FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys have added to their list of candidates to take over as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Quinn was the head coach of the Falcons from 2015-2020, a run that included a pair playoff berths with a Super Bowl appearance in 2016.
Quinn was fired after Atlanta lost their first five games of the 2020 regular season - including the Week 2 "Watermelon Kick'' game against the Cowboys.
Dallas interviewed Quinn over the weekend, as Ian Rapoport is first to note. Head coach Mike McCarthy also interviewed two other candidates who, unlike Quinn, have worked under McCarthy before: Jason Simmons, a former Packers staffer now in Carolina, and Joe Whitt Jr., another former Packers staffer who is presently with the Falcons - where he was hired by Quinn.
The Quinn news is significant. As we reported over the weekend, "this is McCarthy's hire.'' At the same time, we also reported that there would be "top-level front-office executives'' involved in the interview process.
Simmons and Whitt as candidates? Obviously a pair of McCarthy-driven concepts. Quinn as a candidate? Likely more of a "top-level front-office'' concept.
We've additionally addressed the idea that Dallas could hire two new qualified coaches to lead the defensive staff, with coordinator Mike Nolan and top aide Jim Tomsula fired. Whitt and Quinn as a "package deal'' is how we phrased it; what about "Quinn and Whitt,'' the same package in a different order?
We're also told that senior assistant George Edwards, already in the employ of the Cowboys, is a likely candidate. ... though an ESPN report has labeled Quinn the “favorite” for the job.
Quinn has coached in the NFL as a defensive line coach and most famously, elevated himself to become the Seahawks' defensive coordinator from 2013-2014, a time during which Seattle would go to the Super Bowl in each of those seasons.
And while Quinn was a relative success as a head coach, there is no questioning his numbers as a coordinator. During those two seasons and those back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, his defenses ranked No. 1 in total defense, scoring defense and passing defense in both years.