One of the main things the Dallas Cowboys had to improve upon this season was their defense. In 2020, they allowed a franchise-worst 473 points and finished 31st against the run under Mike Nolan. To remedy this shortcoming, the Cowboys brought in Dan Quinn as their new defensive coordinator.
Many believed the Cowboys would get better defensively under Quinn, but not to the level it did in 2021. The Cowboys' defense led the NFL in interceptions (26), total turnovers (34), and were the best unit at stopping opposing offenses on third down. Also, they improved to No. 7 in scoring defense after being 28th last season. Quinn was named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America a few weeks ago, and on Thursday night, he received the same accolade by the Associated Press at the NFL Honors ceremony.
Quinn's reputation before he came to Dallas when it came to orchestrating a defense was a great one. He was the mastermind behind the infamous “Legion of Boom” defense during his time with the Seattle Seahawks as their defensive coordinator which led the league in total defense in 2013 and 2014 and won Super Bowl XLVIII. He wasted little time turning the Cowboys' defense into the most opportunistic unit if it's kind this season thanks to Cornerback Trevon Diggs and his league-leading 11 interceptions as well as Linebacker Micah Parsons and his 13 sacks which made them the first set of teammates in NFL history to have 10 or more interceptions and sacks in the same season.
There was fear that Quinn would leave the Cowboys and take on another head coaching role seeing as he was one of the hottest names in the business to do so. However, after missing out on several opportunities, Quinn turned down other offers to finish what he started with the Cowboys and pursue a championship.
“I have unfinished business here,” Quinn said. “We have the right people in place to accomplish the things everyone in this building is working to accomplish. We're doing that right now. We're doing it today — grinding toward a goal.”
The Cowboys retaining Quinn was huge and with him at the helm, their defense has a great shot to be good for the foreseeable future.