Thursday, January 27, 2022

Jaguars coaching search: Cowboys’ Dan Quinn will not interview for HC role in allowed two-week window

When you have a Lion on the field leading your defense, it makes jaguars less attractive. If you listen closely, you can hear the Dallas Cowboys smile, and not simply because they went undefeated in December and punctuated their current 11-4 record with a demolition of the Washington Football Team, but also because they have yet another reason to love Dan Quinn. 

They received a request this week from the Jacksonville Jaguars to interview Quinn for their vacancy at head coach — adding him to rapidly growing list that includes Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore — during the newly-established two-week window allowed by the NFL to close out the 2021 season. 

He won’t be taking them up on their offer, though. Sources confirm to CBS Sports that Quinn has declined to interview with the Jaguars for their HC vacancy, instead deciding to focus 100 percent on the task at-hand: attempting to coordinate what is arguably the best defense in the league to Super Bowl LVI. The request by the Jaguars was simply a formality as far as gaining permission from the Cowboys went, considering teams can’t block interviews when a promotion is involved. That left the decision to Quinn, who wants nothing to do with the dumpster fire that’s mushroomed in North Florida and has now shown, unequivocally, he’s all-in on the war chest he’s building in North Texas.

When asked about the interest in both Quinn and Moore, head coach Mike McCarthy made it known he isn’t surprised, but also noted neither have wavered from their laser-focus in Dallas.

“Yeah, definitely,” said McCarthy on Wednesday. “Just the little conversations I’ve had, frankly, I think these questions are better suited for Dan and Kellen. But I think as long as it’s common sense, and I think that’s definitely in place here. They’ve both been working the same hours and are committed to the game plan and so forth. 

“Whatever time is designated, I’m sure it will be in the common sense mode if it takes place as we move forward. I’m sure this won’t be the first time we’re talking about it. The specifics of it, I think that’s more for Dan and Kellen to talk about, but I don’t see this being any type of interference in our preparation.”

One day earlier, owner Jerry Jones praised both coordinators and says he wants them to explore any opportunities they feel they should, considering they’re earning the interest in how well they’re doing with the Cowboys, but as long the now is not being risked for the later — pointing out how the later would be lessened greatly (or completely made to not exist) is the now isn’t focused upon. 

“I would want them to go ahead and have any visits they might want and leave it at that,” Jones told 105.3FM the Fan. “I would be confident and have experienced it many, many times and confident that their mind is on our team and the opportunity that we got. It’s in everybody’s best interest to win. When you’re in this situation, it’s in everybody’s interest for the team that you’re coaching to be winning and executing. 

“As a matter of fact, people look at that when they are looking at coaches and see how they stood and were steady and steadfast while they stick to their assignment at hand, which is to win right now, beat the Arizona Cardinals, no matter what you’re doing with your thoughts of the future. I can tell you right now anybody I know that has had success, and I’m not talking about coaches, you got to be able to think about more than one thing. 

“That’s a big part of it. You got to be able to handle it.”

The Cowboys came close to losing Moore to a much more attractive HC offer in 2020 at his alma mater of Boise State, and he did take an interview with the Philadelphia Eagles (which was always nothing more than practice for him) but Jones used both his bottomless checkbook and the emergence of Dak Prescott to woo Moore into signing a three-year extension that’s in place through 2023. 

Having just recently acquired Quinn this past offseason in the wake of firing Mike Nolan after the latter’s abysmal one-year stay in Dallas, Quinn has proven himself time and again as one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL — leading a defense that’s best in the league in takeaways (34) and is allowing only 20.5 points per game (7th) despite just now becoming whole in December. Quinn has won over the hearts of every player in the locker room, every coach in the building and every executive in the front office, and it’s now clear the feeling is mutual. 

There are a lot of reasons he’d opt to give the Jaguars the cold shoulder, regarding the list of toxic issues within that organization, so combining those cons with the pros that exist in Dallas — including being on the cusp of engineering the Legion of Boom 2.0 that’s led by superstar youth like cornerback Trevon Diggs and the previously referenced Lion: Micah Parsons — Quinn will continue to get interest going into the offseason and beyond, and rightfully so, but after a painful end to his time with the Atlanta Falcons just one year ago, he’s in no rush to leave a good thing for something that might not ever come close.

That said, he might be willing to at least here them out in the offseason, and if they’re not in Jacksonville. But if Quinn keeps playing his cards right, Jones won’t have an issue also making him a financial offer he’ll find difficult to refuse — as he did Moore.

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