HomeFootball DirtSeattle's Ones To Watch: Dan Quinn from the Cowboys and Mike Macdonald...

Seattle’s Ones To Watch: Dan Quinn from the Cowboys and Mike Macdonald from the Ravens

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Since the Seahawks made the decision to move on from longtime head coach Pete Carroll, they have really been the only team that we haven’t heard from in terms of scheduling interviews for candidates to replace him. Current Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was mentioned as an expected candidate to replace his former boss, and today, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided us with a new name to look out for in Seattle.

Quinn has been considered a head coaching candidate pretty much ever since he was fired from his head coaching gig with the Falcons in 2020. Since Quinn landed in Dallas, the Cowboys have fielded a perennial top-10 scoring defense and have improved their yards allowed each year. This year the team finished in the top five of both categories.

Last year, Quinn interviewed with the Cardinals, Broncos, Texans, and Colts to fill their head coaching openings, and even returned for second interviews in Arizona and Indianapolis before ultimately making the decision to remain in Dallas as a coordinator. The year prior saw Quinn interview with the Bears, Broncos, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants. He conducted a second interview in Chicago and was considered a finalist for the Denver job, but he ended up once again choosing to remain with the Cowboys, even declining an interview opportunity with the Jaguars.

Quinn’s connection to Seattle, comes from two different stints with the team. After defensive line coaching jobs with the 49ers, Dolphins, and Jets, Quinn accepted that same position coaching gig with the added title of assistant head coach with the Seahawks. He held the position for two years before taking on a defensive coordinator job for the University of Florida. After two more years, Quinn made the move back to the NFL and back to Seattle as an NFL defensive coordinator.

The Seahawks reached back-to-back Super Bowls (and were one offensive play away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls) behind a defense led by Quinn that finished tops in the league in both points allowed and yards allowed. In both years, Quinn’s defense led both categories by a relatively wide margin. His success coaching the vaunted Legion of Doom led to his first head coaching opportunity in Atlanta. Despite an overall winning record of 43-42 that included a Super Bowl appearance for the Falcons, two consecutive 7-9 seasons and an 0-5 start to the 2020 season led to Quinn’s termination.

The other name mentioned by Rapoport has a bit of a different story. Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has far less coaching experience in the NFL. Macdonald started in Baltimore as a coaching intern in 2014, moving up to defensive assistant before coaching defensive backs in 2017 and linebackers from 2018-20. John Harbaugh‘s little brother Jim stole Macdonald away for a season to serve as defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan before the elder Harbaugh called Macdonald back to the NFL for the same role in Baltimore.

In two years under Macdonald, the Ravens have finished third and first in points allowed and improved from 11th in yards allowed to sixth this year. Despite the presence of a star outside pass rusher, Macdonald’s Ravens have consistently been one of the league’s more successful teams at pressuring the quarterback thanks to unique blitzing schemes and disguises. This year, Baltimore added a league-leading 31 turnovers to the resume, as well.

Despite Quinn’s apparent seniority over Macdonald, both coordinators have received extensive interest so far as head coaching candidates. Quinn currently holds interview requests from the Panthers, Chargers, Titans, and Commanders, while Macdonald has interviewed with the Panthers and Falcons and holds requests from the Titans and Commanders, as well. Both coordinators are still in the playoffs and can only conduct virtual interviews at this time, but once the playoffs have finished, expect both coaches to act on the reported interest.

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