The 2021 NFL regular season is officially on the books and as the Dallas Cowboys head to the playoffs, 18 teams aren’t so lucky. One of the units that are staying at home for the playoffs is actually a team that beat the Cowboys quite easily – the Denver Broncos. It’s been a tough race for Denver this season, but they seem to have enough pieces to be interesting if they make the right changes over the next few months.

The Broncos embarked on a radical change by sacking head coach Vic Fangio on Sunday morning. They are obviously looking for a new head coach and, according to NFL Network, want to interview Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Denver is the second team so far to request an interview with Quinn, with the Jacksonville Jaguars being the other. Quinn actually declined to interview the Jaguars within the time frame they requested because he expressed his commitment to the Cowboys playoff race. It stands to reason that he will take the same approach with the Broncos, but that remains to be seen.

The Cowboys have been very successful in defense this year and obviously Quinn is a big reason for that. Seems like forever at this point, but it’s worth noting that Quinn was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for over five years before coming to Dallas. It always made sense that new head coaching opportunities would present themselves soon for him if he was successful in his first position away from Atlanta. Here we are.

Of note, the NFL Network specifically said Quinn would be a “strong candidate” for the Broncos, apparently inferring that it could very well become his job. If he were to leave the Cowboys, he would obviously need a defensive coordinator for 2022.

Options for Dan Quinn’s replacement as defensive coordinator in Dallas

The Broncos were obviously not the only team to leave the head coach. Monday brought with him the news that the Minnesota Vikings fired Mike Zimmer, who is obviously a name with a defensive history in Dallas. He would theoretically be an option to take over as defensive coordinator and it should be noted that there has been a lot of smoke with Zimmer and the Cowboys before.

By BTB in January 2020 when Dallas was leaving Jason Garrett and before hiring Mike McCarthy:

December 28, 2019: Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network suggested which the Cowboys could trade for Mike Zimmer (unless he’s fired, he can only be acquired through trade).

December 29, 2019: ProFootballTalkby Mike Florio appointed Mike Zimmer optional for the Cowboys position before the last game of the 2019 regular season.

January 1, 2020: In an episode of the Yahoo Sports NFL podcast, Charles Robinson rejected the idea of Dallas pairing Lincoln Riley (as head coach) with Mike Zimmer (as defensive coordinator) if the latter was fired.

January 3, 2020: ESPN’s Dan Graziano Noted that he believed the Cowboys could go with a defensive head coach (he suggested Dennis Allen or Leslie Frazier) but added that he would watch the Saints-Vikings Wildcard game and the Cowboys could “race” Zimmer. For what it’s worth, Graziano also mentioned Dan Campbell as another option.

There’s no guarantee that Zimmer will be the defensive coordinator of the future, but he’s definitely an option. For what it’s worth, maybe the Cowboys could just trade with the Denver Broncos and hire Vic Fangio to be their new defensive coordinator. Mike McCarthy loved his former head coaches very much throughout his time in Dallas, as Dan Quinn and many others testify.

Buckle up. Things could change here.