The Dallas Cowboys have placed 12 coaches and players on the COVID-19 protocol in the past 10 days. Most recently, it has been reported that Head Coach Mike McCarthy is among them. The Cowboys will be playing without McCarthy on the sidelines on Thursday Night when they square off against the New Orleans Saints.

The Cowboys have lost three out of their last four games, which means they will be in must-win mode throughout December. Although the Saints would appear to many like an “easy” rival, Cowboys Nation has learned to avoid such thoughts.

And not counting with multiple coaches on game day – including the Head Coach – is a legit concern in the NFL. Just ask the Saints, who were forced to play without seven coaches in September and were beaten by the Panthers 26-7.

Who will step up as Dallas Cowboys Interim Head Coach?

The Cowboys have gotten quality coaching from their coordinators most of the season. Knowing that Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn are still calling the shots for their respective units should be enough to feel confident about the team overcoming McCarthy’s absence on Thursday Night Football.

Having said that, managing McCarthy’s gameday responsibilities will be a tough challenge. While many expect it to be a team effort, a report from USA Today’s Jori Epstein points toward assistant HC Rob Davis taking over the coaching staff.

However, that raises even more questions. Rob Davis boasts the Assistant HC job title, but his limited coaching experience likely makes him a “different” kind of coach. I would consider it a surprise if the Dallas Cowboys confide in him with decision-making during the actual game.

Here’s how Rob Davis described his job for the Dallas Cowboys website in 2020 when he joined McCarthy’s staff:

“Most of my post-playing career has been in the life-coaching space, trying to develop high-performing teams, develop young men into better men and better players […] They’re going to do the X’s and O’s, and I hope to provide assistance with both the X’s and O’s, but, more importantly, in the life and development of the whole player.”

The team has yet to make any official announcement on who will be interim HC.

Dan Quinn and John Fassel are other possibilities as both have some HC experience. Quinn led the Atlanta Falcons for more than five seasons. Fassel stepped up as interim HC for the Rams in 2016.

It’s likely that the Dallas Cowboys approach this decision to disrupt a regular game day as little as possible. Moving Quinn out of the coaching booth from which he has called the defense all season sounds quite disrupting.

So, Fassel? Right now, I’d lean toward him taking over as interim HC for the Cowboys on game day. We’ll see how the team proceeds in the next few hours.

Although I expect them to be well equipped with a talented coaching staff, someone has to make the decisions, and how the team approaches this will be big on game day.

Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports