According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has emerged as a “potential” candidate in USC’s ongoing search to replace Clay Helton. Wilner furthered hearsay from a “trusted” source by citing, among other factors, Quinn’s ties to ex-Trojans HC Pete Carroll and his accomplished tenure as the Atlanta Falcons’ head man.
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Breaking Down Quinn’s Resume
Speaking to his West Coast experience, Quinn cut his teeth in the NFL as a defensive quality control coach with the San Francisco 49ers from 2001-02. He worked his way to defensive line coach (2003-04) and, following stops in Miami and New York, eventually found himself on staff with Carroll, who left USC to become Seattle’s head coach in 2010. Quinn began as an assistant HC/DL coach for the Seahawks before earning a promotion to defensive coordinator in 2013.
The architect of the famed “Legion of Boom” appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one, with Seattle. Quinn moved on to greener pastures in 2015, hired as the Falcons’ HC, and compiled a career 46-44 record across six incomplete seasons; he was fired amid the 2020 campaign, just three years after reaching (but losing) his third Super Bowl.
Scooped up this past January, Quinn quickly transformed Dallas’ defense, which currently ranks eighth in scoring, allowing 21.4 points per game. His shorthanded unit — missing two of its best pass-rushers, DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory — impressed during Sunday’s loss at Kansas City, holding Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to 260 scoreless yards and one interception in a 19-9 defeat.
“The defense did plenty for us to come back and win this game. The offense didn’t get the job done,” Cowboys QB Dak Prescott said after the game, via Jon Machota of The Athletic.
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Cowboys ‘Embrace’ Interest in Coaches
With offensive boss Moore perpetually connected to HC openings and now Quinn also appearing in the rumor mill, Cowboys brass must prepare for the possibility of life without their top lieutenants.
But rather than block Moore or Quinn’s path to the big seat, team vice president Stephen Jones has claimed the organization would “embrace” an outside opportunity that either coach “really want(s).”
“Well, you always want to keep guys that are helping you have success, but at the same time we know that’s part of this business,” Jones said during an October 21 interview on 96.7 The Ticket, via Blogging The Boys. “Coach [Bill] Parcells was here. We had Mike Zimmer and Sean Payton and certainly those guys got their opportunities to go on and be successful coaches, but the good news with that is it usually means you’re having success on the field. So, certainly, it happened back when we had our Super Bowl run when we had guys like Butch Davis, Dave [Wannstedt] getting opportunities. Norv Turner getting opportunities. That comes with success.
“So, a part of you hopes you have that challenge, but at the same time, you hate to lose guys who are doing a great job for you, but hopefully we’re doing our job. We got guys on our staff who can step up if they happen to get the opportunity they really want as a head coach, then you certainly embrace that for them. As I said, hopefully, you got some great coaches on this staff that are ready to be coordinators or have been coordinators.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL