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Dallas Cowboys Weekly Recap: 2020 Coaching Staff Nearly Complete

Mike McCarthy has made short work filling out his 2020 coaching staff.

We all knew change was coming for the Dallas Cowboys, but I don’t know if any of us expected it to happen so quickly. It seems as if it’s been one breaking news story after another this week and honestly it’s been a little bit difficult keep up with it all. Well Cowboys Nation, I’m here to bring you up to date.

The ball got started rolling on January 5 when Jerry Jones finally issued a formal statement informing us all the Dallas Cowboys would indeed be moving on from Jason Garrett. From there, things gained momentum, and quickly. Garrett hadn’t even cleared out his office before Mike McCarthy was named as his successor.

The longtime Green Bay Packers head coach may not have had an office to move into yet, but he wasted no time getting to work. He was given the go-ahead to pretty much wipe the slate clean and bring in his own coaching staff. It was totally up to him if he wanted to retain or dismiss any of the holdovers from last year, which is control many of us didn’t think Jerry Jones would give up.

With the freedom to do pretty much as he wishes, McCarthy has wasted no time filling the majority of his coaching staff for the 2020 season. Some of the recent hires are official, others are just waiting to put name to paper on their contract, but there are a few vacancies left to be filled. Let’s take a look at where things stand right now…

Mike McCarthy – Head Coach

By now, you should know Mike McCarthy pretty well. You may have done some research of your own to determine what kind of success he actually had with the Green Bay Packers or maybe you tuned into his introductory press conference Wednesday officially naming him as the Dallas Cowboys next head coach. Regardless, we all know he’s a Super Bowl winning HC and plans to bring the same kind of success with him to the Cowboys. His arrival has created a positivity around Cowboys Nation, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while.

Kellen Moore – Offensive Coordinator

Even with the freedom/power to choose his own coaching staff, Mike McCarthy decided to stick with Kellen Moore as the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator. Moore caught McCarthy’s eye even before he interviewed for the head coaching job with the Cowboys and was impressed enough with the first-year OC to convince him to stick around. This was someone Jerry Jones wanted around for the foreseeable future if possible, but it sounds as if this was still completely up to McCarthy. KM without a doubt had some growing pains last year, but overall he did a better-than-expected job.

Mike Nolan – Defensive Coordinator

Out with the old and in with the new. Former Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli has been officially replaced with Mike Nolan, who Mike McCarthy poached from the New Orleans Saints. Nolan is an experienced DC in the NFL and has served in that capacity for four different teams over the years. He has also served as a linebackers coach for several other teams, most recently with the Saints the past few years. He will be a change from the former regime. He not only values the safety and defensive tackle position, but he also has the flexibility to run the 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

John Fassel – Special Teams

The Dallas Cowboys special teams units last year were absolutely abysmal. So what does Mike McCarthy do? He brings in one of the best in the business, John “Bones” Fassel, to turn things around in Dallas. This could be an underrated coaching addition by Mike McCarthy. Fassel is known for his creativity and aggressiveness on special teams, which has been known to create a lot of big plays or at the very least flip field position. It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see one of the worst special teams units in the league last year become one of the best in 2020 under Fassel’s guidance.

Joe Philbin – Offensive Line

Marc Colombo was someone I believe Jerry Jones might have liked to have kept as the Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach, but Mike McCarthy vetoed that by bringing in someone he’s more familiar with, Joe Philbin. The two worked together in Green Bay from 2006-2011 and reunited again in 2018. They even won a Super Bowl together in 2010. Philbin will inherit one of the best starting five in the league, but hopefully he will learn from Paul Alexander’s mistake (the reason Colombo took over) and not tinker too much with what’s been working.

Jim Tomsula – Defensive Line

Rod Marinelli was well renowned for developing and getting in the most out of his defensive line, so replacing him with just anyone was a bit of a concern. But, I think Mike McCarthy couldn’t have done better by bringing in Jim Tomsula. He is yet another position coach with an impressive resume. He was most recently with the Washington Redskins as their DL coach, but also served in the same position for seven years with the San Francisco 49ers before being promoted as the interim head coach and then eventually head coach. This is a move we should be excited about, because he loves big bodied defensive tackles.

Vacant Positions:

Quarterbacks –

Of the positions yet to be filled, finding the right quarterback coach for Dak Prescott could be at the top of the list. Jon Kitna still remains a possibility and might be the front runner, but that remains to be seen. As of right now, there has been no movement here.

Running Backs –

Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with Stan Drayton to potentially become the next running back coach. He was Ezekiel Elliott’s RB coach at Ohio State in 2013 and 2014, so there’s already familiarity there. Gary Brown could still be in play as well, but hasn’t interviewed with McCarthy as of yet.

Wide Receivers –

Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb may have all had fantastic 2019 seasons, but it wasn’t enough to convince Mike McCarthy to stick with Sanjay Lal as the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver coach. As of now the position remains vacant.

Tight End –

This position still remains vacant as of now and McCarthy hasn’t indicated who he may be interested in. Doug Nussmeir could possibly return in some capacity, but that’s still unknown. Jason Witten, if he retires? Maybe as an assistant to whoever McCarthy hires.

Assistant OL Coach –

As of right now it looks as if Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys are zeroing in on hiring Jeff Blasko to become the assistant offensive line coach. Blasko and McCarthy know each other from their days in Green Bay where they spent three years together. Nothing is official as of yet though.

Linebacker –

Mike McCarthy hasn’t officially informed Ben Bloom whether or not he will be a part of his 2020 coaching staff, so he still remains an option. Another name to keep an eye out for is Jim Haslett, who has an extensive NFL coaching career as both a DC and LB coach and a familiarity with McCarthy already. Nothing is definite as of yet.

Secondary –

Tony Oden and Joe Whitt were thought to be candidates to join Mike McCarthy as his secondary coach, but the latter has since signed with the Browns. Oden remains a possibility and there are also rumblings Kris Richard could be in play as well. The position remains unfilled as of now though.

What do you think?

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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 think jj should have done whatever it takes to poach belichick from ne, but it could definitely be worse than this. He should keep Richard as db coach

    • Why would Belichick want to come to the Cowboys? And as far as Kris Richard is concerned, what has he done that makes you want him to return? Other than moving Byron Jones from S to CB, the Cowboys secondary has been a concern. He kept Jourdan Lewis on the sideline until an injury forced him into the lineup and Chidobe Awuzie took a pretty big step back in his development last year. I’m not against keeping him around, but I wouldn’t be upset if they parted ways either.

      • Your right on with that…. Belichick wouldn’t leave NE, not right now anyways!! And Kris Richard isn’t really worth keeping!! He did pretty good his 1st season with us, but last year he was terrible!! And the worst thing he did was keep Lewis on the bench for Brown when everybody knows that Lewis is way better than Brown was!! Not to mention the fact that the whole secondary was beat more often than not!! I like what Mccarthy has done so far, so I have faith he’ll make the right choice for that position and the others that are still available!! We’ll just have to wait and see who he gets!!

        • I wouldn’t mind if Richard returns, but I think Mike McCarthy is doing the right thing by exploring all of his options first.

    • I love it I think we needed to change all the way around and I think the Cowboys will be better because of it pretty good damn coaches in there man I looked up a resume and I’m ready to get started van not just Mike McCarthy pretty pretty impressive staff let’s go Cowboys

  2. Cowboys need to play the same against every team that they play. Losses to teams we were better than that like the Bears and Jets costs the Cowboys a playoff berth.

  3. I agree why would Belichick want to come to the Cowboys. I disagree about Kris Richard, he done alot to make a case that he deserve to be coaching for the Cowboys. He just had a bad year. I feel like with this new coaching staff he’ll get back where he deserve. A future HC for sure.

    • I’m not against Kris Richard returning at all. But, I think McCarthy is doing the right thing by exploring all of his options first. There’s been talk that Richard was one of the coaches causing dissension among the staff last year, which could be why his future with the Cowboys is still unknown at this point.

  4. Can someone educate me on when JJ decided who coached other than the head coach. I don’t recall him specifying any assistant coaches but then I don’t follow quite that closely. I think getting Haslett would be a great addition also. If nothing else all these move will keep JJ’s team in the news just the way he likes it.

    • Michael, I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about in regards to Jerry Jones. But, I do agree that bringing him Haslett would be a great addition to the coaching staff.

  5. To be fair to Richard, the quality of players he’s had to work with since coming to Dallas is far BELOW the quality of the Legion Of Boom guys in Seattle. It was ludicrous of fans to expect that transformation of our secondary right away.

    • You’re absolutely right. The Legion of Boom was a complete defense from the front seven to the safety position. Having said that though, we haven’t really seen any progression from the Cowboys secondary when Richard arrived either. That was his main job and what he was brought here to do.

  6. Love the changes. Out with the old and in with the new. Cowboys have been too conservative. Too many short yard passes. And they run zeke into ground with bad play calling. If it didn’t work first and second time why try a third time. Change up plays. I can even figure out what play they will run next and I’m a 72 year old retired female. Lastly they need to get more separation from receivers, further down field. Ok, I got all that out of my system.

    • Betty, there will be a lot of changes with this new coaching staff, but the playcalling could look a lot like it did last year with Kellen Moore sticking around as the OC. Maybe Mike McCarthy’s influence on the offense will change things up though. Who knows? It’s going to be fun seeing how all of this comes together.

      • It will depend on whos playbook he will be operating off of. Last year he was working with Linehan’s playbook basically with his and Garretts modifications. I’d like to see a revamped McCarthy’s playbook along with a playbook of Moore’s of his design.

        • If I’m being completely honest, I don’t really care who’s playbook he’s “operating off of”. It’s still the job of the OC to put his players in the best position to succeed. Having said that though, I think the combination of McCarthy and Kellen Moore will be an improvement. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

          • I think we all are. Biggest area for improvement on the Offense needs to be the slow starts. We need to show much resolve on getting out the gate much faster. Those slow starts really put us in some big holes this year that we just couldn’t overcome. Playing from behind is not a winning strategy at all.

          • The slow starts absolutely killed the Cowboys this past season. This is the team built to run the ball and control the time of possession. That didn’t happen last year, which is why we are looking at a new coaching staff. Hopefully they find some way to get things going earlier under McCarthy.

    • It’s certainly looking like an impressive coaching staff on paper, but expecting them to increase their win total by just 1 is probably lowballing them a little bit. This should still be one of the more talented teams in the league in 2020. But, we all know talent will only get them so far based on the way they performed in 2019. Hopefully the coaching is the difference maker though.

  7. If the new staff can earn the respect of the coaches and vice versa the cowboys will be able to win games that they are supposed to win. Personally I think they’re overrated and need to improve in the secondary and wideout positions. There players also need more conditioning specifically the offensive and defensive lines. They seemed to tire quickly and lack the dexterity needed to be consistent. This is a tall order but nonetheless can be accomplished with the professionals they are assembling.

    • Melvin, I certainly agree with you about needing to upgrade the secondary. And agree with you to a point about their WRs. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are turning into one of the best duos in the league and Randall Cobb had a resurgence in Dallas last year, but beyond that the depth is pretty sparse, especially if Cobb doesn’t return. It’s going to be really interesting to see what and the amount of changes Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff make.

    • Outside of the obvious being the Special Teams, but like Brian, Secondary is a definite area that needs to be addressed. Chido took some giant steps backwards this year. He may have been one the most picked on Starters by opposing QB’s in the league this year. While WR’s could use an upgrade in the depth department (draft is filled with WR talent this year), I’d actually stay on the Defensive side and go with the Linebackers. Smith and LVE struggled heavily at times this year. A ton of bad angles and missed tackles.

  8. He should NOT keep Kris Richard as the DB coach. The defensive backs have regressed under Richard. Their man-to-man technique is extremely poor. The technique taught them is to face the receiver with back to the ball, resulting in easy pitch-and-catch for most teams.

  9. I think one of the main things the Cowboys need to do is work on conditioning. Back in the 60s, Lombardi rode his guys hard during camp and he drove them to peak performance. Today, too many guys take days off, don’t push through fatigue in practice and generally act like prima donas. It is time to get back to the old school ways. If the players don’t like it, get rid of them. I’m not in love with any particular player, so if they need to go, I’m fine with it. Belichek wins with guys that nobody even knows, because he drives them to be the absolute best they can be. That is what we need here. Jimmy Johnson did it and brought us a dynasty. That is the thing people don’t realize. Troy Aikman talks about it all the time.

    • If conditioning was the only problem the Cowboys had that would be great. The problems they’ve had over the past several years run much deeper than that. I get what you’re saying though. At least I think I do. Jason Garrett was more of a “buddy buddy” coach and might’ve been afraid to come down on his players. I don’t think Mike McCarthy is going to have that problem though. He’s a little bit more old-school IMO.

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