3 Likely Replacements for Dan Quinn as Cowboys Defensive Coordinator

The Dallas Cowboys will need to find a new defensive coordinator with Dan Quinn departing.

Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera on the field
Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera on the field / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Mike Vrabel

Surprisingly, Vrabel was fired by the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 9. He's certainly a top candidate on the market but was passed over for any open-heading coaching position. That could benefit Dallas, though.

Vrabel is the definition of a culture-changer and alpha. Over six seasons in Tennessee, the 48-year-old went 54-45. He led the Titans to an AFC Championship Game in 2019, which started three straight playoff runs.

As a former player, Vrabel has a different way of connecting with his players. The potential addition of Vrabel would provide the Cowboys with a certified "CEO" on that side of the ball. Head coach Mike McCarthy likes to have former NFL head coaches running his defense and Vrabel would fit the bill.

Of course, Vrabel's hiring would be contingent on him being open to a demotion. Given his résumé, he may think this is an undeserved step down. It would also limit his options in the short term, as he's expected to be a prime HC candidate next offseason when more openings are available.

McCarthy may not like a coach who's used to having a ton of power looking over his shoulder, either. After all, Vrabel molded his Titans teams around his identity and operated as a de facto GM, so his arrival could set the stage for a power struggle.

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