The Cowboys suddenly have a vacancy at defensive coordinator, as Dan Quinn accepted the Commanders head coaching job on Thursday. There is already a long list of potential candidates to replace Quinn, but star cornerback Trevon Diggs has made it clear who he prefers:
Al Harris for DC— TRE SEVEN (@TrevonDiggs) February 1, 2024
Al Harris has become a popular name in recent weeks, as the Cowboys’ stellar track record of developing defensive backs has caught the eye of many both inside the Cowboys fan base and around the league. Harris was part of Mike McCarthy’s inaugural coaching staff in Dallas, and he’s one of just six coaches (not counting McCarthy) from that staff to still be around.
Harris is best known for his playing career, though. A sixth-round pick out of Texas A&M-Kingsville back in 1997, Harris had an impressive career that spanned 15 seasons with four different teams. The bulk of his career, though, came with the Packers from 2003 to 2010, the final five seasons of which came under McCarthy’s tenure.
Harris earned a reputation for his physical style of man coverage, which made it hard for receivers to keep pace in their routes. He was also known for his ball hawk skills, as Harris recorded 21 interceptions throughout his career and had four seasons with 3+ picks.
Upon retiring, Harris started out as a coaching intern with the Dolphins before assisting with defensive backs in Kansas City for six seasons. When the Chiefs made a change to their defensive staff, Harris spent the 2019 season out of football, much like McCarthy. However, it wasn’t long before he landed in Dallas with his former head coach.
Since then, Harris has overseen the rapid rise of two young stars at the cornerback position, including Diggs. As we all know, Diggs earned All Pro honors in 2021 when he led the league in interceptions with 11. A year later, rookie DaRon Bland led the team in interceptions despite not becoming a starter until midway through the year. That carried over into this year, when Bland also earned All Pro honors; he led the league in picks with nine and also broke the NFL record for most pick sixes in a single season.
This stellar track record has led many around the league to tab Harris as a rising star, though it was also reported earlier this year that he’s not overly involved in the defensive scheming and instead focuses on player technique. Still, his reputation precedes him, and such a public endorsement from the team’s top defensive back is certainly noteworthy.
Will it actually turn into something? We’re sure to find out in the coming days.