Cowboys legend praising Mike Zimmer proves Jerry Jones made home run hire

Nov 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA;  Dallas Cowboys former player Darren Woodson (left) is
Nov 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former player Darren Woodson (left) is / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Leave it to Jerry Jones to try to upstage the NFL Honors ceremony. As awards were being announced, it was reported the Dallas Cowboys will hire Mike Zimmer to replace Dan Quinn as their new defensive coordinator.

Jones even took interviews while strolling the red carpet. The owner didn't drop any Zimmer-related clues, but he knew what was in the works behind the scenes. Before the ceremony was over, a plethora of insiders -- national and local -- reported that Zimmer is returning to Dallas for a second stint with the franchise.

Zimmer was among the first candidates to interview for the job and he seemingly left a strong impression on Cowboys leadership. That's no surprise, though, given Zimmer's first stint in Dallas lasted a whopping 13 years.

Zimmer joined the team after its second straight Super Bowl title in 1994. He had the luxury of coaching arguably the greatest Cowboys teams ever assembled, so those players know exactly what he brings to the table.

Look no further than Darren Woodson, who endorsed Zimmer to replace Quinn days before the hire was reported. Woodson believes Zimmer is the guy to "fix the problem" with Dallas' defense, which collapsed down the stretch of 2023.

Darren Woodson praising Mike Zimmer proves Cowboys made great hire

Those are powerful words from Woodson, who played under Zimmer for 10 seasons. He's well aware of Zimmer's hands-on coaching style and noted this Cowboys team needs a "shock to the system." Known for his tenacity, Zimmer is just what the doctor ordered for Dallas, which needs a no-nonsense coach in the worst way.

The former Vikings head coach was fans' preferred choice among the list of candidates. He's renowned for demanding the best from his players, holding them accountable -- even if means chewing them out on the sidelines for everyone to see -- and his ability to switch schemes week-to-week depending on the matchup.

Zimmer was up against a handful of candidates, including current defensive line coach Aden Durde, ex-Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, former Jets boss Rex Ryan and Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel, who was a late add.

Each candidate would have brought something unique to the table, but Zimmer always felt like the favorite.

At the end of the day, the Cowboys defensive scheme just got a major upgrade. It'll be interesting to see how quickly he can get the group up to speed with his system, but it should be firing on all cylinders when it matters most.

Woodson is arguably one of the 10 best defensive players in Cowboys history. The fact he gave Zimmer his seal of approval proves Jerry Jones got this hire right. We suppose the owner was due for a win, but let's not rain on his parade.

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