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Dan Quinn to step in as Cowboys' coach vs. Saints with Mike McCarthy sidelined by COVID-19

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  • Mike McCarthy
    Mike McCarthy
    American football coach
  • Dan Quinn
    Dan Quinn
    American football player and coach

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be the point person for the decision-making process during the Saints game on Thursday, head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Monday afternoon.

Quinn, who has coached from the booth this season, will be on the field and will coordinate the defense as usual, McCarthy said.

The responsibility shift comes as McCarthy will miss the New Orleans trip due to COVID-19. McCarthy will stay “completely engaged until game time,” he confirmed, continuing to direct and be involved in meetings including Thursday’s pregame meetings in New Orleans.

The Cowboys had already shifted to virtual meetings amid a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined starting right tackle Terence Steele and several coaches for the New Orleans game.

The NFL has instituted enhanced protocols amid spikes in the virus, daily testing in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated Cowboys staff members this week. McCarthy landed in COVID-19 protocol Monday morning. NFL policy stipulates vaccinated individuals only are subject to protocol if testing positive, and McCarthy has confirmed he is fully vaccinated.

McCarthy had joined his scheduled radio segment earlier Monday morning, mentioning that he had moved into a hotel to exercise extra precaution toward COVID-19.

“Our players have done an excellent job taking the extra step,” McCarthy said early Monday morning on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “Personally, I’ve moved into a hotel the last couple days. Our climate here is we’re doing the things necessary to give us the best chance each and every week.

“I’m confident and have strong belief that as long as we continue to do that we’ll get to where we want to go.”

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn watches team warmups before the first half an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021.
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn watches team warmups before the first half an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021.

Quinn’s defensive responsibilities will remain in place as he moves from the booth to the sideline, with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and special teams coordinator John Fassel overseeing their units. Assistant head coach Rob Davis will continue his administrative duties.

The Cowboys are also without multiple strength and conditioning staff members, their offensive line coach Joe Philbin and assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko.

Cowboys tights end coach Lunda Wells has stepped in overseeing the offensive line, offensive quality control coach Chase Haslett guiding tight ends through the New Orleans game plan. McCarthy said offensive consultant Ben McAdoo, a former Giants head coach, will pitch in as well.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dallas Cowboys: Dan Quinn to step in as coach with Mike McCarthy out

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