The Dallas Cowboys began interviewing potential defensive coordinators this weekend in the opening phase of their 2021 offseason. One confirmed candidate is former Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn, who rose to that job after previously coordinating the “Legion of Boom” defense for the Seahawks.
The Cowboys fired Mike Nolan on Friday after one season. Dallas' defense was among the league's worst in 2020, particularly against the run and in points allowed.
Former #Falcons coach Dan Quinn spent Saturday interviewing for the vacant #Cowboys defensive coordinator job, source says. He joins #Falcons secondary coach Joe Whitt and #Panthers defensive passing game coordinator Jason Simmons as the three known candidates.
Former Falcons coach Dan Quinn is someone in whom the Cowboys, when evaluating their situation, have considered a potential Mike Nolan replacement for at least a month, sources said. Interest here is serious as interview process unfolds.
Also interviewed last weekend were Joe Whitt and Jason Simmons, who both have history with Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy from his Packers days. Ironically, Whitt actually worked under Quinn this year in Atlanta.
Naturally, Quinn's name stands out among this trio given his head-coaching experience and some of his past accomplishments. He has a Super Bowl ring from Seattle's 2013 championship while he was defensive coordinator. Quinn also led the Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016, though losing to the Patriots that year in the infamous “28-3” collapse.
Quinn would be an intriguing hire, and probably more satisfying for many Cowboys fans, as he would come from outside of McCarthy's circle. Many decried the hiring of Mike Nolan given his track record and the appearance that it was more of a personal favor from McCarthy based on their history.
By hiring Dan Quinn, Dallas would put someone who's coached in two Super Bowls one step away from Mike McCarthy's job.
To be fair, Quinn has his own red flags since leaving Seattle. The Falcons only had a Top-10 defense one season out of the four full years he spent there. Some years they were even one of the worst defenses in the league.
But again, that was while Quinn was working as head coach. Perhaps he would thrive getting back to focusing on the defense and helping the Cowboys return to a purer 4-3 scheme.
The interview process isn't over and we may see someone completely different land the defensive coordinator position in Dallas. But at the very least, Dan Quinn being interviewed shows the Cowboys are willing to go outside of people that Mike McCarthy already has in his phone contacts.
Given how 2020 went, McCarthy deserves to feel that heat.