Dallas Cowboys’ Dan Quinn made a Jason Garrett mistake without being Jason Garrett

Roger Steinman (Garrett); Ron Jenkins (Quinn)/Associated Press
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The Dallas Cowboys will retain their “top three” coaches, when one of them should already be a head coach elsewhere.*

(*True, if you believe the owner.)

Mike McCarthy was never going to be fired, no matter how badly so much of the world wants to believe owner Jerry Jones would eat more than $15 million to make MM go away so he could hire Sean Payton.

It’s difficult to envision a team hiring offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to be its head coach considering the way the Cowboys finished the season.

Which leaves defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is gambling that his stock and value will be as high, or higher, this time next year as it is today.

Either Quinn ultimately wants to be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and he’s following the Jason Garrett Plan, or he fell for another Jerry Jones’ sales pitch.

On Friday morning, Jerry called the Dallas Cowboys’ flagship radio station, KRLD 105.3 The Fan, to make an unscheduled appearance. He wanted to clear up a few subjects, starting with the job security of his head coach.

Sounds like the Cowboys are runnin’ it back in 2022.

Whereas on Jerry’s previous radio appearance he said he was “mad,” now he sounds like Jerry again. Hopeful. Optimistic. Selling.

Jerry said McCarthy was always coming back, and that Quinn had a chance to be an NFL head coach but passed on the opportunity to return for a second season with the Cowboys.

Take that free scoop of ice cream Jerry offered during this radio interview with some hesitation; there is always some “truthiness” to Jerry’s “candid” answers. And I’m not tryin’ to be trite. Seeresly.

Jerry said Quinn turned down offers to become an NFL head coach, which, if true, is a dangerous path for the Cowboys defensive coordinator, and has shades of what Jason Garrett did more than a decade ago.

Jerry said he envisions DQ to be his DC for “years to come.”

As a former NFL head coach who had the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl, Dan Quinn cannot possibly want this for his career.

Because DQ must know that in the eyes of Jerry Jones, he is not Jason Garrett.

JG was always destined to be the eventual head coach of the Cowboys, whereas Quinn’s time with the team has more of a Mike Zimmer feel.

If Quinn did turn down a chance to be an NFL head coach again, it serves as more evidence Jerry could sell a $25 cup of black gas station coffee to Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.

After the 2007 season, then Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett interviewed for the head coaching position in Baltimore, and went so far to have negotiations with the team.

He also talked to the Atlanta Falcons.

And he talked to Jerry, too.

Garrett turned down the Ravens’ offer because the job he always wanted was to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He knew that when his boss, Wade Phillips, was fired he would get his chance.

And Jerry gave Garrett a giant raise to stay, too.

When Jerry hired Garrett to be the team’s offensive coordinator after the 2006 season, he made the move before he hired Wade.

Jerry was grooming Garrett, whom he had known since the 1990s when he was a backup quarterback with the Cowboys, to be his Tom Landry.

When Jerry fired Uncle Wade in the middle of the 2010 season, he named Garrett the interim head coach. Garrett would become the longest-tenured coach of the Cowboys behind Landry.

Jerry didn’t fire Garrett, either. His contract expired after the 2019 season, and he was not retained.

Quinn cannot expect the type of love, loyalty and respect Jerry showed Jason. What Jerry did for Jason was to treat him like family.

What Dan Quinn did in his first season with the Cowboys was going to attract suitors, and it did.

Whether the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos or New York Giants actually offered their head coaching positions to Quinn the public will never know.

He took his name out of consideration, and he’s back for another year.

If Quinn wants to be an NFL head coach again, and he rejected one of these jobs, he’s taking an enormous risk.

You never know if they’re going to call again.

And if Dan Quinn wants to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, someone in his family, or his “camp,” needs to tell him that, to Jerry Jones, he’s not Jason Garrett.