Dan Quinn to remain with Cowboys as defensive coordinator; OC Kellen Moore’s future unclear

Dan Quinn’s second season in Dallas produced another effective defense. Much to the delight of Cowboys fans, he isn’t leaving in 2023.

Quinn has informed interested teams he will be staying in Dallas next season after interviewing for head-coaching openings in Arizona, Denver and Indianapolis in recent weeks, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Thursday.

“We’re all extremely excited to have Dan back,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday, per The Athletic. “This is big for us. It gives us continuity. Frankly, on a personal note, I can’t tell you how thankful I am.”

The future of the Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, however, remains unclear. Moore interviewed for the Panthers’ top job, which ultimately went to Frank Reich, and McCarthy was asked during his Thursday news conference if Moore would return if he didn’t get a job elsewhere.

“I really don’t want to play this game today, it’s been a long couple days, so Kellen Moore, just like the rest of the coaches, will be evaluated,” McCarthy said. “Every coach will be evaluated. And the evaluations take more than one day.”

Under Quinn, the Cowboys made a massive leap defensively, improving from a 28th-place ranking in scoring defense in 2020 to top-seven finishes in each of the last two seasons. Quinn turned the Cowboys into an opportunistic bunch as well, with Trevon Diggs breaking out as an interception maestro in 2021 and Micah Parsons quickly developing into an All-Pro, game-wrecking defender capable of playing on both the line of scrimmage and at the second level.

Quinn’s handiwork balanced a Cowboys team that had been offensively potent in recent years, but lacked teeth on the other side of the ball prior to the veteran coordinator’s arrival. His unit’s performance — which extended well beyond the play of Diggs and Parsons — attracted plenty of head coaching interest for the former Falcons coach, who once led Atlanta to Super Bowl LI in the 2016 season.

Though Quinn will be back in 2023, the Cowboys’ defensive staff will look different with the departures of senior defensive assistant George Edwards and assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett, who were two of a number of Dallas assistants who did not have their contracts renewed.

Quinn’s years of coaching experience and production seemed to position him for a second shot at a head coaching job. This remains true — it just won’t happen in 2023. Quinn will instead return to Dallas, where the Cowboys enter the offseason feeling as if they have unfinished business.

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