Dan Quinn

Cowboys’ Micah Parsons To Play More Versatile Role In 2023?

Micah Parsons has established himself as one of the league’s most productive defenders during his first two years in the NFL. The two-time Cowboys All-Pro has also shown a intriguing degree of versatility with respect to his alignments, something which could be taken a step further this season.

Parsons was drafted as an inside linebacker following his college career, but he quickly showed an ability to be a disruptive force off the edge. That led to the expectation that a full-time position switch to defensive end could be coming, but head coach Mike McCarthy made it clear last offseason that Parsons would instead remain a movable chess piece on Dallas’ defense.

The 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year logged 738 snaps along the defensive line last season, per PFF, adding 737 as a stand-up outside linebacker. Parsons’ 13.5 sacks showed how effective he can be in those alignments and earned him a top-10 finish in MVP voting. Instances in which he handled other duties (including in coverage) could lead to an even more varied workload moving forward.

“Just playing chess, being able to move around,” Parsons said, via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News“I think that’s the special ability that I have or I want to incorporate. We’re doing a lot of special things. I don’t want to give a lot away right now. But it’s going to be a really cool year. I’m probably going to play eight positions this year.”

While that figure may be on the high side, both the Penn State alum and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn acknowledged that training camp will be used as a testing ground to determine where Parsons can line up in different situations. He will still spend considerable time as an edge rusher, of course, meaning his endeavor to increase his playing weight will be one of significance.

Parsons is aiming to bring himself to 255 pounds (after spending last season at 245) to be better equipped to handle life at the line of scrimmage, but also to preserve what could be a very highly decorated career. By the time the season starts, he will likely have bulked up and the Cowboys will have spent time during the summer devising more unique ways to deploy him.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

DeMeco Ryans Advancing In Broncos’ Search; Sean Payton Souring On Team’s Ownership?

7:35pm: Payton has provided information straight from the source, disputing that there is any truth to Maske’s report of his fears of a power struggle in Denver with a tweet this evening. Payton denies that any issue exists with Broncos’ ownership stating that they were fantastic and that they “had a great visit.”

Ryans is still gaining traction and Caldwell and Shaw are also strong contenders, while Quinn has stated his desire to remain in Dallas, but if Payton is to be taken at his word, he should still be considered one of the favorites for this position.

3:01pm: Vowing to be “ultra aggressive” in its first coaching search, the Broncos’ new ownership came into this process with a goal of adding an experienced head coach. Recent developments may be leading the team in a different direction.

DeMeco Ryans has emerged as a frontrunner in this race, Mike Klis of 9News reports. The second-year 49ers defensive coordinator met with the Broncos and Texans late last week, nixing interviews with the Cardinals and Colts, and has been steadily rising in this race. While the Broncos are still considering Sean Payton, Jim Caldwell and Dan Quinn, Ryans’ rise is obviously notable considering his accomplishments with the 49ers this season.

But the team has cooled on Payton, Denver7’s Troy Renck adds (via Twitter). Payton also looks to have lost some interest in this job. A sense of what might have changed emerged Thursday. Recently, the former Saints HC was believed to be high on the Broncos’ new ownership group. Now, it might be a negative for the FOX analyst. Payton fears a potential power struggle with one member of the contingent, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. Payton would want to work with Russell Wilson, who reached out to him recently, and is believed to be high on Denver’s defensive pieces. But an issue with ownership may well nix this potential partnership.

Rob Walton, CEO Greg Penner and co-owner Condoleezza Rice have been the ownership group’s key members during this search, joining GM George Paton. The latter is the only experienced football staffer involved here, given the ownership contingent arriving last summer, but Penner is set to make the final call on the team’s second HC hire in two years. It does not seem Rice, who joined the group after the Walton family, is Payton’s concern. The veteran HC has “loved” his interactions with the former Secretary of State, Maske adds (on Twitter).

The Broncos have not gone through second interviews yet, separating their search from this year’s other four. The Panthers just made their hire — Frank Reich — after interviewing he and Steve Wilks twice. If the Broncos want to hold a second interview with Ryans, they must wait until Jan. 30 because of the 49ers’ advancement to the NFC championship game.

David Shaw was believed to be a sleeper candidate for this position, but Klis omitted the longtime Stanford HC from the team’s mix Thursday. Shaw stepped down from his Cardinal post after three losing seasons in the past four years. Penner and Rice’s Stanford ties were thought to represent key connective tissue to Shaw, but Denver going with an NFL-seasoned coach makes sense given the recent failures of college hires.

Ryans, 38, has helmed the NFL’s top-ranked defense this season and has been viewed as likely to land one of this year’s jobs for a bit now. All five HC-needy teams reached out to the former linebacker. The Texans remain in the mix for their former defender, per Klis, but they certainly look to have competition from the Broncos.

Dan Quinn To Stay With Cowboys, Withdraw From HC Searches

After receiving extensive interest from head coach-needy teams for a second straight year, Dan Quinn is once again planning to stick with the Cowboys.

The veteran defensive coordinator informed teams that have considered him for their HC job he will remain in Dallas, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This will be a big gain for the Cowboys, considering Quinn’s performance through two seasons, and it stands to affect the Broncos, Cardinals and Colts’ HC searches.

Quinn, 52, was once again among those in the mix for the Broncos’ HC job, but after a second straight year in a Denver search, the former George Paton coworker bowed out. The Cardinals and Colts may have been more interested. Arizona brought Quinn in for a second interview this week, and Quinn agreed to a second Indianapolis meeting Wednesday night. That summit was set for Saturday, but it is now off.

This is big for us. It gives us continuity. Frankly, on a personal note, I can’t tell you how thankful I am,” Mike McCarthy said (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota) of Quinn’s return. “Clearly, Dan is in the position to be selective, and I’m extremely excited about the decision.”

The former Falcons HC remains under contract with the Cowboys, via the multiyear extension he signed in January 2022. Quinn interviewed with five teams during the ’22 hiring period, advancing to the finals of Denver search that produced Nathaniel Hackett. The Broncos may or may not have rushed that process, due to Hackett agreeing to a second Jaguars interview. After the Hackett hire, Quinn recommitted to the Cowboys.

Quinn remaining in Dallas led to the team taking another step defensively, ranking second in DVOA. The team’s defensive muscle showed in its divisional-round matchup with the 49ers, though DeMeco Ryans‘ unit prevailed in a low-scoring matchup. Still, Quinn’s unit — after intending to retain Randy Gregory and then losing him at the 11th hour — built on its 2021 season. Working more as an edge defender, Micah Parsons maintained the dominance he showed as a rookie. Dallas’ rebuilt D-line led the way in the team’s 54-sack season — 13 more than the 2021 unit registered — and has led the league in takeaways for the past two seasons. After the Cowboys set a franchise record for points allowed during the 2020 season, Quinn’s arrival has made a considerable difference on their 24-10 record since.

This decision could point Ryans toward securing the Denver job. A Thursday report indicated the San Francisco DC had become a frontrunner for it, seemingly blunting the early momentum Quinn had as a potential Sean Payton backup plan. With the prospects for a Broncos-Payton partnership fading, Ryans is in line to capitalize. The Colts are planning to have roughly seven candidates go through second interviews. That is on the high side, but Indianapolis has led the way in terms of interview volume. Jeff Saturday remains in that mix, though a few others have met or will meet with Jim Irsay and Co. Brian Floresname has come up most often in connection with the Arizona job, but Payton is at the Cardinals’ facility Thursday afternoon.

Going into his third season as Dallas’ DC, Quinn will need to hire multiple new staffers. The team moved on from senior defensive assistant George Edwards and longtime assistant D-line coach Leon Lett.

Cowboys Move On From Joe Philbin, George Edwards, Four Other Staffers

Coming off their second straight 12-win season, the Cowboys will still make some notable staff changes. They are parting ways with six assistants, including senior defensive assistant George Edwards and offensive line coach Joe Philbin.

The Cowboys jettisoned Edwards, Philbin, running backs coach Skip Peete, assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett and assistant Rob Davis, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill (all Twitter links). The staffers’ contracts were all up, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com, who adds (via Twitter) offensive assistant Kyle Valero will also not return. But this still marks a fairly significant shakeup for the resurgent NFC East team.

A former Dolphins HC, Philbin was a Mike McCarthy staffer for much of the latter’s Packers tenure. Hired before McCarthy arrived in Green Bay, Philbin stayed on under McCarthy through 2011 and returned to Green Bay after his Miami stay ended. McCarthy rehired Philbin as his OC in 2018, and the Packers named him interim HC following McCarthy’s firing later that year. Philbin, 61, oversaw a position group that featured some moving pieces this season. Tyron Smith‘s injury led to first-round pick Tyler Smith sliding to left tackle in late August, and the All-Decade blocker played right tackle when he came back. Jason Peters also transitioned to guard during his age-40 season.

Edwards joined McCarthy’s staff a year before Dan Quinn‘s arrival, but the ex-Vikings DC served as Micah Parsons‘ position coach. Edwards expressed confusion at the Cowboys’ decision, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets, noting that Quinn — upon returning from his second Cardinals interview — was also caught by surprise by the move. A defensive coordinator for three teams before coming to Dallas, Edwards joined Lett in assisting with unleashing Parsons’ unique skillset over the past two seasons.

Lett, who enjoyed a memorable playing career in Dallas, has been with the team since 2011. The Cowboys added the former D-lineman to their staff early in Jason Garrett‘s tenure. Peete initially joined the Cowboys’ staff upon Wade Phillips‘ arrival back in 2007, staying six seasons, and returned upon McCarthy’s hire. He played a rather important role in Tony Pollard‘s development into a Pro Bowler. Davis worked with McCarthy for most of his Packers run, residing as Green Bay’s player development director before coming to Dallas in 2020.

Jerry Jones has repeatedly endorsed McCarthy and did so again Sunday, indicating the 49ers’ divisional-round win will not impact the three-year HC’s job. But the team moving on from multiple multi-stint McCarthy staffers, along with other experienced assistants, represents an interesting decision after going 24-10 over the past two seasons. Sean Payton has been linked to being interested in a Dallas return for several months, and a recent report said a mystery team loomed for the high-profile coach. Dot-connecting could point to the Cowboys, but NFL.com’s Jane Slater tweets McCarthy’s job is safe. The team has not contacted Payton, nor has it discussed any trade with the Saints, Slater adds (on Twitter). McCarthy’s fourth Cowboys staff stands to look remarkably different, especially if Quinn lands one of the three jobs for which he has interviewed.

Dan Quinn Gets Second Colts HC Interview

Dan Quinn is a finalist for another head coaching gig. According to Albert Breer of TheMMQB (on Twitter), the Colts are planning to conduct a second interview with the Cowboys defensive coordinator. The meeting is expected to take place on Saturday.

[RELATED: Cardinals To Conduct Second HC Interview With Dan Quinn]

With Dallas now out of the playoffs, Quinn was free to speak with any teams, and he’s been quickly moving through the interview circuit. He had a second interview with the Cardinals earlier today, and he was also a candidate for the Broncos’ head coaching job. The 52-year-old is expected to get a second interview in Denver.

Quinn spent five-plus years as Atlanta’s head coach, a stint which was highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance. He joined Dallas as their defensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season, and the Cowboys proceeded to finish first in takeaways and top-10 in points allowed in each of Quinn’s two years at the helm. Quinn was also a popular HC candidate last offseason, generating interest from the Bears, Jaguars, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants.

The Colts are now moving on to the second phase of their interview process. After conducting virtual interviews with a league-high 13 candidates, owner Jim Irsay will now meet with seven or eight finalists for the position. Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and interim head coach Jeff Saturday were among those who moved on to second interviews, while Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone are also expected to garner in-person meetings.

Jim Harbaugh was initially considered a candidate but ultimately stuck with Michigan, while Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson interviewed for the Colts job before deciding to stay in Detroit. The team also still wants to speak with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who they’ve struggled to secure for a first interview. Otherwise, Indy conducted first interviews with six other candidates:

Cardinals To Conduct Second HC Interview With Dan Quinn

With their new general manager in place, the Cardinals are continuing their search for a new head coach. That process could be nearing an end, as their second round of interviews is set to begin tonight.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that Arizona will conduct an in-person meeting with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn tonight (Twitter link). Arizona had met virtually with the 52-year-old this past weekend, as he and the Cowboys were preparing for their game against the 49ers. With Dallas having lost that contest, Quinn is free to meet with prospective teams during the week, meaning clarity on his future could be coming soon.

Quinn has also undergone first interviews with the Broncos and Colts; Pelissero notes that both of those teams are also interested in lining up a second meeting in the coming days. That comes as little surprise, given how highly-regarded Quinn is during this year’s coaching cycle, as he was last offseason as well. His decision to ultimately remain in Dallas for 2022 paid dividends for the Cowboys, who finished the regular season with the league’s No. 5 scoring defense.

To open up the playoffs, Quinn’s unit held the Buccaneers to 14 points and an average of only 4.8 yards per play. On Sunday, they delivered another noteworthy performance by limiting San Francisco to 19 points, 3.5 yards per carry and less than 200 passing yards. That has, unsurprisingly, kept him squarely on the radar to receive a second head coaching opportunity.

Quinn spent five-plus years as Atlanta’s bench boss, a stint which was highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance. His tenure with the Falcons was preceded by a pair of seasons as the Seahawks’ DC, so a move to Arizona would mean a return to the NFC West. It would also allow new GM Monti Ossenfort to shift the coaching staff to a defensive mind as a replacement for Kliff Kingsbury. Such a move has been hinted at by Arizona’s DC Vance Joseph being named an early candidate to take on the job, along with Brian Flores being rumored to be a serious contender and multiple other defensive staffers receiving interest.

With Quinn set to kick off the second round of Arizona’s interviews, here is the current breakdown of their search:

Latest On Sean Payton

JANUARY 22: A league source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that, since the Chargers’ head coaching job will not become available this year, the Panthers’ and Texans’ posts will be of most interest to Payton. In Volin’s opinion, the fact that Wilson called Payton to sell him on the Broncos’ job is not a good omen for Denver, and if Payton were to be lured to Houston, he may ultimately push general manager Nick Caserio out and take over as de facto GM. Both Houston and Carolina have the cash to pay Payton the salary he wants.

JANUARY 20: Payton’s Panthers interview has not been cancelled. He will meet with the team Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. That will be the former Saints HC’s third interview in a week. He met with the Texans on Jan. 16 and Broncos on Jan. 17.

JANUARY 19: The Broncos search for their fifth head coach since 2014 has been rolling this week as the franchise moves quickly and effectively in their plans. Denver’s three-person team of Broncos CEO and owner Greg Penner, owner Condoleezza Rice, and general manager George Paton has been cruising through initial interviews with a potential plan to move one to three finalists forward for second interviews next week, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS.

Most speculation is that a final three is emerging, similar to last year’s trio of finalists which consisted of Nathaniel Hackett, Kevin O’Connell, and Dan Quinn. The obvious frontrunner in his year’s search is former Saints head coach Sean Payton. Quinn is projected to join Payton as a finalist for the second straight year, while former Stanford head coach David Shaw is reportedly a sleeper candidate to round out the top three.

Payton interviewed on Tuesday and appears to have lived up to the hype in the meeting. Contradicting earlier reports that the Broncos and Saints were “on the same page” with respect to the trade compensation necessary to acquire Payton’s contract, Klis avers that the two parties “have not engaged in trade talks.” There is also a rumor that, despite interest from essentially every other team in the NFL with an open position, Payton will either end up with the Broncos or back on television with FOX, a belief reported by Denver7’s Troy Renck.

Payton was scheduled to interview with Carolina tomorrow, but those plans are “on hold” as Panthers owner David Tepper is spending time with the grieving players of his MLS team, Charlotte FC, following the passing of young defender Anton Walkes in a tragic boating accident today in Miami, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Russell Wilson has reportedly reached out to Payton, according to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd who was quoted on his show saying, “Wilson has contacted Sean, legally, by the way, through channels. He wants Sean Payton. He needs fixing. He knows he needs fixing.”

Following their Tuesday morning meeting with Payton, the interview trio met with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris who impressed them “with his preparation and plan to win.” The same three executives interviewed 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans today in San Francisco and will travel to Dallas for a meeting with Quinn tomorrow. This will conclude the initial interview process, and Denver will choose candidates moving forward out of the above-mentioned Payton, Quinn, Shaw, Morris, and Ryans and previously interviewed candidates Ejiro Evero, who is the team’s current defensive coordinator, and Jim Caldwell, who formerly served as the Colts and Lions head coach. The team also previously interviewed Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, but Harbaugh announced his decision to remain in Ann Arbor.

Whomever the franchise decides to move forward with will meet with a new group of executives consisting of Penner, his wife and co-owner Carrie Penner Walton, and controlling owner Rob Walton. Paton will reportedly also be available to spend time with the final candidates and participate in follow-up discussions.

It’s certainly sounding like Payton will be one of the few to move forward next week as both parties sound hellbent on the union. That being said, Quinn is being considered a “co-favorite” and Shaw’s Stanford connections to the Penners and Rice make him a candidate to be brought in next week, as well. We’ll just have to wait through the weekend to see how the next round in the process unfolds.

Cardinals To Interview Dan Quinn For HC Job

Dan Quinn continues to prepare for tomorrow’s showdown against the 49ers, but the Cowboys defensive coordinator is becoming one of the most popular names in the head coaching carousel. The latest addition to the list of potential Quinn suitors is the Cardinals. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the Cardinals have requested permission to interview Quinn for their head coaching vacancy. Pelissero tweets that a virtual interview will take place today.

[RELATED: Cardinals Hire Monti Ossenfort As GM]

Quinn has already crammed in a pair of interview this week; he interviewed in-person with the Broncos last night and then met virtually with the Colts this morning. Quinn was a popular name last year, as well. He was a finalist for the Broncos job, and he also garnered interest from the Bears, Jaguars, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants before ultimately deciding to stick in Dallas.

Quinn started his NFL coaching career with the 49ers. Following stints with the Dolphins and Jets, he joined Seattle in 2009 and eventually worked his way up to Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. He coached the NFL’s best defense in 2013 en route to a Super Bowl championship, and following another successful year in 2014, he was hired as the Falcons head coach prior to the 2015 campaign.

In Atlanta, Quinn had a pair of winning seasons and three others that saw him finish a combined 22-26. His most successful season came in 2016 when he coached the Falcons to Super Bowl LI. Of course, Atlanta ended up surrendering the biggest lead in Super Bowl history in that game, and the team would make only one more playoff appearance before Quinn was ousted five games into the 2020 campaign. He joined Dallas as their defensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season.

With the Cardinals having hired Monti Ossenfort as their new GM, the team continues to add to their list of head coaching candidates. The continually growing list also includes:

Colts Request HC Interview With Dan Quinn

TODAY, 8:35am: Quinn completed his interview with the Colts this morning, the team announced via Twitter.

JANUARY 17, 3:30pm: On the heels of a dominant Cowboys performance against the Buccaneers, Dan Quinn could soon see his interview count double. The Colts requested a meeting with the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets.

Conducting what has become this year’s most expansive search, the Colts have already interviewed or requested summits with 11 candidates. Quinn, in his second season as Dallas’ DC, is set to interview for Denver’s HC position Friday.

Until Tuesday, only the Broncos had contacted Quinn. That is fairly surprising, given the Cowboys’ performance on defense over the past two seasons. The Cowboys set a franchise record for most points allowed in a season in 2020, but Quinn’s arrival coincided with a major performance increase last season. Dallas ended the 2022 regular season with DVOA’s No. 2-ranked defense.

Quinn, 52, interviewed for the Broncos’ HC position last year. He was a finalist for the position, and having previously worked with Denver GM George Paton, the former Atlanta HC was somewhat surprisingly turned away. The Broncos’ Nathaniel Hackett whiff put Quinn back on the team’s radar, but Paton is not making the final call this time. New CEO Greg Penner will do so, muddying the Quinn waters to a degree. That said, Jim Harbaugh‘s decision to stay at Michigan figures to increase Quinn’s chances in Denver this time around. The Broncos are meeting with Sean Payton on Tuesday and have held the ex-Saints HC as the favorite for a while, but Quinn has been viewed as the top candidate beyond the Payton-Harbaugh duo.

The Seahawks’ DC during their back-to-back Super Bowl years, Quinn began his stay in the NFL in 2001. Quinn’s Dallas defenses have performed much better than his Atlanta units, though Quinn’s six-season Falcons stay did include two playoff berths and a Super Bowl LI appearance (as ignominious as that night became for the team). The Cowboys stay, which included an Assistant Coach of the Year honor in 2021, has rebuilt Quinn’s value following an early-season firing in 2020. Here is how the Colts’ HC search looks as of Tuesday afternoon: