Cowboys lose another member of defensive coaching staff to Commanders

Dan Quinn isn't the only member of the Dallas Cowboys defensive coaching staff leaving for the rival Washington Commanders.

October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy before the
October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy before the / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This upcoming season could be make or break for Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy. The team is coming off another disappointing end, as they were decisively defeated by the No. 7 Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card Round, despite clinching the No. 2 seed and winning the NFC East title with a 12-5 record.

With McCarthy entering a contract year, he will be without his top assistant coach. Dan Quinn, who helped turn the Cowboys into a legitimate defense as their coordinator, is heading to the rival Washington Commanders to be their head coach. As if that wasn't bad enough for the Cowboys, despite their final game of the season, they are set to lose another top assistant to Washington.

According to NFL Network's Steve Wyche, Cowboys secondary coach and pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. is joining the Commanders to be their new defensive coordinator.

Cowboys lose Joe Whitt Jr. to Commanders, who becomes their new defensive coordinator

This move was hinted as possibly happening shortly after Quinn accepted Washington's head coaching gig.

Whitt was the secondary coach and pass game coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2020 season. However, Quinn was fired five games into the 2020 campaign, but Whitt remained with the team for the rest of the year. Upon Quinn earning the defensive coordinator role in Dallas, Whitt joined him.

Here is how the Cowboys' defense performed against the pass in Whitt's three years with the team.


Passing Yards Allowed Per Game

Passing Touchdowns Allowed

Interceptions recorded


238.2 (20th)

24 (seventh-fewest in NFL)

26 (most in NFL)


200.9 (eighth)

23 (tied-14th most in NFL)

16 (seventh-most in NFL)


187.4 (fifth)

21 touchdowns (tied 10th-fewest in NFL)

17 (tied eighth-most in NFL)

This is a substantial loss for the Cowboys. Let's not forget that Whitt worked alongside McCarthy for 11 of McCarthy's 13-year tenure as Green Bay Packers head coach. Besides that, Whitt could have been an internal hire to replace Quinn if they so chose. But that's no longer the case.

As for who the Cowboys could hire to replace Quinn, they plan to interview former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and ex-Commanders sideline boss Ron Rivera for the defensive coordinator opening.

Whitt is now one of Quinn's top assistant coaches for the Commanders alongside Kliff Kingsbury, who was hired to be the team's offensive coordinator.

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