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Cowboys news: Dan Quinn cites “unfinished business” for coming back to Dallas defense this year

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Quinn addresses HC buzz, three two-point tries - Nick Harris, DallasCowboys.com

The DC is again the subject of head coaching rumors.

It’s no secret that Dan Quinn turned down head coaching opportunities last offseason to return for at least one more year as defensive coordinator with the Cowboys, as he offered a little bit of insight on what went into that today as well as how he handles the possibilities of those opportunities rearing around this upcoming offseason.

“I think it’s important to know how to compartmentalize,” Quinn said. “Fortunately for me in that space, any preparation you would do on that is done over the summertime. If and when that time gets called, I would certainly be ready to discuss that at a moment’s notice. It’s pretty easy these days to compartmentalize. Quite honestly, the guys that I’m able to coach are a big reason why I wanted to be back here, so I’m not gonna let that moment miss one second.”

“I didn’t want to see anybody else coaching these guys, and there was unfinished business in my mind. That was a big reason for me knowing that I had unfinished business with them, and I wanted to see that through as much as I could. I absolutely feel that way again. It’s easy to compartmentalize when you stay here now. I live my life in that space anyway, so it’s not as complicated as you might think.”

A Cowboys’ win, an Eagles’ loss, and a happy Monday Morning Quarterback - Richard Paolinelli, Inside The Star

The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat winner in 18 years, and the Cowboys are in great position to extend that streak with a win on Sunday.

Dan Campbell, the former Cowboys’ tight end and current Lions Head Coach, was gambling like he was using stolen money on Saturday.

He went for it on fourth down three times, converting twice. He ran a fake punt in the first half from his own 28.

That gamble failed to produce points when a fourth-and-four pass fell incomplete seven plays later.

Then came the final sequence of plays with 23 seconds left.

Campbell went for the win, got it, and had it erased by a penalty. With the ball back at the seven, he had a chance to go for the tie.

He kept the offense out there, had an incomplete pass, and got bailed out by a Micah Parsons offsides.

You’d think he’d figure the odds were against him, but with the ball at the three, he went for two.

And rolled snake eyes when Goff’s pass hit the turf at the one.

I get the aggression with a chance at the No. 1 seed in sight. But maybe after the insanity of the first two plays it was time to be more conservative there?

Campbell wasn’t the only coach making head-scratching decisions on Saturday.

I’d love to hear Dan Quinn’s explanation of what his defense was (allegedly) doing out there on that final drive.

They went soft, played prevent, and nearly prevented a victory and a possible chance for the division title.

Biggest Question Mark for Every NFL Team That Has Already Clinched a Playoff Berth - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys have plenty of reasons to be motivated playing for a playoff game at AT&T Stadium, where they’ve won 16 in a row.

Dallas Cowboys: Questionable Coaching

The Cowboys can claim the NFC East in Week 18 by beating the Washington Commanders. That would make Dallas a tough out, because the Cowboys have been a juggernaut when playing in Arlington.

The Cowboys haven’t been perfect, though, even at home. They narrowly escaped the Lions on Saturday, thanks to a controversial finish and despite Mike McCarthy’s poor late-game clock management.

McCarthy called a passing play late in the fourth quarter from the Lions’ 33-yard line. It fell incomplete, the Cowboys went on to kick a field goal, and Detroit got the ball back with 1:41 left to play. The Lions went on to score a touchdown, though their potential go-ahead two-point try was nullified when Taylor Decker was deemed ineligible.

His clock management has been scrutinized dating back to McCarthy’s days with the Packers, and it’s not the only reason to wonder if he can steer Dallas through a deep playoff run.

McCarthy has struggled to prepare his squad for road games this season (3-5) and against quality opponents—Dallas has a 3-4 record against teams currently over .500. Mistakes have also been a problem for Dallas, which came into Sunday ranked second in the NFL with 113 penalties.

To win a Super Bowl, the Cowboys will likely need to play clean football in tight games against great teams, and they’re only guaranteed a home playoff game if they clinch the division in Week 18.

Playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 18 of 2023 NFL season - Staff, NFL.com

All eyes are on who the Cowboys will draw in the playoffs after the dust settles on week 18.

CLINCHED:

San Francisco 49ers (12-4) – NFC West division title, No. 1 seed, lone first-round bye and homefield advantage

Detroit Lions (11-5) – NFC North division title

Dallas Cowboys (11-5) – playoff berth

Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – playoff berth

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) – playoff berth

DALLAS COWBOYS (11-5) at Washington (4-12); Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

DAL win OR

DAL tie + PHI tie OR

PHI loss

GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-8) vs. Chicago (7-9); Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Green Bay clinches playoff berth with:

GB win OR

GB tie + SEA loss or tie + NO loss or tie OR

GB tie + SEA loss + TB loss OR

GB tie + SEA tie + TB loss or tie OR

MIN loss or tie + SEA loss + TB loss OR

MIN loss or tie + SEA loss + NO loss

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-9) at Detroit (11-5); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Minnesota clinches playoff berth with:

MIN win + GB loss + SEA loss + TB loss OR

MIN win + GB loss + SEA loss + NO loss

NFL power rankings: Cowboys, Browns, Steelers climb as Dolphins, Eagles, Seahawks drop for Week 18 - Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

The Cowboys win over the division-winning Lions has them firmly among the league’s contenders at the end of the regular season.

NFL power rankings Week 18

1. Baltimore Ravens 13-3 (previous week: 1)

The Ravens made sure they left no doubt about the team to beat ahead of Super Bowl 58 by throttling the 49ers and Dolphins in consecutive weeks. Along with those stellar offensive performances, Lamar Jackson has all but sewn up his second MVP.

2. San Francisco 49ers 12-4 (2)

The 49ers rebounded from that Ravens ripping at home with a get well game all-round traveling to the Beltway in Washington. They now can rest, get resettled and healthier for a hopeful deeper playoff run with the top-seed bye business wrapped up before Week 18.

3. Dallas Cowboys 11-5 (9)

The Cowboys needed to flex a little and even though the Lions pushed them to the limit, they made the needed offensive and defensive big plays to finish undefeated at home to give them a shot of opening the playoffs in prime position.

4. Cleveland Browns 11-5 (6)

How about Joe Flacco, again? Here comes a mini-season MVP outside of Baltimore and a rising Comeback Player of the Year favorite. He has the Browns on track to face his former team in a division rematch in the divisional round.

5. Detroit Lions 11-5 (4)

The Lions looked dead in Dallas until a late rally with their defense and big pass plays. They are pushing hard to go into the playoffs with momentum, hosing their first postseason game in 30 years. They need to stay sharp with Matthew Stafford and the red-hot Rams looming for them.

6. Miami Dolphins 11-5 (3)

The Dolphins just couldn’t keep up offensively vs. the Ravens without Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert. Their defensive meltdown vs. Jackson is a big concern to hold off the Bills for the AFC East title next week.

7. Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 (5)

The Eagles’ defensive issues keep them vulnerable in every game as they’ve gotten worse vs. the pass and have started to leak against the run. That will lead to a short playoff stay unless they can better win shootouts.

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