Is Dan Quinn the Cowboys next defensive coordinator?
Dan Quinn could be the next defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys
On Friday, the Dallas Cowboys announced the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Nolan failed to effectively install a new defensive scheme in Dallas after COVID-19 forced offseason activities to be virtual-only, led to the cancellation of the preseason entirely, and limited training camps.
The Cowboys’ defense struggled to learn the new, more complicated defensive scheme and it resulted in the team losing seven of their first nine games. The defense in Dallas did show improvement over their last four games, resulting in a three-game winning streak.
But it wasn’t enough to save their season, with their playoffs hope being dashed after losing to the New York Giants in the final game of the season. The end result was a 6-9 record, far below the expectations many had after Mike McCarthy was hired to replace Jason Garrett in his first season as the head coach of America’s Team.
Now the focus turns to filling the vacant defensive coordinator position in Big D. Here’s what Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweeted on Friday about a potential candidate to replace Nolan that unnamed sources indicated the Cowboys have already had internal discussions about.
"“Mike McCarthy’s past three defensive coordinator hires — Dom Capers, Mike Pettine and Mike Nolan — were former head coaches. Ex-Falcons coach Dan Quinn is among candidates who have been internally discussed to replace Nolan, sources said.”"
Dan Quinn was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-2020. During his first three seasons with the Falcons, Quinn led the team to 8-8, 11-5, and 10-6 records respectively. That run included two playoff berths with a Super Bowl appearance in 2016.
Prior to this past season, Quinn’s Falcons posted a 7-9 losing record in back-to-back years. He was fired after Atlanta lost their first five games of the 2020 regular season, including a 40-39 last-minute loss to the Cowboys in Week Two.
Quinn entered the NFL in 2001 working as defensive quality control for the San Francisco 49ers. He’d get promoted to defensive line coach two years later and occupy that same position with the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and the Seattle Seahawks in the years to follow.
After a two-year stint as the defensive coordinator at the University of Flordia, Quinn would return to the Seahawks to become their DC from 2013-2014. Seattle would go to the Super Bowl for each of those two seasons, bringing home the Lombardi Trophy in Quinn’s first year as defensive coordinator.
During his two-year run solely as an NFL defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn helped to lead the Seattle Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. And his defenses ranked number one in total defense, scoring defense, and passing defense in each of those seasons. There aren’t very many candidates available with that kind of track record.