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The weekend’s rookie minicamp offered Cowboys fans their first signs of what to expect from the team’s batch of newcomers. Of particular note, the fresh faces making up the supposedly-revamped Dallas defense. Over the three-day session at the team facilities, Micah Parsons, Jabril Cox, Kelvin Joseph, and the rest of the youngsters had their every move put under the microscope.
Based on what was seen and the reports that have trickled out from the gathered media, though, Cowboys Nation might have cause to be the most excited about the 50-year-old out of Morristown, New Jersey.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn came to town with a reputation as a coach that players love to play for, a hands-on teacher who’s not afraid to rumble with the guys during instructional time. And while Quinn may not have been able to do that often while overseeing all phases of the game as head coach in Atlanta, his new role in Dallas is already affording him the opportunity to get in the trenches.
That one-on-one approach doesn’t come as a surprise to Quinn’s former players. Keanu Neal, a safety in Atlanta for five years, saw it first-hand.
NFL insider Jane Slater tweeted over the weekend that Neal told her and producer Bobby Belt that “coach will mix it up with you in his J’s.”
“The time on the field, that’s the best part of the week for me in the preparation phase,” Quinn told reporters recently in his first press conference as Dallas defensive coordinator. “I like teaching in the classroom, but the on-the-field work, in-the-drill work, that part is priceless for me, because you can give instant feedback to somebody about their technique, about where they’re at. And having that energy, man, that’s the best. I love being hands-on with the guys.”
Quinn reportedly got several reps during team drills when sixth-round defensive tackle Quinton Bohanna exited with some shoulder soreness. The Kentucky product said after practice that he was fine, and he ultimately missed just a few snaps before reclaiming his spot from Quinn.
“Coach Quinn looked good, looked like he was ready to get in there,” Bohanna said, per Machota’s minicamp recap in The Athletic. “You know everybody try to go back to their old glory days, but it ain’t no me out there. It’s a big difference when I’m in and when I’m out.”
Quinn is looking to make a big difference of his own in the Cowboys defense of 2021, even if it will be- mostly- from the sidelines.
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