Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is returning to the team for the 2023 season.
Quinn had been interviewing for head coaching openings in Arizona, Denver, and Indianapolis but has chosen to stay put, telling ESPN he has “unfinished business” in Dallas.
The Cowboys hired Quinn after a disastrous 2020 season from its defense. The unit finished that season near the bottom of the league in both points and yards allowed, as the team landed in third place in the NFC East with a 6-10 record.
The defense has improved in each season under Quinn’s watch. The Cowboys have finished the last two seasons with top-seven defenses, and they were among the league leaders in forcing turnovers while making the playoffs each time.
The defense was a big reason the Cowboys had a chance to make the NFC Championship game this season, holding one of the league’s top offenses well below its season averages in yards and points.
Quinn had previously served as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, a job which he had landed after leading the vaunted “Legion of Boom” defenses as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. In six seasons in Atlanta, he led the Falcons to the playoffs twice and took the team to the Super Bowl during the 2016-17 season.
He was fired five games into the 2020 season after two consecutive sub-.500 seasons and an 0-5 start.
Although several teams throughout the league had expressed interest in Quinn due to his background and experience, he has decided to remain a Cowboy for another season.
“This is big for us,” Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week. “Gives us continuity, definitely what we’ve accomplished the last two years, building off of that. Frankly, on a personal note, I can’t tell you how thankful I am.”
While Quinn is returning, there has been speculation about whether offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will return to the Cowboys as some of the team’s offensive production has fallen off in recent years.
Moore interviewed with the Carolina Panthers earlier this week for their vacant head coaching position. However, the team ultimately decided to hire former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich — the Panthers’ first quarterback when the franchise entered the league in 1995 — to fill the vacancy.
In his first season as the offensive coordinator in 2019, Moore’s offense led the NFL in total yards, finished sixth in points, and saw quarterback Dak Prescott put up career numbers across the board. Since then, Dallas has let some key players go and dealt with some crucial injuries, and it has caused the offense to struggle at times.
The numbers in the passing game have declined over the last two years, and running back Ezekiel Elliott just had the worst season of his career statistically.
However, Moore’s unit has finished in the top six in scoring three times in four seasons, led the league in total yards twice, and just produced a career year from running back Tony Pollard.
When explicitly asked about Moore’s future during his season-ending press conference earlier this week, head coach Mike McCarthy said, “Kellen Moore, just like the rest of the coaches, will be evaluated. All the coaches will be evaluated.”
McCarthy continued to stress that the process is ongoing and he has no timetable for his decisions, but he is “excited for the future” of his team.