It won't be easy to replace Dan Quinn, but the Dallas Cowboys have staged interviews with multiple defensive coordinator candidates this week. It's been a long road back to the top for Quinn, but his departure leaves the Cowboys with a cavernous hole on their coaching staff.
The interview process (seemingly) isn't over, but reports suggest the search could conclude before the weekend. Could that be because there's a presumptive favorite to get the job?
It hasn't taken long for Cowboys fans to identify Mike Zimmer as their top choice to replace Quinn. While the team hasn't exactly cast a wide net to find their new defensive play-caller, Zimmer checks all of the boxes Jerry Jones wants in his coordinators.
On Tuesday -- not long after Zimmer interviewed with Dallas -- NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport spoke very highly of the former Vikings head coach. The overall tone of Rapoport's report left us with the impression that Zimmer is the odds on favorite for the job.
Cowboys Rumors: Insider hints Mike Zimmer is favorite for defensive coordinator job
Rapoport noted that both Rivera and Zimmer are being considered, but the insider slipped a telling nugget during his hit: Zimmer still has a house in Dallas. Who saw that coming? Taking that, as well as Zimmer's previous stint and working relationship with the Joneses into consideration, it's hard not to view Zimmer as the favorite.
Zimmer is up against the likes of ex-Commanders boss Ron Rivera and Cowboys defensive line coach Aden Durde. Now-former defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. was set to interview on Monday, but he took the bird in hand and followed Dan Quinn to become Washington's defensive coordinator.
There have been whispers that Wink Martindale is also in the mix, but the former Giants DC hasn't taken an interview. It remains to be seen if Martindale, who's interviewed for two defensive coordinator vacancies this hiring cycle, will even land an interview at this rate as the search could conclude this week.
Zimmer, meanwhile, checks the all-important previous head coach box and the Cowboys seemingly still have great respect for him from his initial stint with the franchise. In 1994, Zimmer served as Dallas' assistant coach before he was promoted to defensive backs coach in 1995. He manned that post for five years until he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000, which he held until 2006.
Maybe we're totally off-base, but the stars appear to be aligning for Zimmer to return to the Cowboys for his second stint in charge of the defense.