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Dan Quinn spurns NFL head coach opportunities, returns to Dallas Cowboys


Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and former NFL Super Bowl head coach Dan Quinn is not going anywhere.

Despite being considered the top candidate to take over as the Arizona Cardinals next head coach, Quinn is reportedly returning to Big D.

According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Quinn has informed interested teams that he is staying in Dallas. Per the report, “his heart is in Dallas and he wants to win a Super Bowl there.”

“Unfinished business here in Dallas. My complete focus is helping the team play championship ball in 2023.”

Dan Quinn on returning to Dallas, via ESPN’s Ed Werder

Quinn, 52, was also a top head coach candidate for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. They are now going to have to look in another direction.

In particular, Quinn’s decision is interesting from Denver’s perspective. As Sportsnaut reported earlier on Thursday, Sean Payton is no longer a candidate for their vacancy after issues came up between the Super Bowl-winning head coach and one of Denver’s owners during the interview process. We wonder whether that played a role in Dan Quinn’s decision-making process.

Related: Moves the Dallas Cowboys must make this offseason

Dallas Cowboys boon: Dan Quinn to return in 2023

dan quinn returns to dallas
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This is obviously a big story for Dallas as the team prepares for an important offseason. The Cowboys moved off four assistant coaches immediately after their NFC Divsional Playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The team will now retain Mike McCarthy’s top assistant after Quinn performed extremely well in that role over the past two seasons.

Dallas Cowboys defensive rankings under Dan Quinn

  • 2021: 20th in passing, 16th in rushing, 7th in points allowed
  • 2022: 8th in passing, 22nd in ruhing, 5th in ponit allowed

Outside of Dallas’ run defense this past season, this unit saw improvements clear across the board compared to 2021.

It also must be noted that Quinn helped turn Micah Parsons into an NFL Defensive Player of the Year finalist after he won DROY honors in 2021.

There’s another backdrop to all of this. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones committed to head coach Mike McCarthy following Sunday’s season-ending loss to San Francisco. However, we’re not 100% sold on McCarthy being the long-term option as Dallas head coach.

Perhaps, Quinn’s decision took that into account. In short, being a potential candidate for Dallas’ opening following the 2023 season would be more enticing than the vacancies during this year’s cycle. Of course, that’s all hypothetical.

As it is, Dan Quinn returning to coordinator Dallas’ defense for a third season has to be seen as a boon for the organization.

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