When Mike McCarthy was hired as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, he brought former San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan with him to coach the defense. That wound up being a complete disaster as they were 28th in the NFL in points surrendered that year as Nolan seemed to struggle with every phase of the game.
Unsurprisingly, they let Nolan go that offseason, and in came Dan Quinn, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Quinn instantly improved the defense and was somehow retained despite heavy interest this offseason as a head coach.
Now with eight games in the books this season, the Dallas defense is again playing well. But how does Quinn grade out when looking at their performance in 2022 as a whole? Here, we will grade each aspect of the defense.
Grading Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn midway through 2022
Cowboys run defense
We’ll start out with the weak spot. Dallas hasn’t been great this season when it comes to stopping the run. Only six teams have given up more yardage on the ground than the 1,081 that the Cowboys have. They did add Johnathan Hankins to play the nose tackle position and hopefully slow opponents down, but they were gashed for 240 yards in his first appearance against the Bears.
That wasn’t on him, especially with Justin Fields running for 60 yards mostly by escaping the pass rush. Having said all that, the run defense needs to improve going forward, especially considering they’re going to eventually have to beat the Philadelphia Eagles who have been strong on the ground thanks to Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts.