Dallas Cowboys: 3 out of the box defensive coordinator candidates

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys
Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock, Iowa State Cyclones (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

DC – Jon Heacock

Iowa State Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock is the oldest candidate on my list and he has also shown everyone that an old dog can learn new tricks. The 60-year-old coordinator is now stirring up buzz that he could make the jump to the NFL.

With college coaches showing more and more each year that attacking opponents through the air is becoming more difficult to stop and NFL teams taking some of those concepts and incorporating them into their own playbooks, there has to be an opposite effect.

That effect has come in the form of Jon Heacock and his 3-3-5 alignment. This alignment has slowed down the “air raid” offense but interestingly enough, he employs a 3-4 / 4-3 hybrid defense which mirrors what the Dallas Cowboys wanted to accomplish under first-year head coach Mike McCarthy.

The 3-3-5 is broken out to combat teams with a heavy passing presence but in his five years at Iowa State, Heacock has taken this defense to a very respectable top-50 defense. That top 50 ranking doesn’t look impressive until you realize Iowa plays in the Big 12 conference.

Playing teams like the University of Texas and both Oklahoma teams which regularly boast some of the best air attacks in the nation is nothing to scoff at.

Iowa State has only had nine defensive players drafted in the league since 1990 making the job Heacock is doing a tremendous feat. Once again the common denominator with this hire would be consistently doing more with less.

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Sure there are other candidates that make more sense like Marvin Lewis and George Edwards who would be good at the job but I want someone who would stabilize the position for a few years rather than audition for a head coaching candidate.