The Dallas Cowboys saw their defensive coordinator Dan Quinn leave for the Washington Commanders head coaching job this offseason, and their plan for replacing Quinn has clearly been to find another former head coach to lead the defense.
They reportedly interviewed Ron Rivera, Rex Ryan, and Mike Zimmer for the vacancy, with the goal to find a “head coach of the defense” while Mike McCarthy heads up the offensive side of the ball for at least one more year (after facing considerable heat from Cowboys fans after their latest disappointing end to the season). This weekend, word emerged that Zimmer was expected to land the job, as the former Vikings head coach (and longtime Cowboys defensive assistant and coordinator in the 90s and early 00s) was headed to Dallas.
On Sunday’s Super Bowl edition of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Adam Schefter relayed that report on air with Ryan sitting at the desk, making for a bit of an awkward moment, particularly with Ryan not agreeing with Schefter that the job was Zimmer’s.
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Ryan might be just dabbling in semantics, as a deal’s not a deal until paperwork is signed, or he’s holding out hope he gets the call and Jerry Jones changes his mind at the last minute. Either way, it’s not often someone at the desk outright disagrees with one of ESPN’s top newsbreakers.
As for Ryan’s interest in the job, he said it’s the first time in the last 7 years he’s called a head coach about a vacancy, asking to be considered. That’s because he believes the Cowboys have the roster to make the Super Bowl and he wants to be part of that. If nothing else, that quote will make Jerry Jones happy and it probably wasn’t the worst attempt at Ryan to make one last pitch for the job before it (likely) goes to Zimmer.