A closer look into the full Dallas Cowboys coaching staff reveals an intriguing blend of experience and history with some former head coaches in place.
Few people would argue that it was time for a change when it came to the head coaching position of the Dallas Cowboys. It became obvious that a decade of mediocrity had run its course.
Naturally, whoever the new coach was going to be, there would be excitement. Out with the stale monotony, in with a new voice and direction. When the name became known, one thing was for certain. A Super Bowl-winning coach back in the building once again.
One man, however, does not do it alone. As Mike McCarthy begins the task of (hopefully) putting the Dallas Cowboys back into dominance, several other coaches will be part of the process as well.
Here is a look at the new men in charge along the sidelines and in the meeting rooms. For my report on McCarthy, you can click here.
*Note – Kellen Moore remains as offensive coordinator. There is also a possibility that Leon Lett returns to assist along the defensive line.
Quarterbacks coach: Doug Nussmeier
Nussmeier moves from coaching the tight end group, back to his natural position coaching quarterbacks. Nussmeier has been coaching quarterbacks at various college programs since 2008. From 2009-11, he was able to groom Jake Locker into a top ten overall selection. He then moved to Alabama where he took A.J. McCarron from 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions the year prior to his arrival to 58 and 10 the next two seasons. His familiarity with Dak Prescott should help keep the offense moving forward.
Running backs coach: Skip Peete
It is Peete’s second tour of duty here with the Dallas Cowboys. From 2007-2012, Peete was in charge of a group that struggled to impress. Only once in the six years he was with the team, did the Cowboys finish in the top ten in rushing. To be fair, the offensive line was aging and his best pupils were Marion Barber, Julius Jones, Felix Jones, and an extremely young DeMarco Murray.
Over the past four years, he oversaw the Rams rushing attack who went from 31st in his first season to a top eleven group the past three years.
Wide receivers coach: Adam Henry
Henry’s biggest resume piece revolves around the work he did, both in college and the NFL, in the blossoming of stars Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry. With Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in the building, Henry will have another pair of stars in which to work his magic.
Tight ends coach: Lunda Wells
Wells comes from the New York Giants where he has been coaching since 2012. He has been their tight ends coach over the past two seasons, overseeing Evan Engram’s growth despite his battles with injuries. Could Wells get be the one to get Blake Jarwin moving in the right direction?
Offensive line coaches: Joe Philbin / Jeff Blasko
Philbin spent almost 20 years in the college ranks coaching offensive lines. He then moved on to do the same in Green Bay for four seasons before becoming McCarthy’s offensive coordinator for four seasons, including the Super Bowl year in 2010. His wealth of experience is a stark contrast to the person who held this position last season.
Blasko, meanwhile, has worked with Philbin in Green Bay as well as Henry last season in Cleveland.
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Nolan
Nolan’s resume speaks for itself. His defensive blueprint is generally aggressive with fairly consistent successes. Ten times, his defenses have finished in the top ten in takeaways. Six times, they have been in the top ten in points allowed. Another six times, they were top ten in yards allowed.
Defensive line coach: Jim Tomsula
Another long-time coach with a wealth of experience, Tomsula ran the San Francisco 49ers defensive line from 2007-2014. Four times during this stretch, the Niners had defenses ranked in the top five in points allowed. Three times, they were in the top five in yards allowed.
Linebackers coach: Scott McCurley
McCurley is yet another coach with previous ties to McCarthy in Green Bay. He held this position starting in 2014 as the Packers went from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4. One of McCurley’s biggest accomplishments was helping Clay Matthews transition from outside to middle linebacker during this season. Could his presence indicate that Dallas may expedite a move in this direction as well?
Defensive backs coach: Maurice Linguist / Al Harris
Linguist has been coaching defensive backs in college since 2007. His 2017 Minnesota Golden Gophers group finished 11th in the Nation in pass defense. From there, he moved on to Texas A&M where he started to become one of the hottest young names amongst coaches in the SEC.
Harris, meanwhile, is a long-time NFL veteran with ties to Green Bay (shocking, I know), playing for the Packers from 2002-09. His best years occurred with McCarthy in 2007-08 where he made the Pro Bowl twice and was named second-team All-Pro. He has been an assistant coach in Kansas City since 2013.
Special Teams coach: John Fassel
This is a huge get for the Dallas Cowboys. Under the previous regime, special teams received attention in lip service only. It was always talked about as one of the “three phases” but rarely did it show on the field.
Enter Fassel, one of the NFL’s best coaches at this position. In twelve years, between the Raiders and the Rams, Fassel has coached up both his punters and kickers to several Pro-Bowl appearances and All-Pro nominations.
It is my belief that the Dallas Cowboys and Mike McCarthy have assembled a strong combination of youth and experience. Above all, the voices and messages will be fresh and new. This could make for a very exciting 2020 season.