Report: Cowboys have interest in Ron Rivera as defensive coordinator if Dan Quinn leaves

The final win of the season for the Dallas Cowboys came in Week 18 on the road against the Washington Commanders. It was also the final game for the other staff involved, so to speak.

Shortly after the regular season concluded the Commanders announced that they would be moving on from head coach Ron Rivera. Interestingly Rivera was hired in the same cycle of 2020 that Mike McCarthy was and finished every season with a sub .500 record, although in that initial year it was good enough to win the division.

Rivera has been around the NFL for a long time and has been a head coach every season since 2011 when he took over the Carolina Panthers. Genuinely coaches with that kind of history do not take a step down to the coordinator role which is why it was interesting when he interviewed for that job with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philly ultimately hired Vic Fangio to run their defense, and Kellen Moore to run their offense, which means Rivera is still looking for a home. If the current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn ultimately leaves, he still has a chance to incidentally take Rivera’s old job in Washington including the skipper role with the Seattle Seahawks, then Dallas will be looking for someone to fill the role.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Sunday… Dallas has interest in Rivera in that particular hypothetical.

“What if Dan Quinn leaves the Dallas Cowboys? Here’s an interesting one. Ron Rivera has already interviewed for the Eagles defensive coordinator job. I’m told that the Cowboys have some interest in potentially looking into Rivera as their defensive coordinator if Dan Quinn leaves. You could actually have the former Commanders coach become the Cowboys defensive coordinator.”

Washington’s defense was fairly okay two years ago, but for the most part it has been a bit of a tough scene under Rivera which is not a great look for him given that defense is his specialty.

To be fair to Rivera, the Commanders sort of punted the 2023 season at the trade deadline as they dealt away Montez Sweat and Chase Young. But still the Washington group has been one that Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy have exposed a lot over the last four years, it is hard to imagine how Cowboys could have seen it up close and personal so often and wanted it as a part of their organization.

Perhaps the Cowboys want Rivera’s leadership qualities in charge of their defense, one of the few things he seems to be exemplary at. Rivera built a strong culture with the Carolina Panthers and did what he could (it was a daunting job) to navigate the Washington franchise through a number of situations.

Rivera actually interviewed for the Cowboys head coaching job many moons ago. He interviewed back in 2007 when the job ultimately went to Wade Phillips. Perhaps he will finally join the team in the here and now.


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