Mike Zimmer back in Dallas is a good but ‘not very outside the box’ hire

Dallas is bringing back an oldie, but a goodie.

The Cowboys have gone back into the archives and pulled out Mike Zimmer to be their new defensive coordinator following the departure of Daniel Quinn, who was recently hired by the Washington Commanders.

Fans should be familiar with Zimmer after his 12 years on Dallas’ staff (1994-2006), the last six he spent as defensive coordinator.

David Helman reacted to the news of Zimmer’s return on Thursday’s edition of “The NFL on FOX Podcast,” with mixed feelings. Helman approved of the familiar and qualified hire, but he also felt slighted by the lackluster process.

“Not a very outside the box hire,” Helman said. “I wouldn’t call this a particularly inspiring hire in terms of the process. Not the name, but the Cowboys’ process of getting here.”

Mike Zimmer hired as Cowboys’ defensive coordinator | NFL on FOX Pod

Mike Zimmer hired as Cowboys' defensive coordinator | NFL on FOX Pod

For Helman, the choice to hire Zimmer back in Dallas after eight years with Minnestoa (2014-2021) was an easy one for Jerry Jones, as he believes the longtime Cowboys’ owner wanted someone familiar with the team’s game plan.

“As soon as they lost Dan Quinn, it was obvious Jerry Jones wanted to replace him with a similar mold of coach,” Helman added. “A guy that’s been a head coach … a defensive coordinator. Called plays. Been through the wars. Knows what to do … It was obvious this was not going to be a young guy who was going to come in and learn the ropes.”

While the re-hire of Zimmer didn’t thrill Helman, he didn’t disagree with the choice, as the 67-year-old’s résumé speaks for itself.

“If you’re a fan looking for fresh and new and exciting — this isn’t that,” Helman said. “But, at the same time, it can still be a really good hire, because Mike Zimmer knows defense. His Minnesota defenses were Top 10 in scoring D in five of his eight years … He’s been there; he’s done that. He knows about bringing pressure.”

Ultimately, for Helman, Zimmer back with the Cowboys is a good choice, although a bit boring in terms of creativity.

“There is a lot to like about what Mike Zimmer can bring to this job, even if the way the Cowboys got there wasn’t particularly creative,” Helman said. “Overall, I think it’s a good decision.”

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