Dan Quinn Staying in Dallas, McCaffrey Misses Practice Again, and Other NFL Bullets
Happy Friday! Fun fact: the sun will set after 5:00 pm today for the first time since November 5. Which means that we’re getting closer to spring! We learned Thursday evening that Dan Quinn would be sticking around in Dallas for at least one more season. We also saw the Panthers hire Frank Reich, signaling the first domino to fall in the head coaching cycle.
- Reich takes over for Steve Wilks, who replaced Matt Rhule ahead of Week 5 after Rhule was fired following a 1-4 start. The 61-year-old Reich went 40-33-1 in four-plus seasons with the Colts, reaching the playoffs twice and winning one postseason game.
- But why Reich? Why not Steve Wilks? The belief is that owner David Tepper was initially focused on hiring an offensive-minded coach. According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, Tepper was originally “enamored” with Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Then, of course, Johnson withdrew himself from consideration and made it clear that he was staying in Detroit for another year.
- After Johnson was out of the fold, the Panthers engaged with Reich again, along with interim head coach Steve Wilks. Sean Payton and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore were also interviewed last week. But, in the end, Tepper preferred the balance of offensive background and experience that Reich Brought to the table over all of those finalists.
- The attorney for Steve Wilks wasn’t as convinced that the hiring was simply schematic. Wilks’ attorney released a statement expressing shock and disbelief at the decision to hire Reich over his client on Thursday:
“We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into Playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the Head Coach position by David Tepper.
“There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”
- Wilks did a fantastic job with the Panthers after taking over for Rhule, leading Carolina to a 6-6 finish. The Panthers flirted with a playoff berth down to the season’s final week.
- Mike Jones of The Athletic dove into the decision and the ramifications it has on Wilks and other Black coaches in the NFL:
- Wilks also released a statement this morning:
- We also learned that another hot name in the hiring process would be sticking around their current team for at least one more season. Dan Quinn notified interested teams that he would stay in Dallas in 2023. The Broncos, Cardinals, and Colts were interested in Quinn for their head coaching jobs.
- However, with Quinn off the market, and the Carolina job spoken for, things begin to get interesting on the head coaching front. Four positions remain, with two of them reportedly very high on 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans.
- Ryans has emerged as a top candidate for the Broncos’ job and is also a favorite for the Texans’ job. Thinking about it this morning, the reports regarding Ryans on Thursday afternoon and the news that Quinn was staying in Dallas makes me believe that Ryans will get one of those two jobs.
- Quinn was also a candidate for the Denver job, and yesterday’s events make it seem like Ryans is getting Quinn’s preferred job, so he’s staying in Dallas.
- With Quinn staying in Dallas, the Cowboys have one less question to answer this offseason. However, there are still plenty of things for Mike McCarthy to sort out. Such as, what to do with Kellen Moore. Moore’s offense has grown stale and repetitive in Dallas, and it’s likely time for a new voice in Dak Prescott’s earn next season.
- So, tried to answer three significant questions for the McCarthy and the Cowboys as they head into the offseason:
- Despite not practicing on Wednesday and Thursday, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey is confident he is playing on Sunday. The same goes for wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Samuel missed practice on Wednesday but was a participant yesterday.
- Jimmy Garoppolo, Elijah Mitchell, and McCaffrey did not practice on Thursday. 49ers beat writer David Lombardi says there’s no doubt that McCaffrey plays on Sunday.
- If the NFL can bring back the excitement of the old-school skills challenges next week, they may just be able to save the Pro Bowl event. With more focus on individual skill and talent under the revamped design, I’m optimistic.
- Ben Solak wrote a really good story on Joe Burrow’s evolution for The Ringer yesterday:
- The Bulls are really bad. This just isn’t going to work: