FRISCO, Texas – Normally in the upstairs booth calling the defense on game day, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be on the sideline helping with the overall game management operation against the Saints on Thursday night, head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed via conference call Monday.
McCarthy entered the NFL's COVID-19 protocol Monday and will not coach against the Saints. Although he will not be on the field, he will continue to direct, and be in involved in, all meetings and game preparations on a virtual basis for the remainder of the week, including Thursday's meetings in New Orleans. He told the media Monday that he's feeling good.
Quinn is used to a larger role on game day, having served as the Falcons' head coach from 2015-2020.
"Obviously he has the head coaching experience of being on the field and has also called a defense and managed a game," McCarthy said. "I think that Dan being down there, as far as our normal network of game management, clock management, all those things will be in place."
McCarthy said the larger gameday role for Quinn has always been a contingency plan for a situation like this, but added certain game management roles will be spread around among the available staff Thursday.
"(Special teams coordinator) John (Fassel) is also involved in some of the game management like most special teams coaches are, and we have the network up top. That's something that won't change," McCarthy said. "The biggest change is going to be Dan down on the field and just make sure he's getting the information that he needs to make sound decisions."
The Cowboys practiced again Monday but continued to meet virtually due to the team's COVID issues over the past week. Several assistant coaches entered COVID protocol between Thursday and Sunday: offensive line coach Joe Philbin and assistant O-Line coach Jeff Blasko; strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash and assistants Kendall Smith and Cedric Smith; and offensive assistant Scott Tolzien.
Offensive tackle Terence Steele has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and will not play Thursday. Wide receiver Amari Cooper has yet to be activated from Reserve/COVID but did come into the team facility to check in with the team's medical staff Monday.
Fortunately, the team received no new positive results for COVID-19 during its Monday round of testing. McCarthy said the team will continue its daily COVID testing leading up to Thursday's game.