It was announced on Wednesday that former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had accepted the role of head coach for the Washington Commanders. It concludes a three-season tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. In each of those three seasons, the Cowboys won 12 games and their defense was among the top statistical units across the league. Despite this, Quinn’s time in Dallas ended on a sour note when the team lost 48-32 to the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round. Losing to the seventh seed Packers at home was bad, but the way the Cowboys got dismantled on the defensive side of the ball made it even worse.
Given his last performance, many Cowboys fans on social media are rejoicing in Quinn’s acceptance of the Commanders role. Many fans were unhappy with the team’s decision to bring back head coach Mike McCarthy, and were hoping for at least some form of change heading into next season. Now the Cowboys will have to make a massive decision on who leads this talented defensive unit in 2024.
It feels as though some fans are being a prisoner of the moment, and forgetting how good the Cowboys defense was throughout Quinn’s time as coordinator.
The Dallas Cowboys defense during Dan Quinn’s tenure as defensive coordinator:— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) February 1, 2024
21.1 ppg allowed (7th)
351.0 ypg allowed (19th)
34 takeaways (1st)
20.1 ppg allowed (6th)
330.2 ypg allowed (12th)
33 takeaways (1st)
18.5 ppg (5th)
299.7 ypg (5th)
26 takeaways… pic.twitter.com/kUPSz4xw5D
It was just four years ago when the Cowboys defense was historically bad under former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in 2020. In that season, the organization ranked 28th in the league in scoring defense (29.6 points per game), 31st in rushing defense (158.8 yards per game), and set the franchise record for points allowed in a season (473).
One could argue that things got better for the Cowboys with the addition of Micah Parsons, who was drafted in Quinn’s first season with the team. Parsons has arguably been the best defensive player in the NFL since joining the Cowboys, and has been a massive boost for the defensive unit. However, it could be countered that Parsons never reaches his potential if not for the development under Quinn.
It is understandable to be frustrated over the loss the Cowboys suffered in the playoffs this season. The Cowboys had the opportunity to prove the critics wrong and make a deep playoff run. They failed to take advantage of that opportunity. However, not all change is good change. The defensive production for the organization was the best in decades under Quinn. It will be hard for the next coordinator to replicate that production in 2024.
You guys are gonna miss Dan Quinn. Some of you really forgot what that Mike Nolan year looked like and it shows— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) February 1, 2024