to.'"

With Kingsbury hired, Quinn also announced Washington's 2023 offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, will not return. Bieniemy had one year left on his contract. Quinn met with Bieniemy and said he has "a lot of respect" for the job Bieniemy has done.

On the defensive side, Quinn said the keys are tackling and turnovers -- Dallas led the NFL in turnovers forced during Quinn and Whitt's tenure there -- and called Whitt's ability to disguise coverages "exceptional."

3. 'Recalibrate' rather than 'rebuild'

There's no doubt the Commanders need massive changes. They finished 4-13 last season, with the league's worst defense and an offense that struggled mightily down the stretch.

But Quinn said Monday, "You will not hear me say the word 'rebuild' at all," and opted for "recalibration" instead.

Whatever "re-" word you want to use, the Commanders will go on a near-complete overhaul to return to prominence. Washington has the draft capital (No. 2 overall pick and five picks in the top 100) and money (more than $73 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, most in the NFL) to fill lots of holes, most importantly at quarterback.

When assessing the strengths of the roster, though, Quinn's eyes first went to the defensive tackles: Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are not only former Pro Bowlers but also signed to long-term deals. Quinn also praised Washington's wide receivers, led by Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Both of those players are also Commanders for the foreseeable future.

"I certainly played against the club, so I know about more of the offensive players and game planning and studying, but this receiving group really had skill and they would test you and push you and find matchups. That to me, that's where it stood out to me first."

As for building around those two strengths, Quinn and Peters both touched on what they're looking for going forward. Quinn wants his teams to be "explosive and physical" and wants his players to take on a new attitude. 

"I can remember Matt Ryan, after my first year together, he said, 'I felt like I got traded, but I went back to the same building,' and I thought to myself, 'Good job,'" Quinn said. "Because that's what I was wanting them to feel. They needed a recalibration and our club does too. And so that's what I anticipate doing."

4. The '360' that led to change (and success)

It was a mostly upbeat press conference, but perhaps the most revealing portion was Quinn's "360." After he was fired five games into the 2020 season, he was able to assess "potential blind spots" of things he struggled with as a coach. Furthermore, he watched film of his defenses from 2013 to 2020, covering his time as Seahawks' defensive coordinator and Falcons' coach. He realized he had to change -- a harsh realization, but one that got him the second head-coaching opportunity he so badly wanted.

"That is why having that space for me, although it sucked and it was depressing and pissed you off, there was this silver lining in that that made me become a better coach," Quinn said. "I had to look at myself, not just from the lens of the head coach, but I also had to look at it from a lens on defense. ... That's why I was so adamant about when you get those lessons, you want to go and run with them to prove it."