Washington Commanders Darryl Tapp Bringing a Player's Intensity to Coaching the DLine

The Washington Commanders were missing a kind of energy in 2023, but have found it again with Washington Commanders DL coach Darryl Tapp.
September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers assistant defensive line coach Darryl Tapp before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers assistant defensive line coach Darryl Tapp before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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ASHBURN, Va. -- It's been said that everyone on the Washington Commanders roster is a rookie of sorts this season as every player is learning a new scheme - or style - or playing football this year.

Even those who are familiar with coaches, like Commanders linebacker Bobby Wagner who has history with both head coach Dan Quinn and linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., this team isn't going to be a copy/paste of the ones he's been on with those coaches in the past.

READ MORE: The Most Important Non-QB Player for the Commanders

For Washington defensive line coach Darryl Tapp this rookie label goes a step further as he enters his first year as a lead NFL position coach after spending 2020-23 as the assistant defensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers.

You wouldn't know it's his first year leading the room, however, by watching him and his high-energy style of coaching on the Commanders practice field.

New Washington Commanders defensive line coach Darryl Tapp cut his teeth in NFL coaching with the San Francisco 49ers.
September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers assistant defensive line coach Darryl Tapp before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

"I'm going to be the same person every day. You need me to get you up, I'll get you up, I'll get you going with the energy. But that's just who I've always been."

Darryl Tapp, Commanders DL Coach

"That's always been me. Even when I was a player, I was always that same guy, just kind of bringing energy to the group. That energy can be contagious," coach Tapp says. "So as a player, it's something my guys set off of and it's still in the same role as the DLine coach now. That's something I told them guys, I'm not changing. I'm going to be the same person every day. You need me to get you up, I'll get you up, I'll get you going with the energy. But that's just who I've always been."

One of the keys to coaching in any field is the ability to understand the people you're trying to influence, and connect with them. Having done the job certainly helps.

Offensive lineman Sam Cosmi commented earlier this offseason about the importance of feeling that a player's input is being respected and received. That the guys in the dirt, who are living the flow of the battle, have something to say about how the battleplans should be drawn, adjusted, and executed. But that respect is not always given.

As a former NFL player himself, Tapp knows what he's asking his guys to do, he knows why it's important, and he knows how to get them competing - even against each other, and even when the opponent is a sled with two pads on it. Which is good, because that's the closest thing to a live opponent they're going to get until late July.

"Me being a player is an added bonus just because I understand what they're going through when they put their hand in the dirt on each and every play," Tapp said. "Now that doesn't carry too much weight if I don't do my job as far as coaching those guys up. So, I've been able to balance the two and get it right to where the guys now believe in what I'm preaching. So it's very easy for those guys to want to go and compete for a guy who was in the exact same shoes as them. My two assistants are the same way with (assistant linebackers/pass rush specialist) Ryan Kerrigan being a teammate here of mine playing for 11 years and then (assistant defensive line coach) Sharrif Floyd who was a first-round draft pick playing (defensive tackle). So we got a perfect dynamic, the three of us, where these guys are really buying into what we're preaching and trying to get accomplished."

READ MORE: What Washington Success Looks Like in 2024


Stick with CommanderGameday and the Locked On Commanders podcast for more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the 2024 season.


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David Harrison

DAVID HARRISON

David Harrison has covered the NFL since 2015 as a digital content creator in both written and audio media. He is the host of Locked On Commanders and a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. His previous career was as a Military Working Dog Handler for the United States Army. Contact David via email at david.w.harrison82@gmail.com or on Twitter @DHarrison82.