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Cowboys news: Following the Dan Quinn era, Dallas doesn’t expect a defensive reset

Notable headlines surrounding America’s team.

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Cowboys believe Dan Quinn left strong foundation, aren’t anticipating defensive overhaul - Michael Gehlken, DMN

The work that Dan Quinn did for Dallas is not being thrown out the window.

Internal candidates will interview Monday before external ones interview Tuesday, three people familiar with the schedule told The Dallas Morning News. While the full candidate list was not disclosed, the latter pool is expected to include former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and ex-Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera.

The person hired will have substantial work to fine-tune the unit, but a complete overhaul is not anticipated.

In its final appearance last season, the Dallas defense struggled in several facets during a first-round playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. That included against the run. Shoring up the area is among the offseason points of emphasis, as the Cowboys work to create more opportunities for a Micah Parsons-led pass rush.

That said, the team believes Dan Quinn left a strong foundation off which to build.

Dallas Cowboys assistant Joe Whitt following Dan Quinn to Commanders - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys

The Cowboys lose Joe Whitt to the Commanders.

News broke late Sunday that the Dallas Cowboys have lost another coach to the Washington Commanders, as new head coach Dan Quinn dipped into his old staff to fill a major position on his new one.

Jerry Jones doesn’t foresee major hurdle in DC search - Nick Harris, DallasCowboys.com

One down, three to go.

While Jones said that he doesn't yet "have a timeline" for when a new coordinator could be announced, he did say that he doesn't anticipate head coach Mike McCarthy heading into the final year of his contract as a potential obstacle towards finding a quality coordinator.

"I don't anticipate that being an issue at all," he said. "If they take the job, they will be coordinator of the Cowboys. They would be looking at that right there and all that goes with that. If they're aspiring, they know there's a chance to be a head coach someplace, because the one that just left is."

Cowboys Micah Parsons’ Dan Quinn Message to Commanders: ‘Take Care of my Guy! - Adam Schultz, Sports Illustrated

The lion will see his former mentor soon enough.

“They’re getting a real upstanding, outstanding guy, man,” Parsons told NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe. “I hope those players buy in and play extremely hard for him, and understand that ain’t no one going to love them and care more about them than Dan Quinn.

“So man, please appreciate his presence, appreciate his greatness, and take care of my guy.”

It will be a little odd seeing Quinn lead a rival within the division, but that is football and while Parsons, along with other Cowboys players have built a strong relationship with Quinn, they must now move on.

Senior Bowl Recap: Which potential Cowboys stood out? - Mark Heaney, Inside The Star

The first step of the 2024 draft season has officially concluded.

Wide Reciever Standouts

The Cowboys have invested a lot into the wide receiver position in recent years.

Whether it be drafting CeeDee Lamb in the first round, trading for Brandin Cooks, or extending Michael Gallup, Dallas has put a lot of money and effort into their receiving room.

In this off-season, however, both Cooks and Gallup could become “cap casualties”, leaving Lamb and a few unproven weapons at receiver.

This would leave Dallas in need of at least one rookie wideout, and there were more than a few options that balled out in the Senior Bowl.

Former Georgia Bulldog, Ladd McConkey, is a slot receiver who will be heavily connected to the Cowboys in the draft process.

Ladd McConkey wrapping up a great week at the @seniorbowl

pic.twitter.com/0rvi8dYVVI

— 704 Dawg (@FSFRecruits) February 3, 2024

He is expected to be in the second-round area which would give the Cowboys a chance to address a bigger need like offensive line or linebacker before filling in the receiving corps.

McConkey had a great week of practice and capped it off with a 15-yard grab on one of his two targets on Saturday.

Other big names that will be connected to Dallas are guys like South Carolina’s Xavier Legette, Georgia’s Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, and son of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, USC’s Brenden Rice.

Both Legette and Rice had big moments in practice this week, and Rosemy-Jacksaint capped off the game with an impressive 30-yard touchdown.

NFL Rumors: Cowboys ignoring obvious DC candidates for milquetoast retreads - Alicia de Artola, FanSided

Is Dallas’ DC search too narrow?

Cowboys DC search shouldn’t end with Mike Zimmer or Ron Rivera

So the two defensive coordinator interviews the Cowboys plan to hold from outside the organization are with candidates who haven’t held a similar position in a decade or more.

Don’t get me wrong, Zimmer and Rivera were certainly involved in their defenses when they were head coaches. But that doesn’t help make either a more attractive hire.

Washington’s defense gave up 30.5 points and 388.9 yards per game in 2023, both worst in the NFL.

Zimmer’s Vikings fielded a terrible defense in 2021. Ranking 30th in yards per game with 383.6 and 25th in points per game with 25.5.

The Cowboys would be better off promoting one of their internal candidates like Joe Whitt Jr., who they’d have to beat out the Commanders for, or defensive line coach Aden Durde, who is expected to get an interview.

But there have got to be other external candidates to consider. Go swing for the fences and make former Titans head coach Mike Vrabel an offer he can’t refuse. Talk to former Giants DC Wink Martindale. Take a run at Shane Bowen, who may or may not stay on as Tennessee’s DC.

Settling for retreads like Rivera or Zimmer isn’t the way to go.

3 key traits Cowboys must target in next defensive coordinator - Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire

Both positive and negative, Dallas should learn from the Dan Quinn era.

Control of the sideline

Quinn preferred to coach his defense from the booth upstairs. It gave him an ideal vantage point to read the field and call plays, but it came at a cost. The Cowboys frequently let the momentum of certain situations control the outcome of the game.

Good times became great times, but bad times became terrible times as well. This avalanche of emotion led to the lowest points of the season, including the playoff loss to Green Bay.

A coach on the sideline can better control the emotions there. Like an antidepressant wearing headphones, this coach can smooth out the highs and lows that seemed so prevalent on the sideline in 2023.

A more balanced and tempered approach will hopefully return more disciplined play and give the offense a chance in games that otherwise start poorly. For as respected as Quinn was by his players, his absence in times of distress was felt. Having a leader on the sideline should help alleviate the snowball effect.

Cowboys fanbase losing faith in the team for the 2024 season - David Halprin, BTB

With another season of disappointment, faith becomes that much more difficult to maintain.

The Dallas Cowboys appear to be heading into the offseason of our discontent. After the Green Bay Packers thumping of Dallas in the wild card round. there has been very little to give hope to the fanbase. Jerry Jones decided to keep Mike McCarthy which was far from a universally popular decision. The Cowboys lost defensive coordinator Dan Quinn which generated a split decision, some fans were unhappy while others were looking for new blood.

Even with all that, the Cowboys still have a very talented roster and have put together three seasons of 12-5 records and playoff appearances after all those seasons. They’ve collected two NFC East division titles in those three years, all in all a fair bit of success. But’s it’s the playoffs where the whole thing has come undone.

So that’s what we wanted to ask you about. Heading into the 2024 season with what we know at this point, how well would the Cowboys do? It is the offseason of our discontent as the majority answer was the team would miss the playoffs. 34% said the Cowboys would be sitting on the sidelines when the playoffs begin next year. The next most popular answer was another wild card loss.

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