3 coaches who can replace Cowboys DC Dan Quinn if he’s a HC next year

Dan Quinn, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports)
Dan Quinn, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cowboys, Vic Fangio
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 02: Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos walks the sidelines during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

It was once inevitable that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would be leaving the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. He was considered a finalist for two head coaching jobs, the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos. Quinn also interviewed with the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, and Miami Dolphins.

However, Quinn shared on Thursday that he will be staying with the Cowboys for the 2022 season, after both the Broncos and Bears selected other candidates.

After Quinn got fired from the Atlanta Falcons’ head coaching job in 2020, the Cowboys took a chance on him to fix their defense. And he did just that.

In 2020, the Cowboys gave up 29.6 points per game and 158.8 rush yards per game, both ranked bottom five. This season, those averages dropped to 21.2 points allowed per game and 115.9 rush yards allowed per game.

Dan Quinn is staying with the Cowboys, but who could’ve replaced him if he left or can replace him if Quinn becomes a head coach next year?

The Cowboys quickly went from one of the worst defenses to a top 10 defense in the matter of one season, thanks to Quinn.

Did the Cowboys have their flaws? Yes. No doubt, they still gave up big plays, but this defense came a long way from 2020. As a result, teams saw this improvement of this Cowboys’ defense and credited it to Quinn. So, it wasn’t surprising that he was a favorite to land a head coaching position once again.

It was evident that the DC leaving for another team was likely going to hurt many players, especially linebacker Micah Parsons. The rookie star shares a special relationship with him.

Nonetheless, all that can go out the window as the Cowboys will be getting Quinn back for another season. With another year of Quinn, hopefully, the Cowboys can pick up right where they left off this season and be even better in 2022. Plus, as of Friday morning, there are reports that Quinn signed a multi-year extension with the team. If he stays in Dallas, will he remain DC? Will another team still try to sign him next year? Could he replace McCarthy as head coach?

In the interest of being prepared, here are three coaches who could have replaced Quinn this year or who can replace him if he isn’t the Cowboys DC next year (assuming none of them get hired).

3. Vic Fangio

The recently fired head coach of the Denver Broncos finds himself unemployed for the first time since 2010. After three short seasons with Denver, Fangio will have to look for a job elsewhere, possibly just sticking to defense.

Although it may be a long shot to get Fangio, he has the experience to continue building the Cowboys’ defense. He has been a defensive coordinator for 19 seasons for five different teams. Here’s a timeline of his coaching career to date.

1995-1998- Carolina Panthers (DC)

1999-2001- Indianapolis Colts (DC)

2002-2005- Houston Texans (DC)

2011-2014- San Franciso 49ers (DC)

2015-2018- Chicago Bears (DC)

2019-2021- Denver Broncos (HC)

Remember, the Chicago Bears’ stout defense in 2018? That was Fangio’s doing. That year, the Bears were first in points allowed per game (17.7), third in yards allowed (4,795), first in takeaways (36), and first in rush yards allowed per game (80).

How about the 2011 San Francisco 49ers? Under Fangio, the defense ranked second in points allowed per game (14.3), first in turnovers (38), first in rush yards allowed per game (77.25), and rushing touchdowns allowed for the season (3).

The track record is there and he has been a successful defensive coordinator for many seasons. If Quinn has a future elsewhere and Fangio isn’t picked up by another organization, he could do great things with the Cowboys