Mike McCarthy seemingly takes shot at Dan Quinn to reignite storied rivalry

Things are heating up...
Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn
Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Mike McCarthy seemingly took a shot at Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn over his management of former first-round pick Mazi Smith.

The Washington Commanders-Dallas Cowboys rivalry is fierce and one of the league's most historical. It's been pretty one-sided in recent years, but the new regime is hoping to be more competitive in the not-too-distant future.

Of course, the connections between the two franchises grew exponentially this offseason. Dan Quinn arrived as head coach. Many coaches and players followed the respected figure to DC. With the prospect of more exciting additions to come via the 2024 NFL Draft, the Commanders might not be the NFC East's laughingstock for much longer.

Mike McCarthy is under pressure to get the Cowboys over the proverbial hump and into a Super Bowl when competitive action begins once again. Anything less would put him on football's hottest seat with team owner Jerry Jones not getting any younger. He also raised the stakes where Quinn is concerned by seemingly taking a shot at his former defensive coordinator.

Mike McCarthy's perceived slight should motivate Commanders' Dan Quinn

This all centered on Mazi Smith, who was Dallas' first-round pick in 2023. Most analysts thought he'd be utilized as a genuine nose tackle thanks to his size and ability to disrupt from the interior. Instead, it's speculated that Quinn asked him to lose some weight in pursuit of being deployed as an 3-tech tackle. Something that failed to have the desired effect.

McCarthy was perceived to slight this decision when speaking about Smith at the NFL owners' meetings. The head coach stated that they were returning the Michigan college product to the weight in which he starred for the Wolverines. So it's clear there was some friction between the two parties about how best to use the rookie.

While there isn't any confirmed animosity between McCarthy and Quinn, comments like this lift the curtain somewhat. If the same trend continues throughout the offseason, they are going to reignite one of the league most better rivalries along the way.

Quinn was doing what he thought best for Smith. He's not the type to actively sabotage a young player. It didn't work out, so it's back to the drawing board from McCarthy's point of view as the Commanders' new head coach looks to knock his old employers off their perch.

It might take time, but the Commanders are on the right path. Quinn wasn't everyone's choice, but he's enthusiastic and highly respected around the league. Had it not been for his presence, the likes of Dorance Armstrong, Frankie Luvu, and Jeremy Chinn might have gone elsewhere.

As for the Cowboys? They come into the new campaign with far more questions than answers. Dak Prescott's contract situation is an ever-growing cloud and the fanbase grew frustrated at the team's lack of free-agent activity. There's also the small matter of McCarthy's future if his team fluff their lines yet again.

High stakes, indeed. But Quinn would be wise to ignore everything coming from elsewhere and focus on the primary task at hand - getting the Commanders back to respectability and beyond under his leadership.

If he can do this, a few envious glances might be emanating from Dallas at long last.