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5 facts about Dan Quinn, New Cowboys DC



FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys officially appointed Dan Quinn as their new defense coordinator on Tuesday. Here are five facts you may not know about 50-year-old Quinn:

He started as a guy in a small school. Prior to joining William & Mary’s coaching staff in 1994, Quinn was an outstanding defensive lineman at Division III Salisbury University in Maryland. He had 145 career attacks as a two-time captain for the Sea Gulls and was also a two-sport athlete who broke the school record for longest throw (168 ’88 “).

He specializes in D-Line. Like his playing days, Quinn has extensive experience coaching the defensive line. He coached the position at three college programs ̵

1; William & Mary, Hofstra and VMI (on the same staff as future Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin) – before entering the NFL as the D-Line coach of the 49ers (2003-04). From there, Quinn had the same role for the Dolphins (2005-06), Jets (2007-09) and Seahawks (2009-10). Along the way, he coached future Hall of Famer Jason Taylor (Dolphins) and worked with former Cowboys defensive line manager Michael Bennett early in Bennett’s 2009 rookie season with Seattle as an unnamed free agent.

He coordinated one of the greatest defenses ever. When Gus Bradley left the Seahawks to become the Jaguars’ head coach in 2013, Quinn returned to Seattle with a promotion to defense coordinator and helped the defense continue one of the greatest runs in NFL history. Filled with Pro Bowl talent, the 2013 Super Bowl champion Seahawks became the first team since the ’85 Bears – widely regarded as the best defense ever – to lead the league in takeaways, the fewest points allowed and the fewest yards allowed: Chicago Bears.com). Seattle made the Super Bowl again in 2014 and lost in the final seconds to the Patriots. From 2012-14, they became the first defense since the Vikings 1969-71 to allow the fewest points in three straight seasons.

He has worked in various defensive schemes. Quinn is generally considered a 4-3 coach throughout his career, including his time working for Pete Carroll in Seattle. The Cowboys have previously used variations of this approach under former defense coordinator Rod Marinelli and former passing game coordinator Kris Richard, also a former Seahawks assistant. But Quinn has also coached in a variety of systems. The Jets ran a 3-4 during their time in New York. The Dolphins had a mix of 4-3 and 3-4 under Nick Saban at the time. Even in Florida, when Quinn went back to college as defense coordinator from 2011-12, the Gators used a combination of three- and four-man fronts.

He’s another assistant on Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s staff who has previous NFL head coaching experience. (Special coordinator John Fassel and offensive line coach Joe Philbin do too.) Quinn set a 46-44 record in a five-and-a-half season with Atlanta from 2015-20. The Falcons and Quinn parted ways after a 0-5 start this season, including a 40-39 loss to the Cowboys in Week 2. But Quinn took Atlanta to the Super Bowl in 2016 and lost a thriller to the Patriots and became just the second coach in Falcons history, which led them to the playoffs in consecutive seasons. McCarthy clearly likes to have an experienced staff, and Quinn’s employment as DC continues this trend in Dallas.


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