We heard earlier today that Cowboys secondary coach Joe Whitt has emerged as the lead candidate to take over as his team’s defensive coordinator. At the same time, it sounded like the coach he’d be replacing in Dallas, Dan Quinn, still loomed as a suitor in Washington. We haven’t gotten any more clarity since then, but the sweepstakes continue to get more interesting.
Earlier this evening, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reported that Quinn and the Commanders were expected to hire Whitt as their defensive coordinator. However, Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes Whitt-to-Washington isn’t a done deal, and the Cowboys continue to be in play. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News adds that the Commanders are simply working on scheduling an interview with Whitt.
The long-time coach would be a logical candidate for both roles. Whitt had a long stint working alongside Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, and the two teamed up again in Dallas. Whitt also worked alongside Quinn in both Dallas and Atlanta, so it’s natural that both head coaches are pursuing a familiar face for their respective coordinator vacancies.
Whitt has been with the Cowboys since 2021, serving as the team’s secondary coach and pass game coordinator. Under his tutelage, both Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland have earned first-team All-Pro nods, and he’s also helped guide a formidable safeties corps that features the likes of Jayron Kearse, Donovan Wilson, and Malik Hooker. The 45-year-old has served as the defensive pass game coordinator in Dallas, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Green Bay, so it’d be a natural progression for him to earn a promotion to defensive coordinator.
While the Cowboys continue to be in the running, it sounds like the team is expanding their list of coordinator candidates. According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Ron Rivera is slated to interview for the Cowboys DC job next week, perhaps a hint that Dallas isn’t confident about their ability to retain Whitt.
Rivera was fired by the Commanders last month, but he’s since become a popular coordinator candidate. He earned interviews with both the Rams and Eagles, but both organizations decided to go in different directions. He sounds like he could now be a fallback option for the Cowboys, who are now in the market for a defensive coordinator with Quinn having been named Washington’s new head coach.
Watkins passes along another potential name to watch for the Cowboys DC job: Mike Zimmer. The former Vikings head coach is interested in the job, a source told Watkins, although it’s uncertain if that interest has been reciprocated.
Zimmer spent more than a decade in Dallas, ultimately serving as the team’s defensive coordinator. He had the same job with the Falcons and Bengals before being named the Vikings head coach in 2014. He lasted eight seasons in Minnesota, earning three playoff appearances. After he was fired following the 2021 campaign, he spent a season as a consultant at Jackson State.