Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …
*Quinn Buckner. Brady Quinn. Paul Quinn. Harley Quinn. Admiral Quinn. Martha Quinn. The Mighty Quinn. Even Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. After witnessing the historically horrible Dallas Cowboys’ defense in 2020, those are just some of the folks I’d be happy to have as the new defensive coordinator in replacement of Mike Nolan.
We’re also cool with Dan Quinn, right?
Quinn, of course, is infamous for being the Falcons’ head coach that blew a 28-3 lead in losing Super Bowl LI to the Patriots. But his resume and reputation as a defensive coach brings hope that gone are the laughingstock days of Dallas surrendering 57 touchdowns. (The 1992 team allowed only 29.)
READ MORE: Dallas Cowboys Coach Tracker
Quinn was the defensive coordinator during part of the prime of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” that led the NFL in fewest points and yards in 2013-14, leading to consecutive Super Bowl appearances. He’ll almost assuredly switch the Cowboys back to a more traditional, attacking 4-3 scheme, one in which they’ve played in all eight of their Super Bowls.
You can have quarterbacks with gaudy statistics (Tony Romo) and flashy high draft picks delivering highlights (Ezekiel Elliott, CeeDee Lamb), but every year the Cowboys have been to a Super Bowl they’ve done so with a Top 10 defense in points and yards allowed. No surprise that in their 25-year drought they’ve had a Top 10 defense only five times.
Check it out ...
Year Pts Yards
1970: 4 4
1971: 7 3
1975: 9 5
1977: 8 1
1978: 3 2
1992: 5 1
1993: 2 10
1995: 3 9
Defense indeed wins championships.
*Same goes for the NBA, where the Dallas Mavericks’ off-season commitment to a better, tougher defense is paying early dividends.
The additions of Willie Cauley-Stein in the lane and Josh Richardson and James Johnson on the perimeter have – so far – transformed from the Mavs into one of the league’s stingiest units. You have probably been too distracted by Luka Doncic’s nightly triple-double watch to notice, but no team in the NBA has allowed fewer field goals.
The Mavs – yes, the Mavs – are ranked No. 2 in points allowed, field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage and defensive rating.
In half of their 10 games they’ve allowed 100 points or less, including consecutive wins over the Magic (98) and Hornets (93).
How drastic is the improvement? In last summer’s 14 games in the bubble, the Mavs allowed 130+ six times and coughed up embarrassing totals of 153 and 154.
Keep Kristaps Porzingis healthy and maintain this defense, and this year the Mavs will win their first playoff series in 10 years.
*Wanna know what Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin think of Quinn? It’s all right here. (Hint: They like him, too.)
*If you’re a fan of DFW sportswriting and colorful characters, you may just remember Jim Dent.
Covered the Cowboys for 11 years for the old Dallas Times Herald and went on to write successful books The Junction Boys (which ESPN adapted into a movie in 2002) and Twelve Mighty Orphans (whose release as a movie on the big screen was last summer shelved by COVID).
Talented writer. Tumultuous partier.
In 2003, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating a drunk driving probation. In 2015, he was sentenced to 10 more years after jumping bail in the wake of a 10th drunk driving arrest.
Serving out his time in the same “supermax” Polunsky Unit that houses Texas’ “death row” inmates in Livingston (just east of Huntsville), Dent endured an unusually rough 2020. In June he was denied parole, then in July contracted COVID, lost 30 pounds and spent months using a walker.
He turns 68 on January 29. Family and friends haven’t been able to visit him since last March, only communicating via short phone calls or letters written on plain, white paper (not even something as innocuous as greeting cards are allowed).
Dent is a sobering reminder that consequences have actions. Here’s hoping someday he gets to write the book about his own life.
*Restaurants have “soft opens”. So, apparently, does the NHL. Unbeknownst to most, hockey returned Wednesday night. But the Dallas Stars have already had to postpone their first two games of their season this week against the Panthers because six players and two staff members have tested positive for COVID. Rescheduling games for any NHL team this year is going to be a nightmare, as teams are basically scheduled to play every other day the whole season.
*Urban Meyer to the Jaguars in 2021 feels a lot like Jimmy Johnson to the Cowboys in 1989. Both won championships in college and Jacksonville, like Dallas did, has the no-brainer top pick in the draft.
Then: Troy Aikman. Now: Trevor Lawrence.
*I’m suddenly consumed with finding a subtle rattling noise in my car and – it struck me – yes, I am becoming my dad.
*Mavs vintage green > Mavs garish gold.
*Positive update on long-time DFW media persona Mark “Friedo” Friedman. After spending four months in the hospital – including six weeks in a drug-induced coma – he’s back home and back out, telling his terrifying tale.
*So Kellen Moore is on the Eagles’ short list but Jason Garrett isn’t? Hmm. I think the 2020 Cowboys more vindicated Garrett than indicted him.
*Here, let me help you with your New Year’s resolutions that otherwise are about to kerplunk. Wanna stop drinking? Pour your alcohol down the drain and don’t buy any more. Wanna work out? Sleep in your exercise clothes and place your sneakers on the floor right next to your bed. Wanna eat better? Shop better. Drastic changes require drastic actions. Gotta help yourself to help yourself.
*Doug Pederson’s firing in Philly now gives Washington’s Ron Rivera tenure in the once-proud NFC East. He was hired Jan. 1, 2020. The division that long ago boasted icons such as Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and Dick Vermeil now includes Mike McCarthy (Jan. 7, 2020), Joe Judge (Jan. 8, 2020) and TBA.
*Considering the unrest and potential for more violence in Washington D.C. surrounding next week’s inauguration, maybe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should elope to Las Vegas and get sworn in via private drive-thru ceremony.
*The Cowboys are among only seven teams in the NFL to have never had a minority as either head coach, general manager or owner. Since 1940, the Cowboys, Falcons, Jaguars, Rams, Patriots, Saints and Titans have made 60 leadership hires, all white folks. Will McClay is in a power position at The Star, but ...
*Those “Amber Alerts” that blow up your phone when a child goes missing? Named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered while riding her bike in Arlington in 1996. Sadly, her killer still hasn’t been found.
*From 2015-18, UT-Arlington basketball was flirting with being on the college basketball map. Coach Scott Cross’ talented team went 72-33 in that span, winning at Texas, BYU, Ohio State and Memphis, upsetting No. 12-ranked St. Mary’s and scaring SEC foes Arkansas and Alabama in last-possession road losses. Unable to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and push into March Madness, Cross was fired in 2018 and replaced by Texas assistant Chris Ogden.
What I said then I stand by now: Biggest mistake in UTA sports history. Cross made a pit stop as an assistant at TCU before being hired by SBC member Troy. Since he left, UTA is 37-40 without a signature win, and is back to being as far from the map as when it played on the stage at Texas Hall.
*Here’s betting those Dallasites up in arms about the costs of changing Lamar Street to Botham Jean Boulevard didn’t give a damn about finances when Olive Street switched to Nowitzki Way.
*Luka constantly drowns us with numbers. With super stats that are so spectacular and so steady, we get numb to them. Allow me to crunch all his numbers and spit ’em out into this: He’s the best, most productive player under 22 years old in the history of the NBA.
*We totally underappreciate Andy Reid. No? If the Chiefs win this weekend, they’ll become the first team to host three consecutive AFC Championship Games. Only team to do it in the NFC: Reid’s Eagles from 2002-04. He also has coaching ties to the other three AFC head coaches still alive in John Harbaugh (former assistant), Sean McDermott (former assistant) and Kevin Stefanski (former training camp intern).
*Further proof that hope is on the horizon: AT&T Stadium will host a Kickoff Classic featuring Kansas State vs. Stanford on Sept. 4, 2021. As of now, no attendance limitations are expected. Just 33 weeks until normalcy?
*Cowboys also this week hired defensive assistant coach Joe Whitt. Fortunately for fans, no relation.
*But, come to think of it, if I traced my family tree all the way back to – whenever? – wouldn’t we have to be sorta related? Because, where did all the last names come from? I get that they probably were initially associated with a location or an occupation, but how did they morph? How did a Whitt branch off from a Whitt without being the same blood line? My theory is that some second-century smartass – last name “Wit” – pissed off enough family members that they wanted to distance from him. Changed their spelling to “Witt.” Another intrafamily conflict prompted another faction to throw in an “h” for “Whitt.”
What I can’t figure out is why this process stopped. When and why did we stop inventing new last names? A baby born today gets the name of his parent(s) or family, not just some last name created on the spot.
And yes, as a matter of fact, these things do keep me up at night.
*Weekend winners: Packers, Ravens, Chiefs and Bucs. Place your wagers accordingly.
*This Weekend? Saturday is for a little tennis practice then a lot of football. Sunday let’s visit the parents in JoCoMoFo and mix in a lot more football. As always, don’t be a stranger.