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, Mike zimmer
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – OCTOBER 03: Head coach Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter in the game against the Cleveland Browns at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

1. Mike Zimmer

Could a reunion be in store for Mike Zimmer and the Cowboys? Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys from 2000 to 2006. In the early years of Zimmer in Dallas, it was quite rough. His defenses in 2000 and 2001 weren’t the best.

In 2000, they ranked 22nd in points allowed (22.6 ppg), 19th in yards allowed per game (333), and 31st in rush yards allowed (164.75 per game). However, they did manage to rank third in passing yards against, partially because teams ran it more against them.

Then, in 2001, the defense got better. They lowered their points per game allowed (21.1), yards allowed per game (287 – which actually ranked fourth in the league), and they only gave up 106.75 rush yards per game, a 58-yard difference from 2000.

As Zimmer became more familiar with the defense, this unit finally took off in 2003, their best season under him. They were top 10 in almost every statistical defensive category. Most importantly, they were getting stops. The Cowboy allowed just 16.3 points per game, second-best in 2003. Additionally, they were the third-best run defense and best pass defense in the league that season.

Zimmer did have his flaws with his time in Dallas. The 2004 season under him was arguably just as bad as the 2020 Cowboys’ defense. Well, maybe not on that level, but it wasn’t good. Nonetheless, Zimmer has the experience leading solid defenses like the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008-2013, where his team finished top 10 in points and yards allowed in four of six seasons.

Also, having a solid relationship with owner Jerry Jones can go a long way. When Jones likes someone, he will go out of his way to get what he wants. Now with Zimmer’s head coaching days potentially over, being a defensive coordinator for America’s Team again might have a nice ring to it.