Many Dallas Cowboys fans were probably like me when they first heard about the Dan Quinn hire. “Didn’t he blow a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, and didn’t we just come back from a game down 12 with two minutes to go against his Falcons?” All previous history led me (and probably you) to believe that hiring a guy that is known for blowing leads, probably wouldn’t be the best option as the next Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.
Thankfully, I was wrong about that.
How did the Dallas Cowboys defense change so much with Dan Quinn?
Most Dallas Cowboys fans shudder to picture what the defense was like under Mike Nolan last year. 26th in points allowed (441), 31st in rushing yards per game (158.8), and 20th in total sacks (31.0). Every single game they went out there with no hope of stopping any team.
Even at the beginning of the season, when Dak Prescott was still healthy, the offense was constantly playing catchup trying to keep Dallas afloat. Offense has rarely been the problem for the Cowboys in recent years, it’s always been our defense trying to catch up.
Dan Quinn was the mastermind of the Seattle defense dubbed “The Legion of Boom.” His success in Seattle earned him the shot in Atlanta and even here in Dallas we’re seeing a few similarities out of the players on that Cowboys defense.
Second year cornerback Trevon Diggs is looking awfully like Richard Sherman with seven INTs through only six games – he’s been truly a ballhawk. Quinn has also made the most of Randy Gregory’s talents with four sacks through six games, already more than his total from last year along with 14 QB pressures and he has yet to miss a tackle.
The 4-3 Over formation that Dan Quinn has chose to run has brought the best out of Micah Parsons. His elite speed and versatility have allowed him to play both EDGE and off-ball linebacker. Coverage might be Parsons’ greatest weakness since he’s allowed 134 yards to receivers when targeted. But Parsons is doing plenty when blitzing and has only missed five tackles all season.
Speaking of rookies, we aren’t talking enough about DT Osa Odighizuwa. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft, he has filled in wonderfully for Neville Gallimore. Odighizuwa had this to say about his progress this season:
"“Just having started the past six games, which I didn’t even think I was going to be doing into this season until [Gallimore] went down, so definitely further along than I thought I’d be right now”"
And far along he has come. Coming in from the defensive tackle spot, he’s gotten eight QB pressures along with 2 sacks, and five QB Knockdowns. Dan Quinn has also used him and his athletic 6’2 frame in all sorts of ways.
Here we can see Odighizuwa lined up on the right side in a two point stance as if he’s a defensive end. According to Pro Football Focus has the second highest win percentage among rookie interior DL through six weeks at 11.9%. The last two drafts we’ve landed some serious talent in the first two rounds.
While the Dallas Cowboys defense has been far from perfect this season, it has done exactly what we’ve needed from it. The general sentiment around the Cowboys was that if the defense is around the top 15 mark, that will make Dallas a legitimate contender given the potent offense.
We need to continue to limit the passing yards and Points Per Game but the work the Dan Quinn has done for us is impressive and a stark contrast from the 2020 Cowboys.
- Published on 10/28/2021 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 10/26/2021 at 18:35 PM