The Dallas Cowboys aren't exactly casting a wide net to replace Dan Quinn. As of this writing, the team is interviewing defensive line coach Arden Durde, ex-Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, whom Quinn ironically replaced in Washington, as well as old friend Mike Zimmer.
Given Zimmer's ties to the Cowboys and Mike McCarthy, it feels like Zimmer is the favorite to get the job. Zimmer was a defensive assistant for Dallas for six seasons before he was named defensive coordinator in 2000. He also coached against McCarthy in the NFC North for eight seasons.
The Cowboys also are seemingly set on hiring a DC who has previous head coaching experience. Zimmer checks all of the boxes.
With Joe Whitt Jr. following Quinn to become the Commanders' DC, could Dallas add more names to its list of candidates? It sure seems like it. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, but Bryan Broaddus of 105.3 The Fan noted over the weekend that Wink Martindale is "in the mix" for the job.
Cowboys Rumors: Wink Martindale in the mix to replace Dan Quinn
Martindale is an interesting candidate, but he comes with significant risk. Martindale loves to bring pressure via the blitz, which in turn puts pressure on cornerbacks to hold up in man coverage. The Cowboys have the horses in Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland to make Martindale's scheme work, but the aggressive approach allows a greater possibility for splash plays, which plagued Quinn's defense this season.
A blitz-heavy sceheme isn't foreign language to Dallas' current defense, but Quinn was hardly reliant on the blitz. This past season, the Cowboys ranked 13th in the NFL with a 28.5% blitz rate. Martindale's Giants ranked second at a whopping 45.4%.
That's not to say Martindale couldn't work in Dallas. His track record as a defensive coordinator speaks for itself. The Giants don't boast a ton of talent on defense, and yet they tied Baltimore for the most takeaways (31) of any team during the regular season.
What could nix Wink from consideration, though, is the fact he's never been a head coach. Multiple Cowboys insiders have reported the team want Quinn's replacement to have previous experience as a head coach. Wink has been a DC in seven seasons and has worked as a defensive assistant for nearly 20 years.
Martindale proved in 2023 that he can still call a defense with the best of them, but if it's a choice between Martindale and Zimmer, the Cowboys should hire the latter every single time even though he's been out of the league for two years.
Who knows if Martindale will even get an interview with Dallas, but the fact they're even kicking the tires on the ex-Giants DC is a shocker.