Late last night it was reported by Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News that Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator will not be returning for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. As one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season, much of the criticism for the poor play has fallen at the feet of the defensive coordinator. And as the report indicates, the Cowboys will be looking for a solution to its defensive woes in the coming offseason.
So in addition to all of the areas they’ll seek to improve on the defensive side of the football, they’ll be shopping for a new defensive coordinator to add to the mix. So let’s look at three names who could be options for the Dallas Cowboys this spring.
It’s possible that the Dallas Cowboys already have their next defensive coordinator on the coaching staff in Senior Defensive Assistant George Edwards. Prior to coming to the Cowboys, Edwards was the defensive coordinator for Mike Zimmer in Minnesota from 2014 to 2019.
Though Zimmer called the defense for the Vikings, Edwards was part of the construction of a defense that finished in the top 10 in points allowed in 2015, 2017, and 2019. Unfortunately, previous stints with the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team (2003) didn’t go as well.
It’s possible Edwards could have a leg up on the competition with his experience in the league, but they could also go with a youth movement on defense as they have on offense.
One of the few coaches on this staff with direct ties to Mike McCarthy’s time in Green Bay is linebackers coach Scott McCurley. Though the linebacker group hasn’t played particularly well this season, McCurley’s time with McCarthy could give him an edge on other candidates in the coaching search.
He’s been with Mike McCarthy his entire NFL tenure. If there was ever a “Mike McCarthy guy” on this coaching staff, it’s McCurley.
Of course, there’s no telling what his defensive philosophy is, but if it’s anything like the defensive coordinator he grew up under with the Packers, he’ll be a very aggressive defensive coordinator.
After Dom Capers was hired in 2009 to be the defensive coordinator, the Packers became known for their aggressive blitzing scheme. McCurley spent 2009 to 2017 coaching under Capers, which undoubtedly had an influence on his coaching philosophy.
A name that is going to be thrown around a ton over the next month or so is that of former Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Wade Phillips. Phillips is fondly remembered for his defensive scheme that helped the Cowboys find success in the mid-2000s.
Those his head coaching tenure didn’t fare so well, he went on to have several more fantastic seasons coaching defenses, including helping the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl and get to another one with the Los Angeles Rams.
Though teams run nickel as their base defense in the modern NFL, coaching philosophies and schemes still matter and Wade Phillips has been one of the best defensive coordinators of the last 20-30 years. His defenses have finished in the top 10 in scoring defense 11 times since 2000, including the 2006 San Diego Chargers who finished number one in the NFL in scoring defense. Only six times in the last 20 seasons has a defense of his finished outside the top 20.
That’s a ton of consistency as the NFL has evolved into a passing league before our very eyes. While his end with the Cowboys was met with disappointment, Phillips has remained a popular figure among Cowboys fans.
It would be an incredible circle of life moment if Wade Phillips were to be hired by the guy who was on the opposite side of the field for his last game as the Dallas Cowboys Head Coach.