The Dallas Cowboys are officially in the market for a new defensive coordinator after the Washington Commanders hired Dan Quinn to be their head coach. It's a surprising end to a whirling coaching carousel, but it leaves the Cowboys with huge hole on their coaching staff.
Quinn isn't leaving on the best of terms, but he was a players coach and outstanding leader. Most notably, he formed a close bond with Micah Parsons, who was drafted the same year Quinn was hired as defensive coordinator.
Though a generational talent, Parsons was a three-time All-Pro under Quinn's watch. He twice finished runner up in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Quinn helped unlock Parsons and converted him to a full-time edge rusher after his groundbreaking rookie year.
It's clear Parsons will be sad to see Quinn leave, but winning is the defender's ultimate goal and Quinn didn't give Dallas a winning game plan in the playoffs against the Packers.
In making his first public comments since the loss, Parsons said the Cowboys were "out-coached" and "out-schemed." He even questioned why he wasn't moved to linebacker in the game as well as the defensive play calls and personnel groupings.
Cowboys' Micah Parsons called out Dan Quinn's game plan in playoff loss vs Packers
Parsons and Quinn might be tight, but Parsons always call it like it is. Matt LaFleur coached circles around Quinn. LaFleur designed plays that ran at and away from Parsons. The Packers used chip blocks and motion to further limit the All-Pro's impact.
It worked to perfection, as Parsons finished with two tackles, three pressures and one quarterback hit. Furthermore, his 62.2 defensive grade was his third-lowest mark of the season, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
That's just one of the things that went awry for the Cowboys in that game, but Parsons' analysis will make fans thankful for Quinn's departure, even if it leaves the team without a defensive coordinator and minimal attractive replacement options.
At the end of the day, Quinn was night and day as Cowboys DC compared to his predecessor Mike Nolan. The regular seasons were always fun, but his weaknesses got exposed in games (often big ones) against smart offensive coaches and the Kyle Shanahan tree was always going to give him fits, if not beat him.
Parsons is a class act, so he didn't call Quinn out by name. However, terms like "out schemed" and questioning why he wasn't moved to linebacker to help the Cowboys' floundering defense felt like indirect shots at Quinn.
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