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Kellen Moore Not Expected to Fill HC Openings, Dan Quinn Has 2nd Interview with Bears

The name circling around Cowboys news as of Tuesday is , as the longtime HC announced he is stepping away from the team. While Payton will still be under contract with the Saints, and the Cowboys enter their second full with following a disappointing playoff loss, the status of both and remain unknown.

For a team that still managed to win 12 regular season games and the , it's noteworthy that one of the nine current openings hasn't already been filled by Quinn or Kellen Moore. The Broncos were the early favorite to land Quinn, where he remains a finalist, but the former Falcons HC will also have a second with the Bears.

Chicago is an attractive job for a defensive minded coach like Quinn, given the progress QB Justin Fields made this season. Building a staff to work with Fields while Quinn retools the Bears could be their path towards contending in the North – where the status of Packers QB is perhaps the biggest story of this offseason.

Dan Quinn

Quinn is also being coveted as a great “leader of men” candidate, connecting with defensive players in Dallas in a way that was sorely missed in McCarthy's first season. Only hours after his first playoff loss to the 49ers, All-Pro LB Micah Parsons made his plea for Quinn to stay with the Cowboys.

Cowboys brass has made it clear they didn't expect to be facing these offseason decisions so soon, while searches for a response to a familiar early playoff exit that somehow feels different from years past. Quinn's complete turnaround of the Cowboys defense is a big reason why the end to this season was so unique. Dallas wasting great offenses backed by historically bad defenses would be nothing new, but Quinn's defense standing on its head while the sputtered was unexpected.

This makes potentially losing Quinn the bigger concern for the Cowboys, compared to early season speculation that Kellen Moore was the head-coach-in-waiting on McCarthy's staff. The latest report on Moore, via Pro Football Network, is that he's not expected to land a HC opening this cycle. The same qualities that have Quinn on the short list for two jobs already are a concern with Moore. The Cowboys offense becoming a shell of itself against top competition is another reasons teams are weary that handing the keys to Moore will give them the next .

Where Moore could have stepped up to help the Cowboys offense through and lineup changes at WR and OL, he let these things derail an -caliber season from . Not only would some of the jobs he's interviewed for not come with a franchise QB in place, but a whole new world of responsibility on both sides of the ball that Moore hasn't handled in Dallas.

Any grooming that Moore's received to become a HC has come from or McCarthy. Garrett was fired midseason by the Giants, and if given the chance there aren't many teams jumping at the idea of running Mike McCarthy's offense either. Even the biggest believers in Moore's coaching ability, those that insist McCarthy and Garrett have done nothing but get in the way of a genius offensive mind, now accept that McCarthy must work with Moore for his own job's sake – should the pair stay in place for 2022.

Mike McCarthy 'Extremely Impressed' with Kellen Moore

The Cowboys have internal candidates to possibly replace Quinn, but one former HC/OC on staff has already left. , another McCarthy hire, is now the OC for the .

If the Cowboys are lucky enough to keep Quinn, it likely won't come with the same on-field turnover luck and production on defense. Projecting defensive performances from year to year always comes with major swings, while offense can be more stable. The Cowboys simply have too much invested on offense to not have stability here, but Moore and McCarthy provided anything but this season.

This makes the news that Moore is the Cowboys' decision a huge deal around . It comes at a time when so few decisions have come down from the Jones' on how they want to handle moving their franchise forward again. on for inexperience and growing pains with Moore as the play caller was something they were willing to live with in 2019, but what about still in 2022?

Seeing a HC with credentials as a play caller do little to help Moore in his third season has run the Cowboys patience thin with the two coaches most likely – at this point still very early in the offseason – to still be with the team moving forward. The Sean Payton news only adds unneeded fuel to this fire, while nine other teams continue to decide on their future head coaches.

Sean Martin
Sean Martin
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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