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Cowboys’ Offseason Moves Heavily Influenced by Assistant Coaches

Dan Quinn and John Fassel big part of Cowboys’ personnel decisions.

Dallas Cowboys new Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn has only been a part of the coaching staff for a short time and Special Teams Coach John Fassel hasn’t been here much longer, but already it seems as if they’re heavily involved in the Cowboys personal decision-making. In fact, it’s clearly evident their voices carry quite a bit of weight in the offseason moves made already.

Unless you’ve been paying particularly close attention to the Dallas Cowboys you probably haven’t noticed the kind of impact both Dan Quinn and John Fassel seem to have had on personnel decisions. But, if you take a little time to look things over you’d more than likely notice the same thing I did. They are both a big part of building Dallas’ 2021 roster.

Let me show you what I mean…

Thanks to this handy-dandy free agency tracker courtesy of Blogging The Boys we can group all of the Dallas Cowboys moves together in one place by additions, departures, and returns. For most this is just a list of the typical offseason moves, but to me it signifies something else entirely. For me, it proves Dallas’ assistant coaches are without a doubt heavily involved and I can prove it.

John Fassel’s Influence

In a little over a year with the Dallas Cowboys John Fassel has pretty much completely made over the core of Dallas’ special teams. During his short time with the Cowboys he’s found a new punter in Hunter Niswander and brought in his own preferred kicker (Greg Zuerlein) and Long Snapper (Jake McQuaide). If that’s not enough evidence he’s got some pull in personnel decisions then just take a look at some of the other offseason moves already made.

The decision to re-sign Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, Malik Turner, and especially C.J. Goodwin were all more than likely done with special teams in mind. Jourdan Lewis could factor into that as well, even though his special teams snaps have diminished recently. Then there’s the signing of Jayron Kearse. Special teams is the area of his game where he provides the most value. Add it all up and you can see for yourself people are listening when Fassel speaks.


Dan Quinn’s Influence

It’s only been a few months since Dan Quinn has taken over as the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, but already it’s pretty evident the organization values his input. In such a short time it looks as if he’s not only bringing with him some of his former players to hopefully upgrade Dallas’ defense, but also changing the Cowboys philosophy in free agency as well. I think that’s pretty clear by the way they went after free agent safeties.

In the past Dallas has almost completely ignored or bombed upgrading the safety position via free agency. Over the past few years the Cowboys FA safety additions were for players who’s skill set was already on the decline. Quinn on the other hand has targeted players still in their prime who could very well step in and start Day 1. I think this is something to be excited about and it’s really going to be interesting to see how much weight his voice carries on the Draft Day.


I don’t know what all of you think about Dallas’ assistant coaches having more influence in regards to personnel decisions, but I personally like it. Under Jason Garrett I didn’t ever get the sense this type of thing was happening. With Mike McCarthy running the show now it seems as if his coaching staff has more of a voice in how they would like to see the roster shaped. Hopefully it pays off, but only time will tell.

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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  1. I agree with you. Now we can only hope the new guys prove themselves worthy. I think the Cowboys are doing the right thing moving to younger players. The upcoming draft can cement everything together. If they can get Surtain and Moehrig in the first two rounds, they have the making of a dynamic secondary. After that, the guys I like, and who could possibly be available include Christian Barmore, Jabril Cox, Richie Grant, Asante Samuel, Jr, and Rashad Weaver.

  2. I guess letting the assistants have more input is a good thing. Quinn is being pro active with players he is familiar with. Hopefully they work out. There was a big need at safety, maybe one of these sticks, but it doesn’t procude us from drafting one, which I think is likely. Like the new punter and kicker. Our good old LS was, well, old, and Fassel picked up another good, younger one. No splashy pick ups overall, but as you said, time will tell.

  3. I like it , for one as I’ve said before , McCarthy doesn’t specialize in anything , straight up , he isn’t very good one or the other , DQ knows D so let him handle D , Fassel can work Special teams so let him handle it ,

    Sean McVay HC for the Rams said before they went to SB that he focuses on Offense and let’s Wade Phillips handle D , and it worked to the point of making it to SB

    I’ve never been a fan of someone taking control of something that doesn’t know what he’s doing Cough Jerry Cough Cough , let the assistants do their jobs ,

    now if you’re HC and you specialize in offense then yeah you can run offense and have say in offensive pieces in offseason

    same if you have Defensive expertise or special teams expertise

    but don’t try and control something you have no idea how to control

  4. Throwup88- I think McCarthy fancies himself an offensive minded coach, though how good is open for debate. Plus he has Moore calling all the plays. Even his game management and decision making skills were shaky last year. Jimmy Johnson used to call those type of coaches “walk around guys” walking around clapping like Garrett, but not actually doing anything.

    I guarantee u the great Jimmy Johnson knew everyone’s job as well as they did.

  5. Having your assistant coaches influence personnel decisions shows just how messed up our front office is. There is no team building here . There’s individual coach and player brand building and Jerry Ego building but no team building. This never gets better until the Jones’s sell the team so unfortunately this never gets better.

  6. You’re right Gary b , only problem is even McCarthy himself admitted that he needed to update his offense and he took a year or 2 off to do that , learning about analytics , btw when you got A-Rod as your QB in his prime , you’ll look like a really good play caller ,

    but as we’re seeing now that A-Rod has LeFleur , a real good offensive minded HC , A-Rod’s an MVP , rather than being washed up like we thought he was in his last years with McCarthy ,

    I didn’t love this signing at the start and I still don’t like it , seems like another Jerry Jones puppet if you ask me

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