The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Commanders (formerly the Redskins) used to have one of the greatest rivalries in the NFL.
Over the years, the rivalry has faded a bit mainly due to Washington’s inability to compete consistently for division titles under former owner Dan Snyder..
But it’s a new era in DC. There’s a positivity surrounding the franchise that hasn’t been there in quite sometime and the new ownership group, led by Josh Harris, Magic Johnson and others, looked to their division rivals when it came to the first major head coaching hire.
The Washington Commanders surprised many around the NFL last Thursday when it was announced former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would be the man in charge if turning the culture around under new owner Josh Harris and general manager Adam Peters.
Since Peters was hired from the San Francisco 49ers as the team’s new GM, almost every reporter —both locally and nationally — had the Commanders attached to offensive coordinator Ben Johnson pegged as the next coach.
But while the Washington brass was on the plane to Detroit, the 37-year-old OC said he was staying with the Lions in a move that stunned everyone in NFL circles.
Dan Quinn didn’t hesitate to tap into his former colleagues in Dallas when taking the job over. He also brought secondary coach/passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. as Washington’s new defensive coordinator, who was scheduled to interview with Dallas for the same position.
Quinn played a vital role in turning around a Cowboys defense that gave up 29.6 points per game in 2020. In the time that he was the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, the defense finished top 10 in points allowed, ranking fifth during the 2023 season. The Cowboys were also fifth in total yards allowed and tied for 12th in turnovers. He was named Assistant Coach of the Year by The Associated Press in 2021.
While the new Commanders head coach took an unconventional approach, naming former Arizona Cardinals an USC assistant Kliff Kingsbury as his offensive coordinator, he’s continued to try to poach assistants from Dallas.
But Jerry Jones is putting his foot down, The Cowboys owner is refusing to let Washington interview a few of its key assistant coaches.
Dallas Cowboys Blocking Washington Commanders From Interviewing 2 Key Position Coaches Including Al Harris
As Quinn continues to assemble his staff in D.C., he looked to Dallas to fill some of the key position coaches in Washington.
The Cowboys allowed the Commanders permission to interview assistant DL coach Shariff Floyd and quality control coach/defensive assistant Pete Ohnegian, but there are two rising stars in the coaching ranks Jerry Jones refuses to let go with Quinn to Washington.
In addition to blocking Washington from interviewing TE coach Lunda Wells, the Cowboys denied the Commanders from speaking with DBs coach Al Harris, per a source.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) February 8, 2024
“In addition to blocking Washington from interviewing TE coach Lunda Wells, the Cowboys denied the Commanders from speaking with DBs coach Al Harris, per a source,” ESPN Dallas reporter Todd Archer said.
Lunda Wells enters his third season as the Dallas Cowboys tight ends coach after leading the unit to a successful 2021 campaign.
The tight end group was led again by Dalton Schultz in 2021, and under Wells’ leadership Schultz recorded his best season to date with 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns – becoming the second Cowboys tight end to record 70 catches in a season (Jason Witten, nine times). Most importantly, Schultz became a reliable third down target for Dak Prescott, who found Schultz for 13 first down conversions on third downs in 2021 – second on the Cowboys and tied for fifth among NFL tight ends.
Defensive backs coach Al Harris was a name buzzing amongst Washington Commanders fans, as the former NFL star corner is viewed as a rising star in the coaching ranks.
The Dallas Cowboys hired Al Harris to assist in coaching the defensive backs in 2020. Harris brought a wealth of knowledge to the Cowboys, spending the last 11 years in coaching at both the collegiate and professional levels after finishing a 15-year NFL career as a prolific secondary player, earning two Pro Bowl nods and an All-Pro selection.
Under Harris’ watch, second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs experienced a meteoric rise during the 2021 season, becoming one of the best players at his position as he led the NFL with a franchise-high tying 11 interceptions. He’s played a major part in turning the Cowboys secondary into one of the best in the NFL.