5 case studies that give the Dallas Cowboys defense hope

Atlanta Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals, Defensive Coordinator, Vance Joseph (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

Vance Joseph

Vance Joseph is another coordinator turned head coach that didn’t turn out the way he envisioned. Joseph bounced around the league before landing the defensive coordinator job in Miami. The Dolphins needed a defensive resurgence as they had the 25th worst defense in the entire league.

Joseph, not wanting to waste the opportunity, quickly transformed this poor defense into the 29th best defense. Ok, I am joking because the Bronco’s hiring of Joseph after he seemingly made the defense worse in Miami was a head-scratching move.

Denver interviewed Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator with Atlanta but went with Joseph instead in a move that John Elway has publicly regretted. Kyle’s father Mike Shanahan led Denver to two Super Bowl victories during his tenure making this move even more bizarre.

Kyle is now the head coach in San Francisco and that franchise has a bright future. Joseph is actually doing quite well as he was hired to become Arizona’s defensive coordinator after being fired in Denver after two subpar years.

Joseph only won 11 games in two seasons in Denver but he now has an Arizona defense on the verge of something special. I put Vance Joseph here on purpose as he is the only person in this slideshow that’s defense actually got worse in his first year back as a full-time defensive coordinator.

His first season in Arizona was a total disaster as the team ranked dead last in total defense. Rookie NFL head coach Kliff Kinsbury stuck with Joseph and the team almost jumped into the top ten in total defense this past season as they finished with the 13th best overall defense.

There are so many more examples of first-time defensive gurus who failed at their first attempt of being a head coach but sometimes you are exactly who you are and nothing more. Wade Phillips was an excellent defensive mind but was mediocre as a head coach.

Coaches like Matt Patricia, Leslie Frazier, Raheem Morris, and Jack Del Rio offer similar findings to the ones above. The Dallas Cowboys should feel confident that this trend should heavily benefit the team moving forward.

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Even after Mike Nolan was fired from his head coaching position in San Francisco, he led two teams’ defense’s into the top ten as a defensive coordinator in his first year back as a defensive coordinator.

It might not be pretty right out of the gate but I expect Quinn to have a better time in Dallas than his predecessor.