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.
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.
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.
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.