Cowboys To Hire Dan Quinn As DC

The Cowboys have found their new defensive coordinator.’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Dallas has agreed to a deal with former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports (via Twitter) that it’s a three-year deal for the 50-year-old.

Quinn made a name for himself when he served as the Seahawks defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. He played a major role during the ‘Legion of Boom’ era, making a pair of Super Bowl appearances (winning one). He was hired as Falcons head coach in 2015, and he collected 29 wins during his first three years at the helm, including an NFC-winning campaign in 2016. He didn’t finish above. 500 during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and he was let go by Atlanta following an 0-5 start to the 2020 campaign.

Since his firing, there have been rumblings that Quinn should be a popular name for defensive coordinator openings. There were whispers that he could head back to Seattle to help the Seahawks’ struggling defense, and there was speculation he could head to the 49ers if Robert Saleh gets a head coaching job.

Instead, he’ll be heading to Dallas on Mike McCarthy‘s staff. Following a disappointing 2020 campaign where the defense ranked 28th in scoring, the Cowboys let go of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan last week. We learned of Dallas’s interest in Quinn earlier today, with Falcons secondary coach Joe Whitt and Panthers defensive passing game coordinator Jason Simmons also mentioned as candidates for the vacancy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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33 comments on “Cowboys To Hire Dan Quinn As DC

  1. arty!

    Since his last 3 Defenses were in the bottom part of the league, I’d say this is more a good ole boy hiring than any real thought.

    • M Haworth

      I would say that is lazy thinking on your part. Some guys aren’t good HC’s but very good coordinators. Wade Phillips as an example. Vic Fangio is another one even though he’s still the HC in Denver

    • jimmyduz0523

      really… how is this a good ole boy hiring?? Quinn has no ties to the Cowboys organization and no ties to McCarthy. The dude was a pretty good DC in Seattle. Smh

      • Dalton1017

        except for that miracle come back by the cowboys in week 2… maybe he cashed in some of his new salary a bit early

    • justinkm19

      10-6. They just need their QB and Oline back. Defense will be handled in the draft and free agency

      • rct

        Yeah, even as a Giants fan, the Cowboys should be division favorites right now. The division is so awful. I can’t imagine the Giants go more than 8-8 and I don’t think the Eagles or WFT are any better.

        Dak back and even moderate improvements in the draft (they should draft defense in almost every round, imo), they should go 9-7 or better.

        • sovietcanuckistanian

          I agree with you except, thier o-line is a little more fragile/older/not able to handle the wear and tear of 2 years ago even. they need a decent (maybe not spectacular) reinforcement there at some point.

          • earmbrister

            The OL will be getting 3All Pros back next year, as well as their rookie center, who didn’t play much this year due to injury.

            They got decent play from their second and third stringers this year. Offense of line is

            • earmbrister

              …offensive line is the least of the Cowboys issues.

              In the draft it should be D, D, and then more D. CB, DT1, and FS are the biggest priorities.

              • Ak185

                The defense will play better in a scheme more suited to their talents. Quinn will run a Cover 3 based system that is similar to what Kris Richard brought in when he and Marinelli ran the unit. This is somewhat of a sign that McCarthy is giving on his favorite 3-4 concept that Nolan was hired to install-the advantage may be that, should Quinn be inclined to do it, the defense should at least have some slight flexibility to incorporate multiple looks from a 3-4 base that Marinelli would have never used.

                Really the question for me initially is Aldon Smith. I’m not sure how exactly he fits in Quinn’s presumes scheme versus Nolan’s, where he had a clearer role.

  2. Thronson5

    I don’t get the negative posts about him. This is definitely an improvement over Nolan. Yea his last 3 years the defense wasn’t good but that also has to do with the talent he had. Not saying Dallas has better talent but I definitely think they’ll be better coached. All up to Jerry to get the guy more talent on defense though, should be his main target through draft since they won’t have a ton of cap space to spend.

    • krillin89

      I get the negative posts. People just like to complain. Pick a post, any post, you will find a complainer

  3. markdavisbarber

    I believe that Danny Quinn is a better choice then say…. Gus Bradley

    Just saying?

  4. M Haworth

    Not a Cowboys fan but this is a very good hire. He was the key to the LOB playing to their ceiling. Once he left, the defense slowly began to deteriorate.

  5. Yep it is

    Is he going to be DC for defense or defense for Jerra not picking his nose on National TV?

    • earmbrister

      You bring that up with every Cowboys’ story. You seem a bit fixated on nose picking …

  6. MileHighFan

    Quinn’s defenses in Seattle 7 or 8 years ago were pretty good – but the question always is whether it is the players or the scheme. He didn’t show much with his defenses in Atlanta, now did he?

    • Ak185

      That’s because Seattle’s scheme was actually pretty simple. It relied on the star players doing what they each excelled at doing individually, and the roleplayers filling in behind them.

      Wagner and Wright were extremely athletic and intelligent backers who could control large zones underneath. Chancellor provided reinforcement against the run and also could be the robber in Cover 1 in the mid range zone. Sherman and Browner (later Maxwell) played aggressive press on one side of the field so that they didn’t have to complicate coverages by switching off or changing roles. This also allowed Sherman to gamble on jumping passes by reading the QB. The only reason that any of this was possible was because Thomas was rangy enough to cover the entire backend and reinforce any of the aforementioned secondary. The scheme was less about playcalling than it was about putting the players in position to maximize their talents. Quinn needed the right people, and needed to manage them.

      Apparently he was not very good at adapting said scheme to differently talented players. Gus Bradley was a bit more involved in getting that defense on its feet, but that doesn’t mean that Quinn did not contribute. His ability to motivate and bond with his players was essential to that scheme, and is why his Falcons player so hard for him, despite the fact that he never really got it right in Atlanta due to his inability to adapt the fundamentals of his scheme to the players that he had.

  7. Simmons>Russ

    I know it sounds absolutely crazy but I’d trade away Ezekiel Elliott, pay Dak Prescott his money.

    Draft Patrick Surtain the ball hawking CB 10th overall, pick up Earl Thomas from FA to play safety and then with your second round pick take either Najee Harris or Travis Eitenee as your new starting RB.

    Yes you lose one of the best RBs but you then can afford to pay Dak and get in a star safety, then pick up a really good CB and RB in the draft to replace Elliott and help fix up your defence.

    • Simmons>Russ

      You’d have plenty of teams interested in Elliott as many teams need to improve their running games. Dolphins have extra picks and could be an option, Jets also have an extra first this year and could upgrade at RB.

      • Ak185

        I often like reading your trade ideas (they’re usually intriguing), but Zeke’s contract at the very least will make this deal tougher than it would be otherwise. Pollard isn’t great, but he’s good, and should be enough to operate with in the meantime. However, I’m not sure that the Cowboys have any reason to dump Elliott next year.

        They might still draft Surtain if they wanted to without the Elliott trade, or Harris or Etienne if so desired (though I see Pollard and Etienne as similar style backs). They will likely draft a safety or press zone corner I think, or a defensive tackle. Those positions might be more critical to their new defense, and I doubt they need to move Zeke to make that happen. Who would they deal with? Miami? I’m sure Dallas wouldn’t let Elliott go for less than a 1st round pick. The team getting him would have to give that up and acquire a huge contract for a back coming off a down year.

    • crb15

      It doesn’t sound crazy. They should’ve traded him before he signed that big contract. Any decent RB would’ve looked good behind their oline and most likely would’ve put up 1000+ yards rushing (before all the injuries this year of course). It would’ve freed up money to spend elsewhere (CB & FS come to mind). Plus there are always some pretty good RBs every draft that can be had in rounds 2-4. They might not be as good as Zeke, but definitely good enough for what they need.

      • Ak185

        That’s thing though-“before the contract” and “after the contract” are two very different deals. Wanting to trade zeke and being able to do so are also two very different realities. Trading him for the sake of trading him will be worse than not doing so. It’s not as if he wouldn’t provide value to the Cowboys. For the record I do believe that Dallas overpaid, but it’s not as if Zeke is useless.

  8. bostonbob

    Ya, good move Dallas. Dan did such a good job these last few years with his defense. Does 28-3 ring a bell? Falcons haven’t accomplished anything since. Cowboys will NEVER win another championship as long as Jerry is the gym.

  9. phillyballers

    Its probably unlikely, but if the dolphins pass on Penei, trading up to 4 to get him would be my move. As bad as the defense was, Smith is on the way out. They will have to restructure a few contracts just to retain Dak. Probably need to look to FA for a DB.

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