Well, here we are again.
One year after the Jacksonville Jaguars conducted a search for a new head coach to replace Doug Marrone, the team finds itself in the same situation this winter, now looking for a replacement for their replacement.
Names have been thrown around with vigor as potential candidates to replace Urban Meyer, while several interviews have been officially set up between coaches and the Jaguars' brass.
But who is the best candidate for the Jaguars? What does each of them bring to the table, on and off the field? From Jim Caldwell to Kellen Moore and everyone in between, we examine the pros and cons that come with each coach and their potential impact on the Jaguars.
Next up in our review of this year's candidates: Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.
- William & Mary (1994): Defensive line coach
- VMI (1995): Defensive line coach
- Hofstra (1996–1999): Defensive line coach
- Hofstra (2000): Defensive coordinator & defensive line coach
- San Francisco 49ers (2001–2002): Defensive quality control coach
- San Francisco 49ers (2003–2004): Defensive line coach
- Miami Dolphins (2005–2006): Defensive line coach
- New York Jets (2007–2008): Defensive line coach
- Seattle Seahawks (2009–2010): Assistant head coach & defensive line coach
- Florida (2011–2012): Defensive coordinator & defensive line coach
- Seattle Seahawks (2013–2014): Defensive coordinator
- Atlanta Falcons (2015–2020): Head coach
- Dallas Cowboys (2021–present): Defensive coordinator
After bouncing around the college ranks for several years, Dan Quinn got his first NFL gig with the San Francisco 49ers in the early 2000s. Quinn got one promotion from defensive assistant to defensive line coach before going on to work for both the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets in the same capacity, spending two seasons with each squad.
Quinn's next role saw him hired to Seattle as assistant head coach and defensive line coach under Jim Mora, with Quinn remaining in 2010 as Pete Carroll entered the picture as the Seahawks' new head coach. After a second year in Seattle, Quinn went on to spent two years as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the Florida Gators under Will Muschamp. In Quinn's two seasons in Florida, the Gators ranked No. 21 and then No. 5 in the nation in points allowed.
Quin would return to Seattle in 2013, replacing Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator and keeping the ascending defense in place as the Seahawks rode their defensive success to a Super Bowl victory and back-to-back No. 1 rankings in points allowed.
After an impressive two years leading the Legion of Boom, Quinn took over as head coach with the Atlanta Falcons and was instrumental in the Falcons undergoing a much-needed culture change that brought a jolt of energy into the organization. As head coach, Quinn went 8-8 in his first year before going 11-5 in year two and leading the Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance, albeit an appearance that ended in the biggest Super Bowl meltdown in recent memory.
Quinn's next season at the helm saw the Falcons go 10-6 and reach the divisional round, while the next two seasons were followed by back-to-back 7-9 campaigns. After an 0-5 start in 2020, Quinn was fired.
Quinn's next job after his Falcons stint saw him head to Dallas and lead a defense consisting of Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, and Demarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys finished No. 7 in points allowed in Quinn's first season as coordinator, while also finishing No. 2 in defensive DVOA.
Dan Quinn has proven himself to be a very, very talented defensive coordinator. While his defenses in Atlanta were never anything more than average, he has fielded top units in two different stops now with the Seahawks and Cowboys. While Sunday's game against the 49ers wasn't a great display of Quinn's savviness as a defensive coordinator, he deserves credit for getting the absolute most out of some incredibly talented units.
How does Quinn do this? Simply put, he plays to the strengths of his players. He helped Michael Bennett become a pass-rushing menace in Seattle by playing him all around the formation, and he has done a similarly smart job with Micah Parsons and even De'Vondre Campbell in the past. Quinn is able to find the best fits for his players and ensure the defense gets the most out of their versatility and value, which is something Jacksonville has struggled to do on the defensive side of the ball in recent years.
Quinn also proved to be, at least, an average head coach with the Falcons. While he had just two winning seasons during his tenure, he was at worst a 7-9 coach before his eventual demise in his final season. For a Jaguars franchise that struggles to even sniff .500 year in and year out, an experienced and steady coach like Quinn could raise their floor considerably.
Quinn is also a favorite among players. Whether in Seattle, Atlanta, or Dallas, Quinn has built a following in every locker room he is a part of. The Jaguars' last coach was a fraudulent leader whose toxicity impacted the team on and off the field, and Quinn can at least say that he would provide some actual maturity and leadership to the head coach role.
While Quinn has proven his worth as a defensive coordinator, it is fair to wonder why his defenses in Atlanta never found similar success. The talent level with the Falcons isn't what it was with Seattle or what it is today with the Cowboys, but he still should have gotten more out of a defense that had prime Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones leading the way.
At the end of the day, Quinn has to prove that he is a viable head coach as opposed to simply a good defensive coordinator. His track record as defensive coordinator is much more appealing than his average run with the Falcons, a run that was largely successful due to the Falcons' high-powered offenses -- units Quinn had little to do with.
There is also the question of what exactly Quinn would do to help Trevor Lawrence. His offensive coordinator hire would be incredibly important, but stepping into a head coach role for a year two Lawrence is vastly different than becoming the head coach of a team led by a veteran Matt Ryan. Ryan helped Quinn navigate the waters in Atlanta due to his experience, but Quinn wouldn't have that benefit in Jacksonville.
Then there is the fact that Quinn's scheme has been frigid in terms of its adjustments. The same plays that have always beat the Quinn/Gus Bradley defense still beat them, with Kyle Shanahan largely having his way on the ground against the Cowboys with bootlegs, outside zone, and tosses, plays that have always killed these types of defenses. Quinn hasn't found an answer for them yet, even after all these years.