Week 18 may be a pointless contest for some teams but to the Dallas Cowboys, it’s important for multiple reasons. The first of which is to win. Should Philadelphia lose to the Giants, Dallas needs a win in Washington to take the division crown. The Cowboys can’t control what happens to the Eagles but they have to do all they can on their end to make home-field advantage a possibility.
The second reason Week 18 is so important is there is still an important roster issue that needs resolution. The cornerback position opposite Trevon Diggs has been in flux ever since Anthony Brown suffered a season-ending injury December 4.
Kelvin Joseph, the Cowboys second round pick in 2021, was the natural choice to replace Brown. That experiment ended quickly, leaving Joseph largely out of the mix and now positioned on the fringe of the roster.
With zero proven entities available, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been forced to reach into his bag for a solution. The top two candidates are DaRon Bland and Nahshon Wright. Both have seen action outside as of late and both should see plenty of snaps against Washington in Week 18.
Bland, Dallas’ top nickel corner, is preferred inside but will play the boundary if no other option is available.
Wright is a boundary-only player who is undeveloped and inconsistent. In Week 17, Wright gave up 105 yards on seven receptions playing outside. He also snagged an impressive interception that took all 6-foot-4 of him to get.
The Cowboys would prefer Wright to be the solution on the boundary because it would allow Bland to stay inside where he’s best. But it seems they won’t hesitate to move Bland outside to insure the best possible coverage.
With the postseason fast approaching, the time to find answers is now, which is why Dan Quinn wants to nail down roles for his cornerbacks on Sunday in Washington.
“As we’re moving forward, I’m starting to see what I needed to see in terms of how to feature the guys in their very best ways,” Quinn said of his cornerback situation. “But we have one more opportunity, so to speak, to nail down how we want to go because like I said, once we get to the postseason I really don’t want to do a lot of shifting of the deck.”
While Nahshon Wright and DeRon Bland remain the favorites to carve out that second boundary cornerback spot, Trayvon Mullen could steal a role with a good performance this week. If all else fails, the recently signed Xavier Rhodes could also factor into the equation in the postseason.
The Cowboys want to find clarity on Sunday to nail down the roles at cornerback for the postseason, so expect to see multiple looks in the secondary against Washington.