The Dallas Cowboys have begun their defensive coordinator search over the weekend. Reportedly they’ve interviewed Atlanta Falcons Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Joe Whitt as well as Carolina Panthers Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Jason Simmons. Both candidates have ties to Mike McCarthy from his time with the Green Bay Packers. However, neither has called a game as a defensive coordinator.
They’re rumored to have interest in former Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator and recently fired Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn. As good as Quinn’s defenses were in the early part of the decade, have to wonder what the difference was in those teams and his Atlanta Falcons’ team that struggled to stop anyone and allowed the most passing yards in the NFL in 2020.
So far, the only name that makes much sense is former Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Despite his tenure with the Bengals coming to an end, Lewis had that team competitive for nearly his entire term as head coach. Playing in the black and blue division of the NFC North, the Bengals regularly hung in there with the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. They won the division four times during his tenure. Though he didn’t have a deep run in the playoffs, his teams were generally competitive.
Over the last ten seasons with the Bengals only twice did his defense finish outside the top 16 in the NFL in points allowed. Six times, the Bengals’ defense was in the top 10 in fewest points allowed. All while coaching for an organization that generally underspent in the scouting and front office departments. He was never the General Manager, but with the limited resources he and his coaching staffs had to do more.
He’s a coach that’s had a ton of success in the NFL as a defensive coordinator and could help get the Cowboys on the right track. Lewis’ Baltimore Ravens defenses of the early 2000’s were some of the best in the history of the NFL, the 2000 team carried an offense led by Trent Dilfer to a championship. He brings a track record of playing both in three and four man base fronts and has shown a willingness to invest in the interior of the defensive line with a guy like Geno Atkins.
Marvin Lewis may not be interested in coming to the Cowboys as he’s working with his long-time friend Herman Edwards for Arizona State University. Also, there’s no telling how he feels after interviewing for the Cowboys only for them to go with their seemingly pre-determined choice in Mike McCarthy.
It may be the popular choice to try a young, up and coming coach as the defensive coordinator, but this team doesn’t need to waste any more time breaking in a young coordinator. They spent the 2019 season doing that with Kellen Moore and though that proved to be worth it, there’s no telling if they’d get the same results with a first-time defensive coordinator.
The Cowboys need to take advantage of all the talent they have on the offensive side of the football and bring in the best option they can to run the defense. The best option on the market at the moment is Marvin Lewis. Even more so than Dan Quinn, Lewis is the defensive coordinator that makes the most sense for this team moving forward. The Cowboys will interview several more candidates along the way, but here’s hoping Marvin Lewis is the one that gets the offer.