Dan Quinn catches Cowboys sleeping with genius addition to Commanders staff

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams / Harry How/GettyImages

It ultimately wasn't surprising that Dan Quinn left the Dallas Cowboys for a head coaching job. What caught fans off guard was that Quinn ended up in Washington. In the weeks since, Quinn has poached multiple Cowboys assistants, including Joe Whitt Jr. to be his defensive coordinator and Sharrif Floyd to oversee the Commanders defensive line.

Quinn has tried to further pillage Mike Zimmer's defensive staff. The Cowboys blocked an approach for defensive backs coach Al Harris as well as veteran tight ends coach Lunda Wells.

Despite Dallas' denials, Quinn's coaching staff is starting to take shape. Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator is the most recognizable addition, but Washington has also hired Larry Izzo as its special teams coach, John Pagano as a special defensive assistant and stole Bobby Johnson from the Giants to preside over the offensive line.

Quinn's latest hire, though, is someone we were hoping the Cowboys would consider for Mike McCarthy's staff. That coach? Former Chargers boss Anthony Lynn, who will be Washington's run-game coordinator.

Dan Quinn catches Cowboys sleeping with nifty Anthony Lynn hire

This is a genius move by Quinn. Lynn served as the 49ers assistant head coach and running backs coach for the last two seasons. Kyle Shanahn obviously deserves most of the credit for San Francisco's prolific rushing attack, but it's no coincidence their run game took off following Lynn's arrival in 2022.

Under Lynn's guidance, running back Christian McCaffrey was a First-Team All-Pro for the second time in his career this season and he won his first-ever NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.

In Lynn's eight season as either a head coach, offensive coordinator or high-ranking offensive assistant, six of them finished top 11 in rushing EPA per play. That includes two No. 1 finishes (2016 with Buffalo and 2023 with the 49ers) and three top-five finishes.

A former running back who won two Super Bowls with the Broncos in the 1990s, Lynn has produced successful rushing attacks at all of his stops as a coach. He got a bad rep towards the end of his Chargers tenure, but it says a lot that he continues to be a hot commodity during the coaching carousel every year.

We're all aware how much the Cowboys run game struggled in 2023. Lynn would have been worth a long look to work out the kinks. Improved offensive line play and a more balanced group of RBs (and having a healthy starter for a full season) would help the cause but at some point it comes down to scheme and play design.

Lynn would have moved mountains in that regard. A McKinney, Texas native, we can't help but wonder if Lynn relished the thought of returning home to coach the Cowboys. Alas, Dallas will face him twice a year in Washington next season.

Credit to Quinn. He caught the Cowboys snoozing.

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