It is no secret that Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is in quite the spot this season. Many believe that should the Cowboys not have high levels of success in 2022 that the team would look to move on from McCarthy after only three years of service. Obviously much of this will depend on the context of how this season goes, but a big reason for the never-ending drama is the seemingly never-ending list of possible candidates to take McCarthy’s post.
Sean Payton is the most discussed names when it comes to potential future Cowboys head coaches. Given that he is seemingly available, he now makes more sense than ever although it would obviously take some discussion and agreement by the New Orleans Saints to part ways with him.
The Cowboys could of course look in-house to replace McCarthy if things came to that, and while for a long time it felt like Kellen Moore would be the hottest name on that block, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has somewhat superseded him. It certainly helps that Quinn has head coaching experience already and that 100% of his tenure with the team has been exquisite and obviously he (along with Moore) interviewed for head coaching opportunities this past cycle.
On the subject of that, Quinn recently spoke to USA Today and touched on the awkwardness (our word, not his) with how he is perceived as a potential option waiting to replace Mike McCarthy. He noted that he offered to McCarthy to leave if he preferred that but that the head coach said he wanted him to stay.
Instead, when that speculation mounted amid Quinn’s interview circuit, Quinn went directly to McCarthy.
“I was like, ‘Hey man, let’s talk about it and see what you think,’” Quinn said he told McCarthy. “‘If it’s easier for to me go, just say the word and I’m gone.’”
Quinn says McCarthy paused.
“Then he kind of laughed and said, ‘You know, if this was 10 years ago, I’d say yeah, it would help for you to go. But I don’t want to say that right now.’
“‘Because I think winning is better with you here.’”
The important thing here is that McCarthy wanted Dan Quinn to stick around. It speaks to McCarthy’s confidence in his own positioning and an acknowledgment that Dan Quinn obviously does make the Cowboys better.
But the wording here is interesting. Did Dan Quinn have an absolute offer that he turned down? By saying “just say the word and I’m gone” it certainly sounds like he had another option secured. Again we know that he interviewed for multiple head coaching opportunities and that he wanted to stick around with the Cowboys, but obviously none of those teams have publicly said that they were turned down by Quinn.
Also if we are fully discussing this, while it is noble of Quinn to go to McCarthy to talk about this subject talking about that after the fact doesn’t exactly help squash this idea. Clearly Quinn is aware of how much people connect him to the head coaching position in Dallas and while he obviously wanted to be sensitive to McCarthy about that bringing it up a month before the season starts is a little bit interesting.