The 2021 Dallas Cowboys defense is taking some semblance of shape following the hires of new coordinator Dan Quinn and now passing game coordinator Joe Whitt, Jr. There’s plenty to dissect as Cowboys Nation reads the tea leaves on the connection between Quinn and Whitt… and Whitt and Mike McCarthy. Read on to learn why there’s both optimism and cause for concern regarding the Whitt news and what Quinn may bring to Dallas.
Also on tap, looking back at what worked in 2020, looking ahead to the Cowboys’ quarterback situation, looking closely at Aldon Smith’s future with the club, and looking for answers as to why Jerry Jones the owner won’t move on from Jerry Jones the general manager. There’s also news on the Cowboys contingent heading to the Senior Bowl, a battle of former Dallas pass-catchers on this weekend’s playoff slate, and a Hollywood superstar standing up for America’s Team to one of the Cowboys’ biggest and loudest haters. All the News and Notes, coming right up…
Does Aldon Smith’s future involve the Cowboys? :: The Mothership
Link The team website explores 2020’s inspiring return of defensive end Aldon Smith, and whether he’ll still be wearing the star in 2021. The 31-year-old could look to cash in on a fat contract elsewhere, or stay to help rebuild the Dallas defense under new coordinator Dan Quinn. Owner Jerry Jones, for one, has made his feelings on Smith clear: “He certainly was more positive than not, and I think he can take this year and build on it, and we want him to build on it to the benefit of the Cowboys.”
Breaking: Cowboys hiring Joe Whitt, Jr. to run secondary :: Cowboys Wire
Link Dan Quinn’s defensive coaching staff will include at least one face familiar to the former Falcons skipper. Joe Whitt, Jr. served as Atlanta’s defensive passing game coordinator last season, and now he’ll serve the same role in Dallas. Whitt also spent several years with Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, and was even considered for the defensive coordinator’s position last offseason that eventually went to one-and-done Mike Nolan.
Cowboys’ hiring of Joe Whitt, Jr. comes with major concerns :: The Landry Hat
Link Some are already wondering if the hiring of Joe Whitt, Jr. is really a step up. Last season under Whitt, the Falcons’ pass defense ranked dead last in the NFL and forced fewer turnovers than even the Cowboys’ underachieving unit. In fact, Whitt’s defenses over the past three seasons have struggled to create takeaways, an aspect of the game Dallas is looking to improve upon significantly.
2021 Cowboys draft prospect: TCU FS Trevon Moehrig is the perfect fit for Dan Quinn’s defense :: Blogging the Boys
Link As the Cowboys aim to upgrade their secondary, they may not have to look any farther than Fort Worth. TCU free safety Trevon Moehrig is described as “a match made in heaven” for Dan Quinn’s Cover 3-heavy defensive scheme. With “elite coverage skills (in man and zone) with the ability to cover hash-to-hash,” the 6-foot-1 junior is the top-rated safety in this year’s draft class.
Who’s going to be the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback in 2021? :: Sportsnaut
Link Not everyone is on board the Dak Prescott train. Some still believe his lack of a long-term deal with the Cowboys portends a parting of the ways. This piece looks at several options: re-signing No. 4, snagging Sam Darnold, drafting North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, bringing Matthew Stafford to town, and swinging for the fences with a trade for Deshaun Watson.
What went right: Finding the positives for the 2020 Cowboys :: WFAA.com
Link It’s easy to focus on the dark clouds of 2020, but Ben Grimaldi says there were silver linings, too. Among them were the chance to do a deep evaluation on several younger offensive linemen, the reminder of the importance of having a game-ready backup quarterback, and the strong play of safety Donovan Wilson.
Hiring Dan Quinn isn’t solely scheme-based. It’s about recapturing Cowboys’ edge shown under Rod Marinelli :: Dallas Morning News
Link Forget scheme for a minute. David Moore writes that the Quinn hire will hearken back to a time in Dallas- like the Marinelli era that ended in 2019- when the defensive coordinator befriended his players and established a brotherhood among them to the point that they’d run through a brick wall for him. “Quinn will be the cool dad defensive players love,” he predicts.
Talking Quinn’s strengths, shortcomings and potential Cowboys free agents on 105.3 :: Cowboys Wire
Link Our own K.D. Drummond hit the airwaves this week to discuss several aspects of Dan Quinn’s defensive resume, ideas for how to fix the Cowboys secondary, and the previously-unthinkable notion that Dallas may be ready to move on from Tyron Smith.
Cowboys coaches opt out of 2020 Senior Bowl :: Calvin Watkins (Twitter)
If you care, I know you do, Cowboys coaches will not attend Senior Bowl this year. Just personnel department will head to Mobile. Limited numbers in Mobile due to COVID-19.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 13, 2021
Why Jerry Jones won’t pull a John Elway and step down as Cowboys’ GM :: ESPN
Link “If Jones had a business venture operate without the ultimate success for as long as the Cowboys have gone without a Super Bowl, then he would fire the person[s] responsible,” writes Todd Archer. But don’t look for Jerry to do what the Broncos’ president of football operations did by relieving himself of the team’s GM duties last week. Archer digs in to explain why the Cowboys’ unique organizational structure may be part of the problem… but is actually not the “flaw” that’s holding the team back.
Cole Beasley won’t let pain keep him from Bills’ playoff push :: NFL.com
Link It’ll be a battle of Tony Romo’s former targets on Saturday night when the Ravens and Bills square off in Orchard Park. Dez Bryant didn’t log any stats last week for Baltimore, but will look to rebound when he visits former teammate Cole Beasley’s new home. Despite wearing a brace on an injured knee, Beasley was Buffalo’s leading receiver in their first-round win and earned a postgame shout-out from quarterback Josh Allen.
Patriots’ stumble keeps Cowboys’ record intact :: The Mothership
Link The Cowboys, from 1966 to 1986, never had a losing record. Twenty. Consecutive. Seasons. The New England Patriots could have tied the mark this year, but fell short with a 7-9 campaign. Jeff Sullivan of Star Magazine makes the case that the Cowboys’ record of success may well be one that stands forever.
Jamie Foxx defends Cowboys to Stephen A. Smith… as Stephen A. Smith :: ESPN
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