In the pool of candidates to replace former Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the team has included a few fish with big names and splashy reputations. But one interviewee has apparently slipped in, a little under the radar perhaps, who has connections both to the man he’d report to in Dallas and the man whose office he’d be taking over.
Marquand Manuel was reportedly set to interview to be the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator on Thursday, joining a list that- so far- includes former NFL head coaches Mike Zimmer, Ron Rivera, and Rex Ryan, as well as current Dallas defensive line coach Aden Durde.
Manuel, 44, has served as the New York Jets’ safeties coach for three seasons. Prior to that, he’d been with three other NFL teams in various capacities over the past decade and enjoyed an eight-year career as a player.
Add another name to the Cowboys' defensive coordinator mix: NY Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel scheduled to interview Thursday, per sources. Manuel was Atlanta's DC in 2017-18, played for Mike McCarthy in 2006. He's been an assistant in Seattle Atlanta, Philly and the Jets.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) February 8, 2024
A sixth-round draft pick by Cincinnati in 2002, Manuel spent two years as a Bengal and then two years as a Seahawk, making a start in Super Bowl XL. A month later, he signed as a free agent in 2006 with the Packers under their newly-hired head coach, Mike McCarthy. Manuel started all 16 games that season for Green Bay.
His playing days lasted three more seasons- one each in Carolina, Denver, and Detroit. After spending two years out of the game, Manuel returned to Seattle in 2012 as an assistant special teams coach. He returned to the Seahawks staff the following season, as a defensive assistant under new coordinator Dan Quinn, and the two helped lead the Legion of Boom defense to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Manuel stayed with Quinn in Seattle one more year and then followed him to Atlanta. There, he worked his way up from defensive backs coach in 2015 to secondary coach in 2016 for the team’s trip to Super Bowl LI, and finally to defensive coordinator in 2017.
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He left the Falcons after the 2018 campaign and next spent the 2020 season as the Eagles’ defensive backs coach before finally signing on with the Jets in 2021 under head coach Robert Saleh.
How Manuel might fit into a ranking of the other candidates the Cowboys have spoken to isn’t immediately clear, but he brings a lot of defensive experience and has been around an impressive list of coaching talent.
The Cowboys were said to have wanted to get Manuel’s interview on the books before owner Jerry Jones and others leave for Las Vegas to attend NFL Honors on Thursday night and Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.