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Offseason | 2021

Dan Quinn Agrees To Terms As Cowboys' New DC


FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have reached an agreement with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to become the Cowboys' next defensive coordinator.

Reports surfaced Monday that Quinn was flying in to interview for the job after the Cowboys parted ways with first-year defensive coordinator Mike Nolan last Friday.

The Cowboys reportedly had virtual interviews with Falcons secondary coach/passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. and Carolina Panthers defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach Jason Simmons. Both worked on Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy's previous staffs in Green Bay. Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards also was on the expected interview list.

But the Cowboys have settled on Quinn, the former Falcons head coach from 2015-20 who led Atlanta to a Super Bowl appearance in 2016 and previously served as defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" defense in 2013-14 that won a Super Bowl and reached another.

The Falcons relieved Quinn of his head-coaching duties this past October after an 0-5 start, including a 40-39 loss to the Cowboys in Week 2.

During his two years in Seattle, Quinn directed one of the most accomplished defenses in NFL history. The 2013 champion Seahawks allowed just 14.4 points per game and led the league in total and pass defense, routing the Peyton Manning-led Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Last Friday, the Cowboys parted ways with Nolan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula after the defense finished the season with the most points allowed (473) and the second-most rushing yards allowed (2,541) in franchise history.

It remains to be seen what type of scheme Quinn will install in Dallas, but a strong hint: he ran a traditional 4-3 scheme in Seattle, and Atlanta primarily has had a 4-3 base look, too.

In 2020 Nolan installed a more multiple scheme than the 4-3 system that Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard ran in previous years for Dallas. But the switch never consistently got on track, due in part to a completely virtual offseason program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I totally underestimated the impact of not being with the team early through the spring and through training camp," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said last Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. "With the change in coaching, and if you will, especially on the defensive side of the line, if you will, a change in technique, a change in some philosophy there."

Now the Cowboys are set to reboot on defense with Quinn as the new coordinator.

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