It’s been 25 years since the Dallas Cowboys stood on a podium and hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy. During this drought, the organization has had several men from Bill Parcells to the recently departed Jason Garrett try and bring another Super Bowl title to Dallas, unsuccessfully. Last month, the Cowboys took a major step in pushing the franchise in the right direction and getting back to competing for Super Bowls when they hired former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
He has the pedigree you want in the man you entrust your organization to. In his 13 years in Green Bay, he compiled a 125-77-2 record (10-8 in the postseason) with nine playoff appearances, including eight straight from 2009-2016. His crowning achievement, of course, was winning Super Bowl XLV in 2010 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers, ironically in AT&T Stadium, where his new team plays eight times a year.
Every coach needs a strong staff to be successful snd McCarthy has put together a promising one. The first to come on board was Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan. His coaching experience goes back to 1987 and has included stops as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons. Also, he’s shown an ability to develop linebackers, forming future Hall of Famer Patrick Willis and recently Demario Davis into All-Pros during his stints with the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints.
Jim Fassel was brought on as the team’s special teams coordinator. Taking over one of the league’s worst units from 2019, Fassel brings a history of getting football’s third unit to play at a high level. He began his NFL coaching career as an assistant to the Baltimore Ravens special teams (2005-2007). He was also the special team’s coordinator for the Oakland Raiders (2008-2011) and most recently the Los Angeles Rams (2012-2019). During his days with the Rams, Fassel had 15 players named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week under his leadership.
Joe Philbin, who was McCarthy’s offensive coordinator in Green Bay, will perform the role of assistant head coach/offensive line coach. Two other former McCarthy assistants, Scott McCurley and Jeff Blasko have been added to the staff as well. The former will have a role in coaching the linebackers, while the latter will assist the aforementioned Philbin with the offensive line.
Leon Lett, who’s been an assistant defensive line coach for the Cowboys since 2011, will return for his 10th season. He will work alongside new Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula, who spent the previous three years as the defensive line coach for the Washington Redskins, after spending eight years in the same role with the San Francisco 49ers.
Skip Peete, who was the team’s running backs coach from 2007-2012, has been brought back in the same role. He’s worked with former Cowboys running backs Julius Jones, Tashard Choice, Felix Jones, Marian Barber, and DeMarco Murray. Also, long-time assistant George Edwards will be the team’s senior defensive assistant. He’s no stranger to the organization, having served as the linebackers coach from 1998-2001. In the last six years, he’s been the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, who have routinely produced one of the league’s best defenses.
The main thing a coach needs is a strong roster, and the Cowboys have just that. All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott is arguably the best running back in the NFL and he’s coming off of another productive season with 1,357 yards and 12 touchdowns after signing a six-year 90 million dollar extension back in September. Dak Prescott, who’s set to cash in on a lucrative long-term deal with the organization soon, just had a career year with 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns. Amari Cooper, who is expected to be retained as well, just set career high’s in yards (1,189), touchdowns (8), and yards per catch (15.1) while being named to his fourth Pro Bowl in five seasons. Michael Gallup also had a career year as he doubled his production from 2018 with 66 receptions for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns. The offensive line is still one of the league’s best with perennial Pro Bowlers Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick. Also, La’el Collins put his name in the conversation with the best right guard’s in the NFL in 2019.
Defensively, there are pieces to work with as well. DeMarcus Lawrence is still one of the better pass rushers in the NFL even coming off of a disappointing five sack season. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have formed one of if not the best young linebacker duo in football. They have a young stud at the corner in Jourdan Lewis who will see his role increase in 2020 due to the regression of Chidobe Awuzie and the possible departure of Byron Jones. Lastly, Xavier Woods is the top safety on the roster. Even though he’s not Jamal Adams or Earl Thomas, he’s a very solid free safety that has improved every season he’s been in the NFL since 2017.
The Cowboys have a strong coaching staff and a talented roster, which is one of the league’s youngest. When you add in McCarthy’s history of winning as the guiding factor the organization is set up for success for the foreseeable future. If any coach can get the Cowboys back to Super Bowl glory it’s McCarthy and he’s loaded with plenty of groceries to cook with.