Cowboys hire former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

Jason Owens
·2-min read

The Dallas Cowboys have hired former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator.

The team announced the news Monday evening following multiple reports.

Quinn was the head coach of the Falcons for five-plus seasons before being fired amid an 0-5 start in 2020. Prior to joining the Falcons, Quinn was the defensive coordinator for the dominant Seattle Seahawks defenses of “Legion of Boom” fame that anchored a run to victory in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos after the 2013 season.

Quinn was hired in Atlanta in 2015 as one of the NFL’s hottest coaching candidates after the Seahawks made back-to-back Super Bowls.

Cowboys fired Mike Nolan after 1 season

The Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan alongside defensive line coach Jim Tomsula last week after their first year on the job and a 6-10 finish. The Cowboys ranked 22nd in the league in overall defense and 28th in scoring defense while giving up 29.6 points per game.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn watches play against the New York Jets during the first half an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Dan Quinn was the architect of the dominant Seattle Seahawks defenses of the early 2010s. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The disappointing finish in Dallas also raised pressure on first-year head coach Mike McCarthy. Team owner Jerry Jones regularly defended McCarthy’s job status amid a year that saw the Cowboys lose quarterback Dak Prescott to an ankle injury early in the season. Nolan and Tomsula did not receive the same benefit of the doubt.

Falcons’ defense faded under Quinn

The Falcons failed to reach the playoffs the past three seasons following their run to the Super Bowl after the 2016 season and a wild-card berth the following year. Atlanta ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in defense in each of the past three seasons.

After a letdown in 2020, pressure will be high in Dallas for an improved defense and a run to the playoffs in 2021.

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