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Why Dan Quinn is going to rule HBO’s “Hard Knocks”

The Cowboys defensive coordinator should be an entertaining personality.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

After years of watching HBO’s Hard Knocks, we know what they like. One thing they most definitely like is entertaining, engaging coaches. They also like a dramatic storyline. Those two elements are about to meet as Dan Quinn seems to be the coach they want, and the Dallas defense is a storyline they need. As such, we should be getting plenty of Quinn when the show debuts.

We’ve already spent plenty of time talking about Quinn the coach. There have been his one-on-one sessions with certain players on defense, there has been his willingness to get into to the drills personally, and we’re also learning that he is a pretty unique guy in the meeting room.

The other day we heard Mike McCarthy say that Quinn spent ten minutes teaching players how to take notes. That seemed unusual enough in its own right, but the method he used is sure to catch HOB’s camera eyes.

The Cowboys’ new coordinator offered a challenge during a meeting. To quote a certain hip hop group, it was “tricky — tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky.” The fast-talking coach from New Jersey used a Run DMC song to encourage his defense to keep pace whenever Quinn is installing defensive concepts.

“It’s Tricky” wasn’t the Run DMC song that Quinn chose.

Instead, in a hotel ballroom, he played Sucker MC’s. The 1983-released track begins: “Two years ago, a friend of mine, asked me to say some M.C. rhymes. So I said this rhyme, I’m about to say. The rhyme was Def; a-then it went this way.”

Quinn instructed players to take handwritten notes during the song but not of every lyric.

That would be impractical.

Instead, critically listen to the song as it went. Search for the most relevant message. Jot that down.

Points to the coach for thinking outside of the box. This isn’t something that Quinn has done before, at least recently, as Keanu Neal relayed that in his five years with Quinn he had never done this. The players came away with a mixed-bag of success. Neal said he got maybe two words, Damontae Kazee said he got 10. Micah Parsons commented:

“All I got was, shoot, I don’t even remember,” said linebacker Micah Parsons, a rookie first-round pick. “I had one sentence. It just went way too fast for me. …He was like, ‘Everything I say, you’re not going to [write] it down. But you’ve got to take in the key message of what I’m trying to say. Take in what you understand, not everything I say, so that way it translates to you.’”

Transforming the Cowboys defense is Quinn’s number one job, and it looks like he will use everything at his disposal to get there. If he manages to bring the defense into decent territory, then the Cowboys are legitimate contenders.

One things for sure, we’re going to see plenty of that attempt at transformation on Hard Knocks. They won’t be able to resist Quinn.

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