The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs this season and a large reason why was the performance of their defense. Week in and week out it seemed like opposing offenses put up record performances against the Cowboys and as a result the organization moved on from defensive coordinator Mike Nolan last week.
Dallas wasted no time getting to work on finding a replacement and were connected to a number of people, some of whom had previous experience with head coach Mike McCarthy. Ultimately, the Cowboys found their man and it is someone who was on the other side of their most thrilling victory to date under McCarthy.
The Dallas Cowboys have hired Dan Quinn to be their next defensive coordinator
An interesting point about Quinn’s arrival in Dallas is that he is reportedly signing a three-year deal with the team. This puts him on the same timeline as offensive coordinator Kellen Moore who just signed an extension with the club. The brain-trust is set for the foreseeable future.
Quinn’s highest level of success to date in the NFL came with the Seattle Seahawks. He served as their defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, both years in which the team made it to the Super Bowl, and was an integral part of their world championship-winning staff in 2013. This was the last time that Quinn held the role of defensive coordinator in the NFL until now as he is the newest one for the Dallas Cowboys.
Source: The #Cowboys have an agreement for Dan Quinn to be their new DC— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2021
It should be said that one of the more important details regarding Quinn’s success in Seattle was that his defense was filled with perennial talents like Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Bobby Wagner (there were many others that were less notable). Another name that played a big role in those defenses was cornerback Richard Sherman, who just so happens to be a free agent this offseason by the way.
Sherman said on the podcast that he co-hosts with NBC’s Cris Collinsworth back in October that “if you change coordinators and they go back to foundational fundamentals of running a certain defense then I think they’ll have better results.” The basic principles of what Dan Quinn will bring to the Cowboys are theoretically similar to the ones that they ran under pseudo-defensive coordinator Kris Richard as they worked together with the Seahawks, and while they didn’t yield a ton of success under Richard, perhaps a return to that idea will be helpful for everyone involved as the talent for Quinn in Dallas certainly won’t be what it was in Seattle.
Dan Quinn is yet another former head coach that Mike McCarthy will have on his staff
When McCarthy filled his staff out a year ago it became clear that he was targeting people with experience serving as a head coach. Mike Nolan was a former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers as was defensive line coach Jim Tomsula (who was let go on the same day as Nolan). Offensive line coach Joe Philbin served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins while special teams coordinator John Fassel was the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Rams after Jeff Fisher was fired in 2016.
Dan Quinn’s only experience as a head coach to date has come with the Atlanta Falcons. Altogether the Falcons went 43-42 during his time as he was fired by them after an 0-5 start to this season which incidentally featured a 19-point blown lead to the Cowboys.
The best Falcons defense under Dan Quinn was inarguably the 2017 squad. That was the only season in which they finished in the top 10 in either points or yards allowed (they were within the top 10 in both) which was certainly impressive considering it was the team’s very first season since their Super Bowl collapse.
Perhaps that is the most important detail associated with Dan Quinn. By all accounts he is seemingly a great leader of men and motivator which is something that this Cowboys defense could drastically use. You can hear our full conversation with The Falcholic’s Jeanna Kelley at the link above for a 101 on Quinn’s time with the Falcons.
Interestingly enough, Mike Nolan was the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator for the three years that preceded Dan Quinn’s arrival as head coach. Here’s to hoping that the new Cowboys defensive coordinator will be much better than the last one.
Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys, Dan Quinn.