NFL Rumors: Cowboys ignoring obvious DC candidates for milquetoast retreads

The Cowboys DC candidates aren't exactly exciting.

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera
Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys need a new defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn landed the Washington Commanders head coaching gig.

Right now, their options look more suited for Nick Saban's coach rehab at Alabama than a DC job on a Super Bowl contender.

Jerry Jones and company are reportedly interviewing former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera.

Zimmer was fired as the Vikings' head coach in 2021. He spent the 2022 season as a consultant for Deion Sanders at Jackson State. He hasn't been a full-time defensive coordinator since 2013 with the Bengals.

Rivera was just fired after three years with the Commanders. He hasn't been a full-time defensive coordinator since 2010 with the Chargers.

Cowboys DC search shouldn't end with Mike Zimmer or Ron Rivera

So the two defensive coordinator interviews the Cowboys plan to hold from outside the organization are with candidates who haven't held a similar position in a decade or more.

Don't get me wrong, Zimmer and Rivera were certainly involved in their defenses when they were head coaches. But that doesn't help make either a more attractive hire.

Washington's defense gave up 30.5 points and 388.9 yards per game in 2023, both worst in the NFL.

Zimmer's Vikings fielded a terrible defense in 2021. Ranking 30th in yards per game with 383.6 and 25th in points per game with 25.5.

The Cowboys would be better off promoting one of their internal candidates like Joe Whitt Jr., who they'd have to beat out the Commanders for, or defensive line coach Aden Durde, who is expected to get an interview.

But there have got to be other external candidates to consider. Go swing for the fences and make former Titans head coach Mike Vrabel an offer he can't refuse. Talk to former Giants DC Wink Martindale. Take a run at Shane Bowen, who may or may not stay on as Tennessee's DC.

Settling for retreads like Rivera or Zimmer isn't the way to go.

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