DC Dan Quinn returning to Cowboys after HC interviews

FRISCO, Texas -- For the second straight year, Dan Quinn has decided to pass up potential head-coaching jobs to remain as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator.

Quinn interviewed with the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts in the past few weeks.

"Unfinished business here in Dallas. My complete focus is helping the team play championship ball in 2023," Quinn told ESPN's Ed Werder.

During his end-of-season news conference, coach Mike McCarthy hinted at a possible return by saying, "I feel good about where we are," but "We'll give Dan his due time."

Not long after the session ended, McCarthy confirmed Quinn's decision to stay.

"We're all extremely excited to have Dan back," McCarthy said. "Had a chance to visit with him a short while ago. This is big for us. Gives us continuity, definitely what we've accomplished the last two years, building off of that. Frankly, on a personal note, I can't tell you how thankful I am."

The Cowboys became the first team to lead the NFL in takeaways in consecutive years since the 1972-74 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cowboys finished tied for fifth in points allowed per game and 12th in yards. Micah Parsons is a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year and was named a first-team All-Pro for the second straight season. Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Trevon Diggs were all named to the Pro Bowl.

"I think there's a bunch of reasons," McCarthy said. "I think it's staff. I think it's players. I think he's been a head coach, he understands at this point of his life how hard it is to win a Super Bowl. So I think all of those things play into that. I think clearly Dan is in a position to be selective, and I'm extremely excited about the decision."

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore interviewed this week with the Carolina Panthers, who ultimately hired Frank Reich. McCarthy said he has yet to have a full meeting with Moore about the offense and the future. The Cowboys finished fourth in points per game and 11th in yards in 2022, despite not having quarterback Dak Prescott for five games because of a broken thumb.

But the season ended with a 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs that has led to questions regarding Moore, who remains under contract.

"I really don't want to play this game," McCarthy said. "Kellen Moore, just like the rest of the coaches, will be evaluated. Every coach will be evaluated. The evaluation, it takes more than one day."

On Thursday, McCarthy confirmed assistant head coach Rob Davis, senior defensive assistant George Edwards, offensive line coach Joe Philbin, running backs coach Skip Peete, assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett and quality control coach Kyle Valero will not return.

"It's that time of year where you evaluate everything," McCarthy said. "The longer I do this, it clearly gets harder. There's a personal component. Obviously, you're talking about some relationships I've been involved with for a long time. That part is probably the toughest clearly for me."

McCarthy's immediate future is not in question. He is under contract through 2024. The Cowboys won 12 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1994-95, and he became the first Cowboys coach to lead the team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since Chan Gailey in 1998-99.

Despite the success, McCarthy's job status has been in question numerous times the past two years even if it has not been an issue for owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

"As far as my relationship with Jerry, just using his words, we're in an excellent spot," McCarthy said. "The partnership that we have, he's excited about. He told me a number of times this week that he wants me to coach here as long as Coach (Tom) Landry did (29 years). I said, 'OK, that's a long time.'"