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Now that the Dallas Cowboys have hired former Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator to fix the coaching and scheme issues that led to one of the worst performances in franchise history, they must upgrade the personnel on that side of the ball.

It wasn't just scheme, a lack of communication and poor decision-making by fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan that resulted in the Cowboys giving up the most points and the second most yards in franchise history.

A lack of playmakers also played a role.

That was a problem in 2019 when the Cowboys fired coach Jason Garrett and replaced him with Mike McCarthy, who brought Nolan in as defensive coordinator.

The notion then was that the scheme was too predictable and simple under Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard.

So Nolan was supposed to usher in a change from the 4-3 to a multiple front that went from the 4-3 to the 3-4 based on matchups.

The Cowboys weren't able to put in the new scheme during the offseason because of the coronavirus shutdown, so they tried to do it on the fly in training camp. Disaster ensued once the season started.

Nolan paid with his job.

Quinn is here to fix the mess with a similar scheme and philosophy used by Marinelli and Richard in 2019.

Quinn earned his reputation as one of the top defensive minds with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and 2014 when they made back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl and led the NFL in yards allowed and points allowed.

Richard succeeded him in Seattle when Quinn became the Falcons coach and subsequently brought the philosophy to Dallas in 2018.

The Cowboys should see immediate improvement because Quinn's scheme fits the players on the team.

But an infusion in talent is a must if they want Seattle-like results from Quinn.

The Seahawks had multiple difference-makers on every level of the defense -- defensive line, linebacker and secondary. The names include Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

All were among the NFL's best players at their positions.

Quinn wasn't able to duplicate that success with the Falcons. Only in 2017 did the Falcons rank in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. In Quinn's four other seasons, Atlanta ranked 20th or worse in both categories.

And then there is the matter of blowing the 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

Coaches are important, but players matter most.

Quinn's arrival won't fix the defense alone. His scheme requires elite level play at defensive tackle and safety.

The Cowboys defense fields just one proven difference-maker in defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. They like what they have in defensive end Randy Gregory, cornerback Trevon Diggs and safety Donovan Wilson.

Nose tackle Antwaun Woods is a solid performer. Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore flashed potential.

But the team has a conundrum at linebacker with Leighton Vander Esch's injuries and Jaylon Smith's declining play.

Without upgrades in talent, the mighty Quinn won't make much of a difference.


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