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The Cowboys are out of the postseason, but they’re right in the thick of things as far as the annual coaching carousel is concerned. Mike McCarthy is standing by his opinion that his job is completely secure, even while talk is getting louder about the chances of an imminent return to Dallas by a Jones family favorite. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn remains the hottest ticket in town, as two teams have booked him for a second interview for a head coaching position. One Dallas defensive assistant is getting calls, too… and another staffer has already accepted an offer elsewhere. Meanwhile, we’re looking at who might replace Quinn if he takes one of the multiple offers he’s sure to get.
We’re still marinating in the bitterness of last Sunday’s wild card loss, and looking at that fateful last play with fresh perspective, based on both better angles of the field and what transpired in Tampa in the divisional round. A Cowboys legend laments a lost opportunity, we’re asking what happened to the offense, and we’re still sizing up Amari Cooper’s late-season vanishing act. All that, plus some wish-list what-iffing about the most dominant center in college football and what he could bring to the Cowboys… but almost certainly won’t. That’s all ahead in News and Notes.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy says he’s ‘full speed ahead’ after meeting with Jerry Jones :: Dallas Morning News
Has McCarthy been told by the Cowboys owner that he’s returning as Cowboys head coach? A simple question, but McCarthy’s answer had some twists and turns to it. “I mean, absolutely. We didn’t have — I mean, I’m full speed ahead. Our whole conversation, obviously, we talked about the disappointment of the game and the things that went into the game. But, you know, the majority of our conversation was about aligning all of the positive things that we have and how we’re moving forward and the direction,” the coach told 105.3 The Fan. He confirmed he’s planning ahead, but that his job status never came up. “Yes. No, we talked about everything that needed to be talked about.”
Can/Will Sean Payton save the Dallas Cowboys? :: Sport DFW
The Payton rumors just won’t die. With the Saints coach reportedly considering taking a step back from the team- maybe to replace Troy Aikman in the Fox booth should Aikman move to Amazon- some are automatically saying Payton is a possibility to take over at The Star. The relationship between Payton and the Cowboys is long and deep, and even the Saints owner isn’t sure what Payton’s immediate plans are.
Report: Cowboys' Dan Quinn among 3 finalists to become Broncos' new HC :: Cowboys Wire
Quinn will likely fly to Denver this week for a follow-up meeting with the Broncos. Two offensive coordinators- Nathaniel Hackett of the Packers and Kevin O’Connell of the Rams- will also get second interviews. Kellen Moore reportedly “impressed,” but will not be proceeding in Denver’s search. If Quinn is hired, it is thought he could try to take Cowboys secondary coach Al Harris to Denver with him.
Bears requesting second interviews with Dan Quinn and Jim Caldwell :: Bears Wire
The Cowboys DC is also getting asked back by the Chicago search committee. Quinn met with the Bears last week, but was also reportedly considered by the club back in 2015, too. (They ended up hiring John Fox.) Jim Caldwell and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (a former Cowboys assistant) are also getting callbacks for a second interview to helm the Monsters of the Midway.
The Quinn Conundrum and 12 guys who could replace him as Cowboys DC :: Cowboys WIre
With teams lining up just to talk to him, it seems unlikely that the defensive coordinator will return to his DC role in Dallas. If it’s time for a new regime, internal candidates like Joe Whitt Jr. and George Edwards could get a shot. Or the club could go outside with some big names available, including several ex-Cowboys staffers.
Former Cowboys assistant Kris Richard invited to interview for Pittsburgh DC gig :: Ian Rapoport (Twitter)
The #Steelers have requested to interview #Saints DBs coach Kris Richard for their vacant defensive coordinator opening, source said. The former #Seahawks DC gets another chance after impressing in New Orleans.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2022
Cowboys assistant Ben McAdoo hired as Panthers OC :: Cowboys Wire
The longtime colleague of Mike McCarthy had been working on the Cowboys staff as a consultant, doing advance scouting of opponents. Now he’ll return to an offensive coordinator role, a job he once held with the Giants before becoming their head coach.
Ravens request to interview Cowboys assistant Joe Whitt Jr. for coordinator job :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach has drawn the interest of the Baltimore Ravens, who are shopping for a new defensive coordinator. Whitt said as recently as October, though, that being DC in Dallas would be a dream job for him: “I can see doing that for a very long time.” It’s suddenly not a far-fetched notion.
The Cowboys definitely had a chance — which is the key to ultimately getting there :: The Athletic
The final play of the Cowboys’ season is still being dissected, and new wrinkles are still being discovered. For instance, if Dak Prescott had audibled correctly based on the pre-snap look, Dallas receivers would have outnumbered San Francisco defenders had they all gone for the end zone. As it was, tight end Dalton Schultz was completely uncovered at the line; a quick pass to him would have reached the 30-yard-line in far less time than it took Prescott to run there. Oh, what might have been.
'This is absolutely a letdown of the season': Darren Woodson talks Cowboys' shortcomings :: Cowboys Wire
The legendary defensive back knows a talented group when he sees it, but he also knows their window to succeed will only stay open so long. “It goes back to what Jimmy Johnson used to say. You are what you are,” Woodson said. “Bill Parcells used to say the same thing…So if you’re a team that’s laden with penalties, and false starts, and not disciplined, it’s going to show first round of the playoffs.”
No conspiracy here: Why Rams-Buccaneers finish was different from the final play of Cowboys-49ers wild-card game :: Sporting News
The end of the Rams-Buccaneers game may have looked eerily similar to Cowboys fans. Los Angeles ripped off a long play with the clock running, then raced downfield to line up for a snap and spike to kill the clock. It worked for the Rams, even though the umpire never touched the ball. That’s the part that doomed Dallas a week prior. So what gives? Former head of officiating Dean Blandino weighed in, stating that another official can be the one to spot the ball in an effort to be more efficient, as was the case in Tampa. Whether what happened in Dallas was maximum efficiency will be argued by Cowboys fans for years to come.
Cowboys' offense falling off the rails was unexpected downfall of 2021 hopes :: Cowboys Wire
Something happened during the team’s Week 7 bye, as the Cowboys offense was never consistently the same afterward. Maybe it was Dak Prescott’s calf injury; maybe it was Denver’s supposed “blueprint;” maybe Kellen Moore got too predictable. The run game certainly tanked, with injuries to both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard limiting their effectiveness. Sadly, the team’s wide receiving corps was unable to take up the slack, and the result was bitter disappointment at a season wasted. Again.
Wanting a larger role for Amari Cooper? :: The Mothership
The Cowboys owner expressed frustration at his WR1’s production late in the season. Whether his words were aimed at Cooper (for drops) or coordinator Kellen Moore (for scheme)- or both- is open for interpretation. Cooper himself vented about his lack of targets: five or fewer times in seven of the 15 games he played this year. Whoever is really to blame, it will be an interesting subplot to keep an eye on this offseason as some kind of change is almost certainly coming to Dallas.
Tyler Linderbaum's fit with Cowboys is obvious, the path to them less so :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys love a Big Ten center, and Iowa’s Linderbaum is the real deal. In fact, he’s projected to be long gone by the time Dallas is on the clock at pick No. 24. Most fans have seen the video of him pinning Tristan Wirfs in a high school wrestling match, but he’s more than just a novelty viral sensation. He’s seen as a can’t-miss prospect who projects to be closer to Travis Frederick than Tyler Biadasz has been thus far.