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'Just Quinn, Baby!': Will Coach Mike McCarthy Sub Inspire Dallas Cowboys Over Saints?

"It hasn’t been that many games or that many weeks or that many months that he hasn’t been out there making these in-game calls,” Jones says of Quinn. "We’re fortunate to have him.”

FRISCO - Jerry Jones has expressed total trust in Dan Quinn. The Dallas Cowboys locker room may even feel something more than that - something that can work in Dallas' direction as it plays without head coach Mike McCarthy, who will miss Thursday's game at New Orleans after testing positive for COVID.

From owner Jones: "It hasn’t been that many games or that many weeks or that many months that he hasn’t been out there making these in-game calls. We’re fortunate to have him.”

Indeed, more than any other available staffer, Quinn is by far the most qualified. He's got a Super Bowl on his resume ... though as an interesting sidebar, in six years as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons went 2-4 in NFC South rivalry games in the Superdome.

Of course, the Saints had Drew Brees then. Now at QB? They don't seem to be very sure.

So, the Cowboys' defensive coordinator will step out of the booth and onto the sideline to call the shots Thursday.

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"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 the just-in-case plan here. But there are other issues, as a total of 13 Dallas players and coaches are now in COVID protocol. 

But those players who will participate? They rallied around Quinn once already this year, to help the now-Dallas defensive coordinator crush his old Falcons team. He is a leader of men, but a caring and passionate one. It is a fair bet that the Cowboys, on defense for certain, will play at an inspired level on Thursday.

"He just wants to see us come out here, play up to the standard and look forward to next week,'' said standout rookie defender Micah Parsons after that game. "I'm pretty sure I saw a big smile on his face, so I'm happy we was able to please him. But he's not worried about that old shit. He's worried about what's going on right now."

And what's going on right now is that on a temporary basis, Dan Quinn is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.