DENVER — The Broncos won with the Cowboys' loss on Sunday.
It opened up the schedule for Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive boss Kellen Moore. The Broncos will interview Quinn and Moore on Tuesday in Dallas, followed by Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon on Wednesday.
The timing is not ideal for the Cowboys coaches after a demoralizing defeat to the San Francisco 49ers that left a trail of questions. Why was Quinn's defense so undisciplined regarding penalties? Does Moore regret calling a Dak Prescott run that turned into a mess because the Cowboys ran out of time at the 24-yard line?
Decisions, however, are not made on one game, and definitely not by Broncos general manager George Paton, who rose to his position of power because of his thoroughness and attention to detail.
Quinn's candidacy bears watching. He has been considered a front runner for the Broncos' job, and not because of a media narrative. He checks a lot of the boxes. Paton wants a leader, first and foremost, and Quinn has established himself as much in stops with Seattle and Atlanta. He has a well-earned reputation for his caffeinated energy and connecting with players — not a strength of Vic Fangio. Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons made a plea during his postgame interview on Sunday for Quinn to stay.
Quinn, 51, has interview requests from the Broncos, Bears, Dolphins and Jaguars. It's possible he receives an offer this week, which could accelerate the Broncos' timeline if they identify him as their choice.
Even with his experience — the only one of the 10 with head coach on his resume — Quinn is not a perfect candidate. He won a Super Bowl ring in Seattle with the Legion of Boom secondary, smothering the Broncos, and led the Falcons to the final game before squandering a 28-3 lead. Quinn's offenses excelled in Atlanta under Kyle Shanahan and Steve Sarkisian, but his defense failed him as he and the general manager were not aligned at the end. Quinn knows Paton well, having worked with him for two years in Miami in 2005 and 2006, and he wanted Paton to follow him to Atlanta.
Moore, 33, led the most explosive Cowboys offense in decades, averaging 30.4 points this season. The Broncos, by comparison, averaged 19.7. Moore is considered a professor with a brilliant mind. However, his personality does not fill a room, and combine that with his age, it's fair to wonder if he requires a little more seasoning.
Mayo, 35, is considered a rising star in the coaching industry. A former standout player, he's respected for his leadership. However, he has only coached three years and never been a coordinator, making it a fair question on whether he could assemble a strong staff.
Gannon, 38, connects back to Paton in Minnesota where he advanced through the ranks. This is Gannon's first season as a defensive coordinator. It has been a roller-coaster ride, concluding with a poor performance against Tampa Bay.
After Wednesday, there will be three candidates left to interview: the Rams' OC Kevin O'Connell, who knows Paton from league circles and time at the combine, the Bengals' OC Brian Callahan, who, like Paton, attended UCLA and began his career coaching high school football, and the Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy, who has carved out a strong reputation for his passion, intensity, while helping Kansas City reach its potential offensively.