The Denver Broncos have seven games remaining on their 2021 schedule, but there are already rumors swirling about top head-coaching options to replace Vic Fangio, if he indeed gets dismissed at season's end. One hot name has risen to the top of the NFL rumor mill: Dan Quinn — the current defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.
Many insiders believe Quinn got the short end of the stick in how his tenure ended with the Atlanta Falcons. However, he's done a lot to help his head-coaching stock in a relatively short time. The first link of Quinn to Denver came from KOARadio's Benjamin Allbright.
Allbright's tweet came over a month ago on October 14, but Quinn has remained a popular name in the rumor mill. Unfortunately, there are numerous misconceptions about Quinn, primarily around his defensive scheme with the Cowboys, which is scaring many NFL executives away from him as a potential head coach candidate.
Let's examine a few of the factors on why Quinn-to-Denver has become such a red-hot rumor.
While Quinn was the father of the Cover 3 scheme that made Seattle's 'Legion of Boom' legendary, only to falter elsewhere, he doesn't run if often in Dallas. As a result, the Cowboys have the lowest usage of Cover 3 in the NFL.
So what has Quinn been running in Dallas? The answer is Man 1 and at the second-highest clip in the NFL, with Cover 4 and Cover 2 as the next two biggest staples of the Cowboys' defense.
For reference, the Broncos follow suit with their three most-used coverages, though Fangio implements a much higher rate of Cover 2 and less Man- 1. The usage of Cover 4 is essentially the same between the two teams.
Quinn showed the ability to adapt his ways and change his scheme to fit his players, which is a good thing. Taking his coaching talents to Denver wouldn't require much of a change in coverage schemes. The most significant change would come upfront with the front seven, although the versatile use of different packages would minimize the impact of a regime change.
One big question with Quinn is, can he delegate the responsibility of the defense to his defensive coordinator? You want a head coach that can be hands-off and not micromanage everything a coordinator is doing, which is currently part of the Broncos' problem with Fangio, who's still calling plays on gameday from the sideline.
Offensive Coordinator Flexibility
If the Broncos were to hire Quinn to succeed Fangio, GM George Paton would have to nail the offensive coordinator hiring, though with Quinn having head-coaching experience, Denver could be more willing to risk hiring a first-timer at the position.
QB Recruitment Tool
These factors are a big reason why Quinn is being linked to the Broncos by bonafide insiders. Also playing a role is the connection he has with Paton, with whom Quinn wanted to join forces back in 2015. According to a report by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Quinn wanted to team up with Paton with either the New York Jets or Chicago Bears, the two teams with a general manager vacancy at the time, but Paton declined the interviews to stay with the Minnesota Vikings.
This would be a chance for the two to team up, as Quinn once pushed for. That would likely be just one reunion Quinn is rumored to be interested in and the other revolves around a certain veteran quarterback many Broncos fans are pining for.
The rumor being that hiring Quinn to replace Fangio would also be a big recruiting tool to entice Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, to bring his talents to the Mile High City. With the no-trade clause, Denver would have to do everything it could in order to convince Wilson to wave it.
This is why Quinn-to-Denver, despite it not being the type of young, offensive-minded coach most Broncos fans covet, makes a lot of sense. Quinn and Wilson are good friends, so do the math.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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